Insights in the Lab
Research across the breadth of medical sciences relies on investigating and understanding real processes, from the structure of a folded protein to the functioning of the human brain.
Our laboratories are equipped with cutting-edge facilities to enable our researchers to conduct innovative experiments, gain new insights and test potential therapies. They also help us to accelerate translation of discoveries into clinical practice, for example through analysis of single cells, discovery of potential targets for new drugs, development of therapies, bespoke manufacturing capacity, patient and sample imaging, and testing samples from clinical trials.
Infrastructure for drug discovery is well developed in our Target Discovery Institute and in the Centre for Medicines Discovery. It includes high throughput liquid handling and robotic cell screening, curated compound libraries and tool compounds, protein production facilities, advanced analytical technology, mass spectrometers, NMR, and medicinal chemistry facilities with state-of-the-art chemical synthesis laboratories.
The Micron Bioimaging Facility hosts state-of-the-art optical microscopes for advanced cellular imaging and an interdisciplinary team to design and build advanced imaging systems and the Oxford-Zeiss Centre of Excellence in Biomedical Imaging brings unprecedented access to expertise and development in pioneering microscopy. Other laboratories in biochemistry, pharmacology, pathology, physiology, anatomy and genetics use a wide range of techniques to gain insights into fundamental processes in biomedicine.
Advanced imaging facilities are also essential for clinical research. Highlights include magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and spectroscopy for cardiac and respiratory medicine; new cryo-electron microscopy facilities; and one of the country’s first MR-Linac clinical research facilities in partnership with GenesisCare. State-of-the-art computerised tomography (CT) facilities are intrinsic to our Acute Multidisciplinary Imaging and Interventional Centre, a purpose-designed clinical research centre embedded in an NHS-hospital environment. The Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging aims to bridge the gap between laboratory neuroscience and human health.
Our Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility produces biological Investigational Medicinal Products according to the rigorous ‘Good Manufacturing Practice’ (GMP) standard. This has been exceptionally important in enabling new vaccine trials and pivotal in the development of our ChAdOx-SARS-Cov-2 vaccine. A new GMP manufacturing facility for implantable medical devices opened in 2021 in the Botnar Research Centre and is the only such facility run by a university in the UK.
Our researchers also work closely with national facilities such as Diamond Light Source and the Rosalind Franklin Institute at Harwell, including techniques to uncover the structures of proteins and viruses.