The GW4 Alliance will open a £2.3 million shared facility for cryo-microscopy on 1 September 2017 at the University of Bristol.

The facility will provide researchers across the Great West region with a suite of state-of-the-art microscopy and analysis tools, enabling them to better understand the molecular processes responsible for cell function or malfunction.

It is hoped that the shared GW4 facility will accelerate new insights into human health and disease, and will attract the world’s most talented scientists to collaborate with the leading universities in the region.

The facility has been established following awards from Wellcome and co-investment from the universities of the GW4 Alliance, and will be housed in the Life Sciences Building at the University of Bristol, as part of the Wolfson Bioimaging Facility.

At the forefront of biomedical research

Professor Christiane Berger-Schaffitzel from the University of Bristol said: “We are absolutely thrilled that this joint effort by Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter came to fruition. Electron cryo-microscopy is a game-changer for molecular biology today, and our new facility will be instrumental for accelerating cutting-edge research projects of many scientists in the South West and Wales."

Professor Philip Ingham FRS FMedSci HonFRCP, Director of University of Exeter’s Living Systems Institute said: “The establishment of this state-of-the-art facility will be crucial in maintaining the position of GW4 institutions at the forefront of biomedical research.  Electron cryo-microscopy is revolutionising the field, transforming the way we analyse the molecular components of living systems. We are very grateful to Wellcome for their support, without which this initiative would not have been possible.”

A catalyst for pioneering collaborative research

Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bath and Chair of the GW4 Council said: “This is an exciting moment for the GW4 Alliance as the shared facility will open up world-class technology and analysis tools to researchers across our four universities and beyond. We are delighted to support this facility and hope that it catalyses further pioneering, collaborative research.”

The facility will be unveiled at an opening ceremony on 1 September 2017 by GW4 Chair of Board, Professor Nick Talbot (Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Impact, University of Exeter), and Director of Science at Wellcome, Dr Jim Smith.

The event will showcase the state-of-the-art capabilities of the GW4 Facility for High-Resolution Electron Cryo-Microscopy and will bring together leading experts in life sciences from across the GW4 Alliance to discuss research ideas and collaboration.

Established in 2013, the GW4 Alliance brings together four leading research-intensive universities: Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter, to deliver globally competitive research and build a highly skilled workforce.