We work to integrate aetiological epidemiology deeply with clinical and life sciences. The rationale is to accelerate the translation of findings about disease risk factors into new methods of treatment and prevention.
Recent initiatives at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus have catalysed such integration. In 2009, Cambridge University Health Partners was designated an Academic Health Science Centre by the Department of Health, facilitating establishment of the Cambridge Clinical Trials Unit which supports trials led by scientists.
In 2012, the NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre, a partnership between the University and Cambridge University Hospitals, received an uplifted award of £110 million, partly to create themes that integrate population science with experimental medicine. For example, it is enabling us to embed mechanistic studies into the nationwide 50,000-person INTERVAL study, a major component of the NIHR Bioresource that will help identify new disease mechanisms .
Disease specific projects
The greater integration of epidemiology with clinical science is also proceeding along disease specific lines.
The NIHR Cambridge Dementia Biomedical Research Unit was established in 2012 with a £5 million award, including a component to create a registry of dementia patients.
The Institute of Metabolic Science set up the Cambridge Metabolism Initiative in 2013, with £24 million from the MRC and Wellcome Trust, including a component to deepen links between population and basic research.
In 2013, the British Heart Foundation made a £3 million award to establish a Cardiovascular Research Centre of Excellence that will focus on the integration of population, clinical and biological approaches.
Interdisciplinary PhD programmes
To accelerate and deepen the integration of the clinical and life sciences, we help lead interdisciplinary 4-year PhD programmes that involve co-supervision by population scientists and clinical scientists, such as the British Heart Foundation Interdisciplinary PhD programme, renewed in 2013, and the Wellcome Trust PhD Programme in Metabolic and Cardiovascular Disease.