Research facilities

Drug Discovery FacilityWe are continuously investing in major developments, expansion and improvements to our clinical research facilities. 

Advanced Therapies Facility

The Advanced Therapies Facility (ATF) at the University of Birmingham is comprised of three synergistic units with the prime objective of facilitating high quality translational research.

The Human Biomaterials Resource Centre is an ethically approved, HTA licensed human sample biorepository offering sample collection, processing, storage and analytical service, located on the ground floor of the ATF building. The Cell Therapy Suite is located on the first floor, and manufactures cell- and tissue-based therapies. The Microbiome Treatment Centre is dedicated to the production of Faecal Microbiota Transplants and is situated in a GMP compliant production laboratory external to the main ATF building. 

Bacterial genome sequencing

MicrobesNG is a novel community resource funded by BBSRC. MicrobesNG provides integration of whole-bacterial genome sequence data, genome scale experimental data, strains and strain information. Strains provided by users will be deposited into a resilient strain repository and made available to the community, associated with their whole-genome information and available metadata. MicrobesNG will provide a rapid whole-genome sequencing service to BBSRC-funded users at cost and will provide user-friendly web interfaces so data can be analyzed quickly.  

The databases include:  

  • STRAINDB  is used to access strains, whole-genome information and metadata 
  • BEYONDWGS  will integrate whole-genome data sets, annotations, discovered variants, and published experimental data 
  • SPECIESBAM  is a regularly updated database of sequence data aligned to species or genus pan-genomes, to permit rapid interrogate of core and pan-genomes for epidemiological and phylogenetic analysis  
  • FASTDEPOSIT  aims to simplify the process of submitting WGS data to public archives. 

Birmingham Clinical Trials Unit (BCTU)

The University of Birmingham Clinical Trials Unit (BCTU) is a leading national clinical trials unit in the College of Medical and Dental Sciences, specialising in the design, conduct and analysis of definitive clinical trials and test evaluation studies. BCTU is a fully registered clinical trials unit in the UK Clinical Research Collaboration.

The Birmingham Drug Discovery Facility

The Birmingham Drug Discovery Facility is the UK’s only academic HTS facility dedicated to antibacterial drug discovery. The University of Birmingham is committed to being at the vanguard of academic-led drug discovery and the search for the next generation of therapies that will benefit humankind. Recently, the University of Birmingham has invested heavily to develop a High-Throughput Screening (HTS) facility, which is located in the School of Biosciences at the Institute of Microbiology and Infection (IMI). The Birmingham Drug Discovery Facility contains a number of cutting-edge technologiesrequired to enable Birmingham scientists to conduct translational science.

We offer access to two fully automated drug discovery platforms. The Biochemical Screening Platform is a fully integrated robotic liquid handling system with the capability and capacity to screen thousands of chemical entities against specific in vitro biochemical assays. This is an extremely flexible system, allowing for bespoke biological assay development.  The Phenotypic screening platform is also a fully integrated robotic system which has the ability to screen a variety of cell type or tissue cultures against a library of chemical entities. This parallel facility allows for the direct tandem studies of compound libraries against cell cultures to detect for resultant chemically induced biological consequences important to the drug discovery process, such as cell viability, changes in cell morphology, cell migration or the sensitive detection of the release or uptake of specific biomarkers.

For any high throughput screening laboratory, the 'jewel in the crown' is manifested by the compounds, or compound libraries, used in screening experiments. The Drug Discovery Facility holds an in house 37,000 lead-like diversity library.

Birmingham Life Sciences Park

Birmingham Life Sciences Park (BLSP), due to open in 2022, will harness world-leading academic and clinical strengths while bringing new commercial power to the region to accelerate life sciences research, taking innovative new healthcare treatments and technologies from early development to real life application. 

Through the Park we will deliver the full circle of translational medicine, from drug development to real world studies, to promote healthy living through maintaining quality of life and developing new treatments for disease. We are already tackling cancer, chronic and rare diseases, dementia, trauma and antibiotic resistance.

COMPARE

The Centre of Membrane Proteins and Receptors (COMPARE) is a unique collaboration between the Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham that formally started in August 2016 with a combined £10m investment over five years.

The Centre brings together world-leading experts across the two institutions in the study of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and tyrosine kinase-linked receptors (TKRs) to develop new approaches to study these important cell surface proteins in health and disease. 

Our cutting-edge development in powerful imaging techniques enables researchers to visualise what happens when a drug binds to a cell surface receptor or protein in real-time and thereby identify new mechanisms of therapeutic intervention.