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HRH The Princess Royal opens new MRC LMS building

HRH The Princess Royal looks into a microscope during the official opening of the new MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences (LMS) in White City Innovation District. Image credit: Paul Clarke Photography.
Her Royal Highness examines fruit flies through a microscope with post doctoral researcher Claudia Lennicke. (Credit: Paul Clarke Photography)

The MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences (LMS) welcomed a visit from Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal last week to mark the official opening of its new state-of-the-art building at Imperial College London’s Hammersmith Campus, located within White City Innovation District.

The new purpose-built home of the MRC LMS is now the base for 400 scientists working across themes spanning genes and the environment and heart and metabolic disease to sex-based differences in disease. The 12,000 metre square facility will provide a collaborative, efficient and effective research environment bringing together almost 40 research groups to advance interdisciplinary, challenge-based research.

Her Royal Highness toured the £120 million MRC LMS building and explored its key biomedical facilities encompassing microscopy, proteomics, imaging and bioinformatics. Highlight tour stops included an innovative ‘fly lab’ where researchers are looking at the factors affecting ageing and metabolism in a model organism (the fruit fly), plus a new cardiac imaging facility that is leveraging a new artificial intelligence tool that can detect signs of ageing in the heart invisible to the human eye. The Royal visit also included a tour of the laboratory of Professor David Rueda, where researchers explained how they are harnessing video game technology to stretch a single strand of DNA – more than 30,000 times smaller than a human hair – to examine the effect of tension and coiling on our genes. This ground-breaking research could provide fresh insights into the impacts of gene editing techniques such as CRISPR.

The MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences is hosted by Imperial College London as its Institute of Clinical Sciences, a Department within the Faculty of Medicine. The MRC LMS is one of only two laboratories in the UK wholly funded by the UKRI Medical Research Council. The new building itself has been funded by the UKRI MRC with significant investment from Imperial College London.

Exterior shot of the new MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences Building in White City Innovation District. Image copyrighted to Imperial College London.
The new MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences Building in White City Innovation District. Image copyright: Imperial College London.


A big window with people walking past.
A view from within the new MRC LMS building (Credit: MRC Laboratory Of Medical Science)

Commenting on the official opening, Professor Wiebke Arlt, Director of the MRC LMS said: “We are delighted to welcome The Princess Royal to MRC LMS. Our new building’s design fosters an environment highly suited to team science that transcends disciplinary boundaries, bringing together clinical and non-clinical scientists in a shared space designed for collaboration, training and mentorship.

“By actively welcoming people from our local community, organising public lectures and participating in community events, the laboratory is also fostering collaboration beyond its walls. We will continue to build bridges between our scientists and the public, enabling a better understanding of complex issues.

“Our researchers also actively visit our local communities and schools to share our research, demonstrating the LMS’ societal impact through education and engagement.”

From its location within White City Innovation District, the new facility benefits from key strategic alliances – including with Hammersmith Hospital and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust – that will speed the translation of scientific discoveries into medical breakthroughs, innovative technologies and economic impact.