Medical research bus takes to streets thanks to FirstGroup

Medical research bus takes to streets thanks to FirstGroup

Aberdonians now have no excuse for not knowing about the pioneering research into major diseases that is taking place right on their doorsteps.

Thanks to transport giant FirstGroup Plc, they can now see travelling the city streets a double-decker bus, which highlights just some of the many common diseases and disorders University of Aberdeen scientists are striving to treat and cure.

Bearing the message Today's Research, Tomorrow's Cures, the bus lists a small selection of conditions currently being investigated – such as Alzheimer's, autism, bone disease, osteoporosis, cancer, chronic pain, diabetes, eye disorders, heart disease and multiple sclerosis.

These are just some of the conditions that affect typical families - and that's why a typical North-east family are also emblazoned on the bus.

Jodie Dawson, her two-year-old daughter Kennedy-Jane, and relatives Beryl and Frank Chown - who are all from Aberdeen - were only too happy to be featured on the double-decker which will help raise the profile of ongoing University medical research that aims to benefit people locally and globally.

Jodie said: "We are delighted to support the University of Aberdeen and help raise awareness of the groundbreaking research being carried out here in our city into so many health problems which can potentially affect any of our families."

It is also hoped that greater awareness will encourage more people and organisations to continue supporting medical research at the University of Aberdeen.

Today (Mon, Feb 26) the bus will be officially launched at the University's Institute of Medical Sciences at a special event which will also see around 50 invited guests – including Jodie, her daughter and Mr and Mrs Chown - being offered lab tours as well as short presentations about some of the key medical research studies currently underway.

Moir Lockhead OBE, Chief Executive of FirstGroup, explained why the company decided to donate a bus livery to the University of Aberdeen: "The University of Aberdeen has long been associated with advancements in medical research.  It is important that this pioneering work continues.  I am delighted that FirstGroup can contribute to such a worthwhile cause.  The bus itself is very distinctive and is sure to become one of the most recognised in the city.  I hope it will raise awareness and encourage the public and organisations to consider supporting medical research at the University."

Professor Neva Haites, Head of the University's College of Life Sciences and Medicine, said: "We are absolutely delighted at the generosity of FirstGroup in giving us this bus livery which allows us to tell our community about the first class research being conducted in Aberdeen by leading scientists from all over the world."

Professor Ian Booth, Director of the University's Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS) which houses 350 scientists and support staff from all over the world, said: "The University has a distinguished record in research breakthroughs in medical sciences. For the last five hundred years we have made important advances that have benefited both local and international communities. This tradition is nurtured today through the close partnership between our local community, our healthcare professionals and our research community.

"I experience great pride when I talk with members of the public about the achievements that we have made and the exciting research that we pursue.  Work in Aberdeen has generated new diagnostic methods for assessing disease and is currently seeking to alleviate pain, assess the best treatments to cure diseases such as Alzheimer's, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, eye disease and cancer.. It is the close partnership with our local community that makes the research flourish and we are delighted with the support.  This bus is a very visible sign of our gratitude for the community's continued help in driving research forward.  Today's research, tomorrow's cures can only be achieved with the support of the public."

Professor Phil Hannaford, Director of the University's Institute of Applied Health Sciences which strives to improve health and healthcare, added: "For too long we have been hiding the benefits of the shared Foresterhill campus as a catalyst for world class research in Grampian – perhaps because we've been too busy getting on with the job!

"The joint location of first class clinicians and scientists enables the University and the NHS to work together, to create and use the knowledge needed for improve clinical care. "

·         Around 50 people including local politicians, charity representatives and individuals who have given money to support medical research at the University, will attend today's special event which begins at 10am in the IMS atrium.

·          Once the bus is officially launched, guests will be able to hear short talks from leading cancer and bone researchers. They will also be able to see labs where research is being conducted into fighting auto-immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, kidney disease, psoriasis, asthma, multiple sclerosis and eye inflammation.

·         Guests will then be able to move from the IMS to the adjacent Health Sciences Building which was recently opened by HRH The Duchess of Rothesay. There they will hear about groundbreaking osteoporosis and arthritis research and also gain an insight into award winning research into ageing of the brain – involving clinical trials that Aberdonians have been assisting with for decades.

·         A tour will also be offered of the Lilian Sutton Building where visitors will be able to see the latest state off the art MRI scanner and the John Mallard Scottish PET centre.

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