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Research domains

Our research domains create new interdisciplinary research communities with enhanced interaction and collaboration.

They will bring together the critical mass needed from across the University and our partner organisations to take on the most important biological, medical and health problems facing society today.

Research domains will:

  • be the key mechanism to develop and deliver the research strategy in FBMH
  • drive forward a significant upgrade in the quality and ambition of research in FBMH
  • lead major external funding bids, including cross-domain and cross-Faculty initiatives
  • encourage interdisciplinarity in areas that span basic and applied research
  • foster collaboration and research innovation, building effective networks both within and outside the Faculty
  • lead the development of relationships across and outside of the University (eg the other Faculties, MAHSC, AHSN, AHSS, national funding bodies)
  • provide the outward face of our research activities
  • build a vibrant and exciting research culture and supportive environment in which research successes are shared and celebrated
  • encourage and support individual grant and fellowship applications.

Domain affiliation

More than 90% of research active staff have now completed the simple process of affiliating to one or more research domains.

If you have a PURE profile then you can still sign up or indeed amend your existing affiliation status at any time.

About our domains

Cancer

Director: Salvador Moncada

The cancer domain spans all cancer-related activities in the University from the research dedicated to understanding the origins and beginnings of the disease to the provision of all aspects of treatment and care for the patients and the follow up and long term care of those who survive.

We are committed to making a major contribution to the development of new approaches to the understanding of the causes, the biology, the prevention and the early detection and treatment of cancer.

The main objective of the domain is to ensure the most effective interaction between scientists and research groups working on cancer related problems in order to maximise synergisms and achieve high-quality scientific output.

In seamless interaction with the cancer domain of MAHSC we will also facilitate the efficient translation of scientific results into medical practice for the benefit of patients and the population in general.

Cardiovascular, metabolic and nutritional sciences

Director: Bernard Keavney

Cardiovascular disease, stroke, nutritional and metabolic disease will account for the largest proportion of deaths this century, chiefly driven by the explosive worldwide increase in prevalence of obesity and diabetes.

The cardiovascular, metabolic and nutritional sciences domain adopts a multidisciplinary, integrative approach to these problems, grounded in mechanistic cellular and molecular studies of the heart and circulation, the control of energy balance, and the endocrine and metabolic systems.

We conduct experimental medicine studies, clinical trials and implementation science with our NHS partners in the cardiovascular domain of MAHSC, and population-based studies of genetic, environmental, and behavioural determinants of risk.

The domain has an international outlook, collaborating effectively with colleagues in the low and middle income countries suffering the most dramatic increases in disease prevalence. Our work spans the lifecourse, from developmental influences on subsequent health trajectories, to studies of ageing and disease risk.

The common thread running through research in the domain is to deliver novel therapies by improving our mechanistic understanding of health and disease.

Cellular and developmental systems

Director: Chris Thompson

The cellular and developmental systems domain is concerned with the understanding of how basic cell and developmental biology processes such as cell differentiation, cell division and cell movements are achieved, how they are affected by cell-cell signalling and cell matrix interactions (Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix Research), and how they are coordinated in space and time to make and maintain a complex multicellular organism; processes that are fundamental to our understanding of life. Furthermore, in most if not all cases, disease is caused by cellular dysfunction. Consequently our ability to treat disease has, and will continue to be, greatly enhanced by understanding how alterations affect cells, their behaviour and their interactions.

Investigating the fundamental mechanisms underlying normal cell function and development, thus offers a route to understand how their failure can lead to disease and to discover novel therapeutic strategies for regeneration.

Similarly, the study of the cellular basis of human disease can provide fundamental insights into the principles of cellular and developmental systems.

Evolution, systems and genomics

Director: James McInerney

The evolution, systems and genomics domain concerns itself with the understanding of gene and genome function, structure, sequence variation and long-term evolution.

We use highly interdisciplinary experimental, statistical and computational methods.

The domain encompasses the broad scope of genetic diversity from viruses and bacteria, fungi and protozoans, plants and animals, including humans.

Genetic and genomic work includes neonatal testing through the women and children’s domain of MAHSC and working with data from millions of completed genomes.

We use massively parallel computing infrastructures for genome assembly, annotation and analysis, and develop algorithms and computer code for data analytics.

The domain is not only concerned with basic science, but also the practical applications of this understanding as it relates to issues of global importance such as the spread of antibiotic resistance, the impact of human genetic variation and the underlying causes of disease.

Methodological approaches range from studies on the control and functions of individual genes to models of how whole systems operate and evolve.

Infection, immunity, inflammation and repair

Director: Tracey Hussell

This domain spans basic, clinical and translational innovation at the interface of infection, immunity, inflammation and repair.

It focuses on:

  • the molecular mechanisms of immune health and how it is perturbed in disease;
  • the influence of underlying genetics and infectious, non-infectious and auto-reactive stimuli;
  • the consequences of aberrant repair;
  • the interaction of immunity with matrix, metabolites and the nervous system;
  • the development of novel therapeutics and vaccines and state-of-the-art delivery systems to combat global diseases affecting high, middle and low income countries;
  • the use of epidemiological approaches to understand complex disease mechanisms;
  • discoveries in the initiation and treatment of complex wounds.

In collaboration with the inflammation and repair domain of MAHSC we will improve the treatment, management and care of patients with inflammatory disease. Forming close partnerships with the University Hospital of South Manchester, Salford Royal and Manchester Royal Infirmary will ensure collaborative research on well characterised patient cohorts bringing discoveries from the laboratory bench to the bedside, and vice versa.

Allied centres of excellence

Neuroscience and mental health

Director: Stuart Allan

The neuroscience and mental health domain spans the whole breadth of research in the neurosciences, psychology and psychiatry across the University.

From studying brain function at the molecular, cellular and systems level, through to applied clinical research the domain is committed to supporting and developing the very best research to gain a greater understanding of the nervous system in health and disease.

The domain will provide an ambitious environment that maximises opportunities for collaboration between scientists and clinicians, to grow existing areas of strength, and to develop exciting new programmes of research, some of which will cut across domains.

In doing this we aim to address fundamental questions in neuroscience and psychology, and to improve the treatment, management and care of the large number of individuals with neurodevelopmental and neurological disease or mental illness. The latter will be achieved through close partnerships with the mental health domain of MAHSC and other organisations, including Clinical Neurosciences at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust.

Ultimately the overall ambition of the domain is to make Manchester a leading centre of neuroscience and mental health research both nationally and internationally.

Platform sciences and technologies

Director: Mike White

New technologies play a central role in cutting-edge biomedical research. The platform sciences and technologies domain will provide a strategy for integration and development of central technologies that are important for both discovery and clinical sciences.

Activities will involve dissemination and training in novel technologies, as well as building and supporting teams to take on new cross-disciplinary challenges.

The domain will integrate central quantitative theory work covering systems medicine, modelling, inference and informatics. It will also coordinate the development of novel experimental approaches, equipment and facilities for discovery and clinical sciences.

This will provide a route for the development of interdisciplinary quantitative new technologies that can have a major impact at any stage in the process from discovery biology through to clinical translation.

Staff developing new integrated sciences and technologies should join this domain.

It will also provide a forum for wider dissemination and training of other users. It will provide a strategic technology strand running in parallel with our central facilities. This will facilitate coordination of responses to funding body strategic initiatives.

Population health and ecosystems

Director: Iain Buchan

This domain aims to understand how biology, behaviours, policies and environments interact. It will generate new possibilities for citizen-led, clinical and civic interventions in health, wellbeing and ecosystems.

The domain will link with the population health and implementation domain of MAHSC.

It will employ a richness of disciplines and methodologies, embedded in populations, to uncover the useful complexity of interventions and address internationally important problems, especially where evidence is sparse.

The devolution of decision-making powers from central government to Greater Manchester Combined Authority will integrate the domain with a world-leading system of research, implementation and public involvement (Health Innovation Manchester). It will drive the exploration of new frontiers of health and social care, wellbeing and ecosystems in data-responsive societies. This will result in rapid cycles of research and implementation which will build a powerful 'learning system'.

The domain will operate at a pace and scale that is beyond the means of individual groups or disciplines, enabling our staff to access and influence greater resources.