The core of the Centre at the University of Birmingham is co-located with a dedicated clinical research facility (CRF) linked to our pioneering Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility. The School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences (SSERS) and the Institute for Biomedical Research (IBR) comprise the other main sites of research and training activity at UoB that make up the Centre.
The SSERS building has 2200m2 of laboratory space housing state-of-the-art laboratories for human physiology research including: Endurance and resistance exercise; Calorimetry and metabolic kitchen; Stable isotope Mass Spectrometry, Body composition (DEXA), Cardiovascular and respiratory function, Posture and gait analysis and electrophysiology.
The IBR provides state-of-the-art technologies, such as Next Generation sequencing, MoFlo cell sorting, in vivo imaging and the National NMR Centre through its Technology Hub, which coordinates major technology platforms across the College of Medical & Dental Sciences (MDS).
UoB has also established the Human Biomaterials Resource Centre, a licensed Human Tissue Authority (HTA) biorepository, providing access to an unrivalled human tissue collection, storage and processing resource. Access to healthy older adults is also a significant issue for ageing research. This is overcome at UoB through a large cadre of volunteers, the Birmingham 1000 Elders group.
UoB has extensive infrastructure to enable the full circle of translational research, through development of productive partnerships with key stakeholders (MRC Translational Road Map, Regional Development Agency, OHSCR-GSK Therapeutic Capability Clusters and NIHR).
The millennial Wellcome CRF embedded at UHBFT has recently been expanded to incorporate a cell-based/gene/immunotherapy facility and a satellite at SSES, as well as a unique mobile CRF, the community “Health Research Bus” ensuring representative adult engagement.
Importantly unique research opportunities are provided by the local populations – in Birmingham and Nottingham combined there are 7 million people of diverse socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds, all now accessible through large, well-managed NHS Trusts and our CRF structures.
Additional and complementary facilities for validating exercise interventions in an NHS setting are provided by the Action Heart Activity Centre, which provides a comprehensive service, including exercise and lifestyle counselling for its patients. The centre now receives over 1000 referrals per annum, both patients and healthy individuals, and has developed an experienced multi-disciplinary team of health professionals to carry out its work.
Further support for interventions in a secondary care setting is available through our partnership with the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital. Testing and implementation of interventions in a community setting, including the workplace and care homes, will be achieved through GP referral systems and via our collaboration with BUPA.