UoA 5 staff perform fundamental multi-disciplinary research on the molecules and processes that govern cellular homeostasis and pathogenesis. We are also driven by the challenge of ensuring that our research has impact on non-academic beneficiaries.
Members of our UoA 5 return form a major component of the:
There are three research groupings within UoA 5:
- Bacterial cell biology
- Proteins: structure, function and evolution
- Sensing, signalling and expression
Find out about Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences staff.
Our research in this area is making a positive impact on a global scale:
- Diagnosing prostate cancer
Our four case studies demonstrate the impact of our research and highlight how we nurture and maintain long-term development:
Increasing the yield of important enzymes for industryIncreasing the yield of important enzymes for industry
Bacillus species constitute an industrially-important group of bacteria that are used worldwide to produce carbohydrate and protein-digesting enzymes on a large scale. While the bacteria secrete native enzymes at an economically viable rate, generating strains of bacteria that could do the same for non-native enzymes has been an industry challenge.
Researchers at Newcastle University have collaborated with industry since the early 1990s to study the mechanism of protein secretion in Bacillus. They discovered bottlenecks in the protein secretion pathway and used that knowledge to engineer more productive strains of bacteria. Since 2008, companies, including Novozymes (the world’s largest manufacturer of industrial enzymes), have developed strains of bacteria, based on the Newcastle findings, for use in their manufacturing processes improving yields by more than four orders of magnitude in some cases.
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The Prostate Core Mitomic Test: improving the efficiency of prostate cancer diagnosis.The Prostate Core Mitomic Test: improving the efficiency of prostate cancer diagnosis.
A novel test for prostate cancer was developed from research in mitochondrial genetics conducted at Newcastle University.
The Prostate Core Mitomic Test was the first of its kind and is now commercially available in North America. It provides molecular evidence to confirm conventional pathology results showing that men identified as being at risk of prostate cancer are, at the time of examination, free of disease.
This is an important patient benefit, as conventional pathology has a 30% chance of missing prostate cancer. The Mitomic test obviates the short-term need for a follow-up biopsy, which is an invasive and very uncomfortable procedure. It is also capable of identifying some men at high risk of having prostate cancer that conventional pathology would miss.
The test was introduced to the American market in June 2011 and has generated a multi-million dollar investment and turnover.
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Discovery of a major drug-drug interaction that led to important changes in the regulation of drug development by the pharmaceutical industryDiscovery of a major drug-drug interaction that led to important changes in the regulation of drug development by the pharmaceutical industry
Researchers at Newcastle University discovered interactions in vitro between the widely prescribed cholesterol-lowering drug Rosuvastatin and Cyclosporine, and between Rosuvastatin and Gemfibrozil, at the liver transporter protein OATP1B1.
Subsequent clinical trials showed that the interactions occurred in patients and slowed clearance of Rosuvastatin from the body. The research findings not only had direct implications for the safe prescribing of rosuvastatin when it came to be marketed but also more far-reaching impact.
US Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency guidelines published in 2012 stipulate that pharmaceutical companies must investigate potential drug-drug interactions in the pre-clinical development phase of all candidates that bind that transporter.
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Commercialisation of a unique widely-applicable high-fidelity DNA polymerase engineered in NewcastleCommercialisation of a unique widely-applicable high-fidelity DNA polymerase engineered in Newcastle
Through their study of DNA polymerases from organisms of the domain archaea, researchers at Newcastle University and University College London identified the mechanism by which these organisms avoid potentially damaging mutations in their DNA.
As a consequence of this work they invented a novel genetically-engineered DNA polymerase. This enzyme has been patented and is the world's only high-fidelity, proofreading DNA polymerase that efficiently reads through uracil in the polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
PCR is a very widely used technique in biomedical research. An international bioscience company signed a licensing agreement with Newcastle University in 2008 to market the enzyme, and further commercial exploitation has begun through licensing agreements with other major companies.
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Find out about all our REF 2014 results.