The College of MVLS’s Wellcome Centre for Molecular Parasitology has had a name change to better reflect its current world-changing research expertise.
The newly-named title of Wellcome Centre for Integrative Parasitology (WCIP), part of the Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, was chosen to more broadly encompass the centre’s current research agenda, wide-ranging expertise and aspiring global health programmes.
First established in 1987 as the Wellcome Unit of Molecular Parasitology, the unit was the first UK-based collective funded by Wellcome, building on the long history of parasitology in Glasgow, with some of the most significant discoveries made by scientists trained by, or based at, the University of Glasgow.
The Unit transitioned to a Centre in 1999 and has enjoyed considerable growth and evolution of activities and goals, the success of which has been the result of excellent basic biological research on the (largely protozoan) parasites that cause diseases such as malaria and sleeping sickness in tropical regions.
The Centre now plays a leadership role in driving a Scottish (and wider) agenda in Global Health Research and hopes to expand its current research portfolio alongside new global partnerships and collaborations.
The number of research groups at the Centre has increased from 9 to 15 alongside the development of new programmes; the creation of a national metabolomics facility; enhancement of the Centre’s imaging capabilities; and expansion in drug discovery work.
The Centre is now part of a wider group of 14 Wellcome Centres; and more recent expansion has included public engagement activities, greater interactions in low and middle income (LMIC) regions, and involvement in the Wellcome Liverpool Glasgow Centre for Global Health Research (WLGCGHR).
The Centre’s recent engagement and collaborations in Malawi has been particularly fruitful, with ongoing establishment of a molecular diagnostics facility in partnership with the College of Medicine in Blantyre, with significant funding from the Scottish Government. This facility represents the first step in a partnership programme that seeks to establish the Blantyre-Blantyre (B2B) centre for the study of multimorbidity. B2B will examine the interface between infectious disease and existing (and burgeoning) African non-communicable disease profiting from the Glasgow experience. The aim is to develop a model of investigation and therapy development that will ultimately benefit both African and UK populations.
The name change will coincide with a celebratory symposium at the Glasgow Science Centre on February 26.