The £8m MRC Regional Phenome Centre (RPC), which opened last year, helps improve the health of patients through novel research and technology.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital

The centre, which works closely with the MRC-NIHR National Phenome Centre in London, enables scientists to better detect the onset of several diseases and to develop more effective treatments, focusing primarily on patients with immune-mediated inflammatory diseases and blood cancers.

Metabolomics forms the core of the MRC RPC, a scientific discipline that can look in detail at the biochemical changes occurring in humans during a disease. The complex interaction of a patient’s genome and their environment can be defined as their phenome. The phenome can be studied by measuring thousands of metabolites simultaneously in blood or urine. By applying these technologies, scientists discover how diseases develop, predict and monitor how patients will respond to drug treatments, and provide insights towards novel therapeutics.

The metabolomics research at Birmingham and the new centre benefit from an existing Technology Alliance Partnership between the University of Birmingham and Thermo Fisher Scientific for advancing life sciences mass spectrometry, and a technology collaboration between the University and Beckman Coulter for advancing automation solutions in the omics sciences. 

The MRC forms a cornerstone of the new Institute for Translational Medicine, which opened in June 2015 and is governed through the Birmingham Health Partners, a strategic alliance between the University of Birmingham, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Find out more about the Institute of Translational Medicine
Explore our outstanding research from the Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research