Human Genetics Unit
Aims of the Unit
The MRC's Human Genetics Unit, formerly The Clinical & Population Cytogenetics Unit, was established in 1967 and is situated at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh. It is one of the largest MRC research establishments (the largest research unit) supporting approximately 220 scientists, support staff, fellows, PhD students, and visiting workers, of whom about 130 are directly funded by the MRC. The Unit is divided into four sections, three scientific and one providing centralised administrative, technical, and computing services.
To undertake basic and strategic research to obtain a molecular and cellular understanding of genetic factors implicated in human disease and normal and abnormal development, thereby gaining important insights into basic biological mechanisms.
The Unit has a strong commitment to providing an environment which will maximise the potential of individuals at all stages of their careers. For example, we have at any one time approximately 25 post-graduate students who are registered for PhD's at Edinburgh University, and approximately 10 scientists from all over the world who hold personal fellowships.
- To pursue the areas of science supported at the quinquennial review and to develop new areas of science which are commensurate with the Unit's remit and scientific/human health needs.
- To promote an interdisciplinary approach to problems and to encourage both national and international collaboration.
- To provide a productive research and training environment which will maximise the potential of individuals at all stages of their training/careers, and consequently contribute towards benefiting the needs of users and beneficiaries (e.g. scientific and clinical research community, providers of health care, the UK's research manpower base).
- To ensure the timely transfer of technology and knowledge.
- To provide advice on work within the Unit's remit, and disseminate this knowledge to the scientific/clinical community and the public as appropriate.
Our scientists have collaborative links both in the locality and world-wide, with universities, research institutes, hospitals and industry. These are too numerous to itemise, but include for example, collaborations with Edinburgh University, including groups within the Molecular Medicine Centre which is adjacent to the Unit.
Postgraduate and Post-doctoral Opportunities
The unit provides a stimulating environment for postgraduate and post-doctoral training, with graduate students and postdoctoral fellows drawn from all over the world.
We have about 30 graduate students at any time. Most are funded by the MRC but some students from overseas are supported by awards from their own country. Towards the end of each year, MRC-funded studentships are advertised, with short-listed candidates being invited to an Open Day early the following year.
We have a mix of MRC-funded and grant-funded postdoctoral scientists, and postdoctoral fellows who have personal fellowships. Enquiries from potential postdoctoral scientists are always welcome, and preliminary visits can be arranged.
Dissemination of Results and Public Awareness
The Unit seeks to increase awareness across the spectrum of expertise, from writing scientific papers and books which target the research and academic community, collaborating with public and private sector, ensuring technology transfer, through to contributing to increasing the scientific awareness of the public. Further information about the Unit's involvement with public awareness can be found at the Public Engagement of Science.