The Reporter
Issue 495, 26 January 2004
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Throwing new LIGHT on human proteins

The Leeds Institute of Genetics, Health and Therapeutics (LIGHT) is the only UK academic centre to be included in the Human Proteome Organisation (HUPO), the most important international scientific collaboration since the human genome project.

Where the human genome project mapped genes, HUPO aims to map all the proteins in the human body in relation to disease.

LIGHT director and professor of molecular vascular medicine Peter Grant said: “There’s a recognition within the science community that genes aren’t going to give us all the answers, and understanding proteins will provide the next step forward in combating diseases.”

“Proteins give a broader picture of what’s happening within the human body, showing genetic and environmental factors. For example, smoking won’t alter your genes, but it will alter how some of your proteins are expressed.”

LIGHT will be housed in a new Science Research Investment Fund-backed building, under construction between the Worsley building and the generating station. The £7.8m institute will bring together 100 researchers from medicine and biological sciences, combining basic science and clinical research to ensure a rapid transfer of knowledge from the lab to treatments.

Although the building will not be completed until autumn 2004, HUPO was sufficiently impressed with the research at Leeds to admit the new institute to the organisation. “HUPO membership is very prestigious, but it is also recognition that we’re doing the right thing in Leeds in terms of protein research,” said Professor Grant.

LIGHT will join HUPO’s plasma proteome group, focusing on the expression of proteins within plasma, particularly in relation to conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

Previous Reporter article on SRIF provides further information
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