Our submission to Unit of Assessment 3 encompasses research from the Biomedical Sciences and Biomedical Engineering (BSBE) and Pharmacy Research Divisions. We carry out research on the major diseases and conditions affecting people globally and translate our discoveries into therapies and treatments to improve health and wellbeing.
Overall quality profile
We harness our strengths in fundamental and applied science to carry out research ranging from understanding the fundamental basis of disease, to how medicines can be optimally utilised, and how technology can support healthcare.
Our research is focused in the following areas:
- Neurological disorders: key areas of focus include development of cannabis-derived compounds to treat epilepsy, research in Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, motor neurone disease and issues related to child eye focusing problems, through to developing technologies to improve outcomes for patients with neurological disorders.
- Cardiovascular and metabolic disease: we focus on multi-disciplinary approaches to improve understanding of cardiovascular and metabolic disease development, prevention and treatment.
- Molecules and tools for health: our research ranges from fundamental science that underpins our understanding of biological targets, design of translational tools and analytical technology for diagnostics, to drug design, novel delivery systems and treatments.
- Medicine usage and prescribing behaviours: our research responds to plans for tackling the rising cost of medicines, for preventing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and reducing medicines waste.
- Ageing and associated degenerative disease: our collaborative research seeks to further understand the cell-signalling mechanisms governing physiological process of important degenerative pathological conditions (ageing, cancer, infertility, muscular decline).
- Infectious disease and health: we focus on bacterial and viral mediators of disease with the goal of furthering understanding, treatment and control of ill health arising from infectious agents.
A broader interdisciplinary perspective is achieved via our three Interdisciplinary Research Centres:
- Institute for Cardiovascular & Metabolic Research (ICMR): focuses on work to understand the development of cardiovascular diseases, and associated obesity-related metabolic diseases.
- Centre for Integrative Neuroscience (CINN): focuses on the physiological and psychological mechanisms that underpin complex behaviour, targeting typical and atypical development across the life span, including obesity, ageing and cognitive decline.
- Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health (IFNH): brings together the University’s world-leading expertise in agriculture, food, nutrition, health and the environment to understand how improvements in food production, processing and nutrition can help deliver better diets and health.
Staff and doctoral students
We submitted 59 staff (54.92 FTE) to REF2021, including 24 Professors, 34 Associate Professors and Lecturers, 1 Research Fellow, including 6 Early Career Researchers.
Over the assessment period, there were 208 doctoral completions. In 2019/20 doctoral students came from 44 countries including the UK. We benefit from a Reading-led Food BioSystems BBSRC-Doctoral Training Partnership.
Research centres and partnerships
- Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust: our links with BHFT have led us to explore medication usage in dementia and psychosis, winning funding from the Wellcome Trust, Alzheimer’s Society and Janssen Cilag Ltd, and recognition from the College of Mental Health Pharmacy, thus contributing to patient safety.
- Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust: we work closely with the University Department of Cardiology at RBFT on a £1.4m BHF programme grant developing new precision medicine approaches to prevent thrombosis.
- Health Innovation Partnership: we work with the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust to improve patient care and clinical excellence. We do this through teaching and learning provision, collaborative research and its translation into clinical practice, shared facilities and jointly exploiting commercial opportunities.
- Oxford University Hospitals: our Celgene-funded (£580K) study on haemostatic function in multiple myeloma supports work in the Oxford Haemophilia and Thrombosis Centre.
Selected examples of national and international recognition between 2014 and 2020:
- The Physiological Society Bayliss-Starling Prize (Dr Patrick Lewis)
- Sir James Black Award for Contributions to Drug Discovery, British Pharmacological Society (Professor Claire Williams, Professor Gary Stephens)
- Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship (Professor Sakthi Vaiyapuri)
- Academy of Medical Sciences Springboard Award (Dr Alice Pollitt)
- World Technology Network Award (Professor William Harwin, EUR ING Professor R. Simon Sherratt and Professor William Holderbaum as part of the EPSRC Sphere team)
Impact case studies
Examples of the impact our research has had at local, national and global levels.