MRC-ARUK facilities

The Centre for Musculoskeletal Ageing Research has access to outstanding basic and clinical research facilities across both the University of Birmingham and the University of Nottingham, and is firmly embedded in a portfolio of successful collaborative research initiatives following the establishment of the Birmingham-Nottingham concordat in February 2011.

University of Birmingham

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham - The hub of the Centre is housed within new dedicated laboratory space in the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital. 

The Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility (WTCRF) - The Centre at the University of Birmingham is co-located with a dedicated clinical research facility (CRF). View CRF information leaflet.

The Institute for Biomedical Research (IBR) - One of the main sites of research and training activity at the University of Birmingham. 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).

Phenome Centre Birmingham - The £8M Phenome Centre Birmingham is a large metabolic phenotyping facility led by internationally-recognised metabolomics and clinical experts at the University of Birmingham, in collaboration with Birmingham Health Partners. The centre has been established as part of a UK Stratified Medicine initiative led by the Medical Research Council (MRC) to develop capacity and capability to perform large-scale metabolic phenotyping of the human population for stratified medicine. The centre will work towards improving healthy ageing and disease diagnosis and treatment to enhance patient outcome.

School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences (SportExR)  - SportExR 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.

Human Biomaterials Resource Centre - This is a licensed Human Tissue Authority (HTA) biorepository, providing access to an unrivalled human tissue collection, storage and processing resource. 

Institute of Translational Medicine (ITM) - Birmingham Health Partners led the development of a new Institute of Translational Medicine (ITM). This is a new world class clinical research facility iwhich opened in 2015. This addition means the University of Birmingham has extensive infrastructure to enable the full circle of translational research, through development of productive partnerships with key stakeholders.

The Inflammation Research Facility - The Inflammation Research Facility (IRF) is a satellite unit located in the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital and is based within the Centre for Translational Inflammation Research. This collaboration ensures access to a research facility dedicated to the study of the inflammatory process and related diseases. Specialties currently using the space include rheumatology, respiratory and neurology. The CRF nursing and support staff work closely with clinicians and scientists to deliver internationally competitive research and high quality care to research participants.

The Health Research Bus - The Health Research Bus (HRB) is a mobile clinical research facility comprising a bespoke, high specification, medical trailer unit containing state-of-the-art clinical research equipment, fully equipped for studies in both adults and children.

Action Heart Activity Centre - 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.

The Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM) - The RCDM is based at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, with defence personnel fully integrated with NHS staff to treat both military and civilian patients.

The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital - Further support for interventions in a secondary care setting is available through our partnership with the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital

University of Nottingham

Division of Rehabilitation and Ageing - Metabolic physiology and clinical academic units experienced in ageing and rehabilitation research collaborate, and include the University of Nottingham Rehabilitation and Ageing Group that has an excellent record of translating potential interventions from the laboratory to real life.

The University of Nottingham also has a substantial infrastructure to support clinical translational research, a priority of a multidisciplinary Priority Group led by the Dean of Medicine.

The University of Nottingham has world leading facilities for invasive human physiology based investigations located in state-of-the-art human physiology laboratories within the Medical School on the Queen’s Medical Centre campus and satellite School of Graduate Entry Medicine & Health on the Derby campus. These sites include a clinical trials ward, exercise and resting metabolism laboratories, gymnasium for resistance training and volunteer screening rooms. Dedicated facilities exist for body composition (DEXA), muscle function, exercise intolerance and cardio-respiratory capacity. World-leading whole-body MRI facilities or human imaging and spectroscopy are available in the Sir Peter Mansfield Magnetic Resonance Centre.

From an analytical perspective, mass spectrometers, amino acid and clinical analysers are maintained, with in-house expertise, to measure human muscle, tendon and bone turnover using stable isotope tracer approaches, which is dovetailed with comprehensive expertise and facilities for cellular and molecular biology focussed on the musculoskeletal system.

The spectrometry facility will be updated and expanded using MRC-ARUK Centre funds. Together with the Mass Spectrometers located in SportExR at the University of Birmingham the Centre will provide a national technology platform for this methodology and this is predicted to be available to UK researchers from January 2013. This is vitally important given, for example, reports of a dissociation between muscle protein turnover and the molecular signalling events regulating muscle mass in humans, i.e. measuring molecular events alone is inadequate.

The Schools of Biosciences and Veterinary Medicine and Science at the University of Nottingham add large animal facilities and most notably models of musculoskeletal development and decline in animals with similar joint anatomy and physiology to those of humans. Longitudinal studies of musculoskeletal ageing are facilitated via a collaboration with the group of Prof Gustaffson at the Karolinksa Institute which has a 20 year study of human ageing