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20 September 2011

Professor Lord Robert Winston officially opens Bristol’s new Clinical Research and Imaging Centre

Professor Lord Robert Winston officially opened Bristol's new Clinical Research and Imaging Centre (CRIC Bristol) on St Michael's CRIC openingHill yesterday.

Professor Lord Winston met with researchers from University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Bristol to discuss their areas of research before having a tour of the Centre and marking the occasion by unveiling a commemorative plaque.

Professor Lord Winston said: "It is really important to see this collaboration between the NHS and the University.  Clinical research is a vital area of medicine and this new state-of-the-art centre will open up very exciting areas of research.  I am delighted to officially open CRICBristol."

Dr Chiara Bucciarelli-Ducci Co-Director of CRICBristol and consultant cardiologist at the Bristol Heart Institute, said: "It is an honour to have Professor Lord Winston opening our centre. With his knowledge and enthusiasm for science and research he has managed to engage the general public's interest, which is an inspirational example for us."

This £6.6 million state-of-the-art clinical research and imaging centre is a unique collaboration between the University of Bristol and its main NHS partner, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, and will allow people in Bristol and the South West to benefit from the latest, high-quality, cutting-edge research being conducted locally.

The Centre facilities include a 3Tesla MRI scanner, Siemens Magnetom Skyra (funded by the Wolfson Foundation), two-room sleep laboratory and four clinical investigation suites together with high-performance computational facilities, laboratory, meeting rooms and offices.

The MRI scanner can be used in a wide range of biomedical research, for example to monitor blood flow in the brain and identify changes in brain activity in people with mood disorders (anxiety and depression), addiction (alcohol and drugs), stroke and dementia. It will also be used for cardiovascular investigations, notably the use of stem cells in heart repair and new cardiac surgery procedures to monitor blood flow in the heart in children and adults.

The sleep laboratories will house studies into the links between sleep disorders and obesity in children, hypoventilation (the condition associated with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or cot death), and research into sleep in psychiatric disorders and the effects of drugs on brain neurotransmission in adults.

Research will be carried out with healthy volunteers as well as clinical populations and the centre will support local, national and international research.

Current research teams using CRICBristol include studies of neonatal MR imaging, brain injury, functional brain imaging, breast and prostate MRI studies, cardiac imaging, cardiac function and reserve during and after cardiac surgery, sleep disorders in children, adults and clinical populations.