The Beacon projects are an exciting, novel and visionary initiative launched by the DTI BioScience Unit in 2002. The six outstanding scientific projects which have been funded are collectively worth £8million and cover a diverse mix of highly innovative areas. All have in common world-class, cutting-edge science combined with real potential to deliver wide-ranging benefits to industry.
Brief summaries of the six projects are provided below. Click on the headers, or the links on the right, to find out more.
Imaging changes in diseases
A practical high-tech project, where physicists have teamed up with medical colleagues and a range of other disciplines, with the aim of delivering a functional imaging technology platform for use across a wide range of biomedical, pharmaceutical and clinical problems, including real-time diagnosis and monitoring of diseases.
Computer models to predict drug action
Biologists, mathematicians, engineers and computer scientists are integrating models at different levels of biological organisation with the long-term objective of building an in silico model of the liver. The work will pave the way for novel approaches to understanding how diseases develop and for finding new drugs.
New rapid approaches to detecting diseases
The four disciplines of physics, chemistry, biotechnology and electronic engineering are working together to develop a platform technology based on the production of DNA devices that respond to electronic and biochemical signals and that can be integrated onto a silicon chip, opening the way for the future development of devices that can detect and prevent disease in vivo.
Computer models to detect toxicity
Expertise in computational & structural bioinformatics and metabolic research, have been brought together in this challenging project to develop a machine learning based computing tool known as ‘Metalog’ to predict toxicity. Its primary application in the pharmaceutical industry for screening of toxic compounds could transform the drug development process.
Biochemistry ‘in silico’
An exciting and novel computer modeling based approach to understanding biochemical networks, the focus of many drug discovery efforts, is being taken by this group of biochemists and computer scientists. Their aim is to develop a user-friendly computing tool for the simulation and analysis of a diverse range of biochemical networks.
Seeing genes in action
This ambitious project aims to develop a high-throughput platform for functional gene analysis using an innovative approach based on live cell imaging. Such an attractive and timely tool for basic and applied biomedical scientists will lead to a faster drug development process.