Renewal of Core Support for the WCMR

The Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research (WCMR) at Newcastle University is delighted to announce it has secured further funding from Wellcome to support its vision until 2024.

The Centre, established in 2012, has made excellent progress towards achieving its key aims over the last 9 years and has successfully combined basic, translational, and clinical research with a high-quality public and patient engagement strategy to transform the lives of people affected by mitochondrial disease.

The Centre’s commitment to actively promote team science and create a positive research culture was fundamental to the successful renewal. This highlights the importance placed on supporting the multidisciplinary team and developing the next generation of researchers to ultimately find curative therapies.

WCMR Centre Director, Professor Gràinne Gorman, said, “This is fantastic news, and we are thrilled that we can continue to build on our reputation as an international centre of excellence in mitochondrial research. The funding will allow us to extend our vision beyond primary mitochondrial disease and looking to the future, we plan to harness our expertise to improve the lives of those affected by mitochondrial dysfunction. It is our hope that this fully inclusive approach will lead to scientific advances into new treatments that restore mitochondrial health for the benefit of all.”

To achieve this new vision, the WCMR team plan to develop three core pillars of research that include clinical research, precision medicine and discovery therapeutics.  This approach will enable the delivery of novel, life-changing, precision therapies that have been developed though a pipeline of innovative laboratory research.

Fundamental to this vision continues to be the highly successful engagement strategy developed by WCMR Engagement Lead Dr Julie Murphy, which constituted a major part of the renewal application. This significant contribution was crucial for the award and reflects the incredible value placed on involving the public and patients in the research being performed within the Centre, a view that is shared and actively promoted by Wellcome.

Dr Julie Murphy, said “As a team who have recognised the importance of engaging patients and the public in our research for many years, I am delighted that the successful renewal will allow us to strengthen our engagement strategy to transform the lives of those living with mitochondrial dysfunction. Our mission is to engage patients across the entirety of the mitochondrial research that we conduct at the Centre, whilst also enhancing our capacity to enable a culture of effective, focussed and impactful engagement amongst our researchers, patients and the public. We also plan to enrich diversity and inclusion within our engagement activities and empower ourselves and key stakeholders to work smarter by extending and strengthening key partnerships and collaborations to achieve shared strategic aims.”

Professor Gorman is keen to acknowledge and thank the entire WCMR team who were all instrumental in helping secure the additional funding. This includes the recently appointed Centre Manager, Amanda Temby, who joined the team in September 2020. Having worked as a manager at Newcastle University over several years, Amanda brings a wealth of experience and connections to support the team and will play a pivotal role in ensuring the success of the WCMR over the coming years.

Furthermore, the additional funding will allow the WCMR to renew its partnership with Wellcome and Newcastle University, and continue attracting, developing and retaining a diverse and inclusive team of outstanding scientists. This provides an enduring capability to promote creativity, encourage resilience and equip the next generation of academics to become global leaders at the forefront of mitochondrial research.