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University of Gloucestershire makes major investment in new bioscience facilities

A new £1.3 million Biosciences facility that will enable vital research into human diseases and illnesses, as well as addressing the shortage in biomedical scientists, has been officially opened at the University of Gloucestershire.

The cutting-edge laboratory, based at the School of Natural and Social Sciences at the University’s Francis Close Hall campus in Cheltenham, will provide researchers and students with access to the latest technologies in biomedical science supporting the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

The facility was officially opened at a ribbon-cutting ceremony carried out by the University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Jackie Labbe and Andrew Usher (Lead Biomedical Scientist, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust).

The University’s Bioscience courses have been ranked 1st nationally for student experience by the Guardian and The Times University League Tables 2022.

This new facility will be central to maintaining that experience, ensuring students enrolled on the University’s BSc Biomedical Science and BSc Biology degrees have the knowledge and experience they need to begin a career in the industry when they graduate.

Project Lead, Professor Phil Toms, said: “This new facility represents a major investment by the University in support of local, regional and national priorities, contributing to the graduate workforce in the NHS and industry that are so central to the nation’s wellbeing and success as a world leader in Bioscience.

“The facility will fundamentally and substantially enhance our research in Life Sciences and Allied Health, from investigating tumour-immune system interactions, to assessing the use of glycosaminoglycans in the treatment of Alzheimer’s, to uncovering the mechanisms that protect DNA in response to drugs.

“The facility includes the latest technologies in flow cytometry, microplate analysis, PCR tests, cold storage, incubation, microscopy and imaging. It incorporates a range of features to comply with Category 2 lab work, enabling work across a range of pathogens associated with human diseases.

“Our investment in space, equipment and visualisation technologies represent a step-change in learning for our Bioscience students, focusing less on theory through lectures and more on learner development through practice.

“In partnership with the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the facility will help to address the national and regional shortage in Registered Biomedical Scientists who perform such a vital function across the health sector.”

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive Deborah Lee said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the University of Gloucestershire to develop the next generation of scientists who are pivotal to our ability to support the early adoption of new technologies and techniques that will help the NHS meet the challenges of the future.

“Biomedical Scientists are involved in 80% of the diagnostic tests performed at our Trust and as such are a vital part of our hospital workforce.”

Benefits of the new facility also include a bursary to support those on placement in NHS training laboratories and personal and unlimited electronic access to the Fundamentals of Biomedical Science book series.