Medical Research Scotland is one of the largest and most comprehensive independent research charities in Scotland. Unlike most medical research charities, our funding isn't restricted to any one disease or condition, we support high-quality research that aims to improve the understanding, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of all diseases and disease mechanisms.
Awards in the past 20 years
The following are some of the awards we made for research into respiratory disease.
£149,790 over three years to Dr Leanne McKay (Institute of Neuroscience & Psychology, Glasgow University), to study the development and maturation of the neural control of breathing.
Respiratory control disorders like sleep apnoea and sudden infant death syndrome are very common, but their origins are not well understood. A better understanding of how the brain generates the nerve signals that produce respiratory rhythm is crucial if ways are to be found to treat or prevent these disorders. This project aims to provide valuable new information about the mechanisms underlying development and maturation of the respiratory system.
£120,229 over 24 months to Dr Paul Hoskisson (Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences, Strathclyde University), for a study of non-toxigenic Corynebacterium diphtheriae - a pathogen of emerging importance in Scotland.
Diphtheria is a debilitating disease of the throat and pharynx caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae. Although relatively rare in the UK thanks to an effective vaccine, it remains a common childhood illness in the developing world. TRecent increases in cases where there is serious, persistent infections of the throat, bones and heart have, however, highlighted a lack of understanding of the detailed disease mechanisms. This research aims to rectify this deficit and point the way to developing new treatments or improved vaccines.
£142,239 over 24 months to Dr John A. Marwick (formerly of the National Heart & Lung Institute, London, now at the MRC Centre for Inflammation Research, University of Edinburgh) & Professor Adriano G. Rossi (MRC Centre for Inflammation Research, University of Edinburgh) to study the impact of oxidative stress and glucocorticoids on neutrophil function and macrophage clearance.
Inflammation is normally a beneficial process, involving white blood cells which kill invading organisms, remove damaged tissue and start to repair affected tissues. An acute, strong episode of inflammation can,however, damage the body's organs, especially if they are already inflamed. People with severe asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have chronically-inflamed lungs and, if they get an infection, they often also get acute episodes of inflammation (called exacerbations). These cause an excess of white blood cells (neutrophils) and can result in hospitalisation and death. Anti-inflammatory drugs like steroids are good at controlling inflammation, but they do not work well on neutrophils and are ineffective during exacerbations. This research aims to find out why this is the case, so that new drugs might be developed which could reduce inflammation during exacerbations, thereby preventing hospitalisation and possible death.
The Cruden & the Mrs Robina Menzies Smith Medical Research Scholarships 2005-06 were awarded together to Dr Kevin Dhaliwal (Centre for Inflammation Research, Edinburgh University) for his project entitled "Macrophage-based gene therapy for neutrophil-mediated lung injury".
£42,965 over one year to Drs Trevor R. Walker & Ian Dransfield and Professor Christopher Haslett (Centre for Inflammation Research, Edinburgh University) to study inflammatory cells and lung injury, using imagine activation of neutrophil function by integrin-mediated adhesion.
Leukocytes (white blood cells) are part of the body's natural cellular defence mechanisms. However, sometimes they can over-react causing cell damage, particularly if they are in prolonged contact with blood vessel walls. By studying the cellular effects which result when this prolongation occurs, this research seeks to establish the trigger from defence to damage.
The Cruden Medical Research Scholarship 2001-02 was awarded to Dr Gregor M. Walker (Neuroscience & Biomedical Systems, Glasgow University) for the determination of the role of superoxide dismutase in persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn.
£99,826 over three years to Drs Morgan G. Blaylock & Garry M. Walsh (Medicine & Therapeutics, Aberdeen University) and Dr J. Graham Douglas (Respiratory Medicine, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary) to investigate the role of glucocorticoid receptors and caspase activation in the induction of eosinophil apoptosis in glucocorticoid-sensitive and glucocorticoid-resistant asthma.
A key process in asthma is inflammation caused by eosinophils, a type of white blood cell not found in healthy lungs. The researchers will investigate how steroid treatments cause the death of such cells, in order to develop further treatments for patients who are steroid-resistant.
£68,382 over two years to Dr Mary McElroy & Professor Christopher Haslett (Rayne Laboratories, Edinburgh Unviersity) to study the mechanism of Staphyloccocus aureus injury to the alveolar-capillary barrier in bacterial infection of the lung.
£69,990 over two years to Dr Andrew M. Wilson & Professor Brian J. Lipworth (Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, Dundee University) to study the clinical and histological outcomes in allergic airways disease and the efficacy of combined mediator antagonism or topical corticosteroid treatment.
£69,225 over two years to Drs Simon Brown (Centre for Inflammation Research) & Seamus Donnelly (Respiratory Medicine, Edinburgh Royal Infirmary) to study a new mechanism promoting resolution of lung inflammation: macrophage-directed deletion of neutrophils.
£39,824 to Dr Seamas Donnelly (Rayne Laboratory, Edinburgh University) & Professor Christopher Haslett (Respiratory Medicine, Edinburgh Royal Infirmary) for a one-year study of macrophage migration inhibotory factor (MIF) and inflammatory lung disease.
£49,474 to Dr Peter T. Reid, Professor Christopher Haslett & Dr Jean-Michel Sallenave (Respiratory Medicine Unit, Rayne Laboratories, Edinburgh University) for a one-year study of inflammatory lung disease and the regulation of secretion of the low molecular weight antiproteinase elafin.
£69,369 over two years to Dr Ian Dransfield (Rayne Laboratories, Edinburgh University) and Professor Christopher Haslett (Respiratory Medicine Unit, Edinburgh Royal Infirmary) to investigate the regulation of neutrophil function by soluble E selectin in inflammatory cells and lung injury.
A Medical Research Scholarship 1999-2000 was awarded toDr Scott M. Nelson (Queen Mother's Hospital, Glasgow) to identify prognostic indicators of pulmonary hypoplasia in fetal congenital diaphragmatic hernia and obstructive uropathy.
£40,881 over one year to Drs Jim McWhir (Roslin Institute, Edinburgh) and Peter Gilmour (Applied Chemical & Physical Science, Napier University) to investigate inactivation of the ovine cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator.
£68,806 to Professor Alison M. Gurney (Physiology & Pharmacology, Strathclyde University) for a two-year study aimed at developing a fluorescent assay for drugs that modulate pulmonary artery potassium channels.
£81,239 to Professor Anne Ferguson (Medicine) & Dr David J. Porteous (MRC Human Genetics Unit, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh) for a three-year project involving the molecular and histopathological analysis of a mouse model of cystic fibrosis.