Major boost for medical research thanks to Saving Sight in Grampian

Major boost for medical research thanks to Saving Sight in Grampian

Groundbreaking University of Aberdeen research into eye disease, cancer, arthritis, inflammation and many other medical conditions has had a major boost thanks to a major donation from Saving Sight in Grampian.

The charity - which has raised more than £3 million for world-leading eye disease research at the University - is helping fund state-of-the-art equipment which will keep the University at the forefront of biomedical research in Scotland.

Saving Sight in Grampian has provided more than a third of the funds for a new £337,000 flow cytometry cell sorting instrument at the University’s Institute of Medical Sciences.

Flow cytometry is a technology which combines physics, chemistry, engineering, information science and cell biology technologies and has revolutionised scientists’ understanding of cells.    

The cell sorter - which uses flow cytometry technology – can detect over 15 different molecules on every cell analysed and can be used to separate out different cell populations from blood or diseased tissue for further study. The cytometer will therefore provide a vast array of invaluable information about the body’s cells enabling researchers to understand more about all sorts of diseases and how these affect patients.

Researchers at the University of Aberdeen were the first in Scotland to have a flow cytometry cell sorting machine for eye research- a crucial tool for biomedical research - when Saving Sight in Grampian helped purchase it eleven years ago.

This new machine will allow medical researchers to do so much more in their efforts to better understand and help treat a wide range of diseases such as the causes of blindness as well as cancer, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

Dr Iain Fraser, Chairman of Saving Sight in Grampian, said of his charity’s latest support to the University: “We are delighted to support the ophthalmology research at University of Aberdeen which is world-leading and has been led by the renowned Professor John Forrester.

“All the research conducted by the various departments at the University’s Institute of Medical Sciences is absolutely fantastic and researchers working on all sorts of diseases will be able to make use of the new cell sorter machine.”

Professor Forrester, Emeritus Professor at the University, said: “This is a wonderful development in the long running support by Saving Sight in Grampian for research at the University’s Institute of Medical Sciences, particularly with regard to eye disease.

“This new piece of equipment will significantly advance the specificity and sensitivity of our diagnostic techniques for a number of diseases, including eye disease.”

Professor Janet Liversidge, Chair in Immunology at the University, added: “We are extremely grateful to the donors to Saving Sight in Grampian. The purchase of this ‘state of the art ‘ cytometer  would not have been possible without their generosity. It is the first cell sorting cytometer of its kind in Scotland, and it will help maintain the position of Aberdeen University at the forefront of medical research in Scotland,.