Leeds £1.5 million Investigator Award for hepatitis C virus research

Health news

Professor Mark Harris, from the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology, has been appointed as a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator, with £1.5 million funding to pursue his research goals.

Investigator Awards build on the Trust's strategic goal of "supporting the brightest researchers with the best ideas" recognise outstanding scientists with an excellent track record in addressing the most challenging research questions in biomedicine.  The Awards offer generous and long-term support for researchers to flexibility to direct their research in the way they wish over the award period.

Professor Harris' is the first researcher at the University to receive such an award from the Trust's Award programme. His £1.5 million funding is spread over 5 years and recognises his achievements to date in understanding key events in the lifecycle of the hepatitis C virus. Areas that Prof Harris expects to focus on include defining in molecular detail the processes by which the virus genome is replicated and packaged into virus particles, and determining how these events are co-ordinated, with a view to developing new antivirals. Of his award, Prof Harris said: "I'm very proud to be a recipient of one of these awards.

It will provide stability and security for my research group over the next 5 years, and it will allow us to  tackle the important 'bigger picture' research questions relating to hepatitis C virus." The Trust has appointed 15 Investigators (4 New Investigators and 11 Senior Investigators) in this, the second round of awards. The Investigators are based at institutions across the UK and the awards range from around £500,000 over three years to over £3 million for seven years.

Investigators will help the Trust tackle its five major challenges, as set out in its Strategic Plan: maximising the health benefits of genetics and genomics; understanding the brain; combating infectious disease; investigating development, ageing and chronic disease; and connecting environment, nutrition and health.

Image credit: Maria Teresa Catanese, Martina Kopp, Kunihiro Uryu , and Charles Rice (Creative Commons)

For further information:

Please contact the University of Leeds Press Office on +44 (0)113 343 4031 or email pressoffice@leeds.ac.uk

Notes to editors:

The Faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Leeds is one of the largest in the UK, with over 150 academic staff and over 400 postdoctoral fellows and postgraduate students. The Faculty is ranked 4th in the UK (Nature Journal, 457 (2009) doi :10.1038/457013a) based on results of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). The RAE feedback noted that "virtually all outputs were assessed as being recognized internationally, with many (60%) being internationally excellent or world-leading" in quality. The Faculty's research grant portfolio totals some £60M and funders include charities, research councils, the European Union and industry. http://www.fbs.leeds.ac.uk/

About the Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. The Trust's breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. It is independent of both political and commercial interests. http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/