MRC/University of Edinburgh Centre for Inflammation Research

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: MRC Centre for Inflammation Research


Inflammation was first recognised and described in Roman times as redness, heat, swelling, and pain which together give rise to limited function of the affected part. A scalded thumb is a familiar example and emphasises that inflammation is a response to damaging influences. Indeed, in the 18th and 19th centuries it became clear that the cellular events of the inflammatory response were critical for protection against infection, white blood cells leaving the blood stream to reach damaged tissues in order to kill and remove invading micro-organisms. Unfortunately, inappropriately triggered or inadequately controlled inflammatory responses are now recognised as a major causative factor in disease such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, kidney failure and arthritis. Effective and specific treatments for these conditions have been difficult to find and there is also a need to improve prevention, diagnosis and monitoring of inflammatory diseases. Recent advances in understanding the molecular basis of abnormal cell function within inflammed tissues, many made by Edinburgh doctors and scientists, promise a steady improvement in the clinical management of inflammatory diseases. This application seeks funds to continue to underpin a unique interactive grouping of leading researchers in the field of inflammation that has been assembled in Edinburgh for 5 years, strengthen the infrastructure needed to make the scientific discoveries that will feed through into the clinic and promote the training of young scientists and doctors in research into inflammation.

Technical Summary

The MRC/University of Edinburgh Centre for Inflammation Research (MRC-CIR) was established in 1999 to promote the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of inflammatory diseases through interdisciplinary study of the initiation, regulation and resolution of inflammatory responses and provision of an outstanding environment for research training in the field . The major achievements during the first quinqennium have been:
(i) The nurturing of young principal investigators;
(ii) Stimulating research in priority clinical disciplines through training;
(iii) Delivering new interface science from a strong base; and
(iv) Establishing a base for clinical translational research and experimental medicine.

During the next quinquennium, the MRC-CIR aims to develop:
(i) New cross-group programmes, in particular, bringing a new focus on repair to work on regulation of inflammation;
(ii) New cross-Centre programmes (in collaboration with the Centres for Reproductive Biology and Cardiovascular Sciences);
(iii) New clinical translational/experimental medicine programmes;
(iv) New interdisciplinary approaches towards imaging inflammation;
(v) New commitment to training young biomedical scientists for the basic/clinical interface; and
(vi) New added value from senior recruitments


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Chapman KE (2013) Changing glucocorticoid action: 11ß-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 in acute and chronic inflammation. in The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology

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Kipari T (2013) 11ß-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 deficiency in bone marrow-derived cells reduces atherosclerosis. in FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology