In line with the mission of MRC and the principles by which the Unit was created, the current research activities are focused on the understanding of the mechanisms responsible for cell dysfunction and death, which are common to disease and toxic states.
The MRC Toxicology Unit studies how cells, tissues and simple organisms react to different types of injury, triggered by environmental agents as well as by endogenous molecules. This integrated approach complements the scope of classical research in toxicology and it is likely to produce fundamental advances in biomedical science. Thus, the Unit’s research does not address the mechanism of action of selected groups of chemicals, but generates fundamental knowledge on the pattern responses to injury within individual cells and organs. Such knowledge is essential to address emerging public health problems that may arise from exposure to toxic substances.
The Science Facilities support and interact with the research programs to provide cutting-edge technology in Proteomics, Electron Microscopy, Advanced Imaging, Histopathology and Bioinformatics. Support is not just a question of technology but also involves experienced research scientists providing advice on the design of experiments, with subsequent analysis and training of research staff in FACS analysis and Confocal microscopy.
The detailed sections give an overview of the facilities’ work and the staff members who specialise in those areas. The Science Facilities are now introducing a new technology, namely a Cryo-EM microscope, which will be used to provide structural information on large protein complexes involved in Toxicology. This is an extremely important development and will enable researchers to understand how these molecular complexes are involved in biological processes.