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Duke of Kent visits Oxford laboratories
07 Apr 09
HRH The Duke of Kent KG was shown some of the latest research on the impact of new technologies and drugs on the brain during a visit to Oxford University’s Department of Pharmacology and Lincoln College, Oxford, on 6 April 2009.
The Duke of Kent’s visit was hosted by Baroness Susan Greenfield, Professor of Pharmacology and Director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain. The Duke had lunch at Lincoln College followed by a tour of the Department of Pharmacology.
The Duke opened a newly refurbished wing of the department, which will house the research group of Professor Greenfield. This is the latest stage of a refurbishment that has seen the Department of Pharmacology invest over £1.5 million over the past three years. Outdated laboratories, as well as former library and accommodation facilities, have been converted into state-of-the-art research laboratories and offices that house the latest technology and equipment.
Professor Galione, Chair of Pharmacology, described this recent investment as ‘vital for the future sustainability of the Department’s research’. Research in the department investigates basic questions concerning the interaction of chemical substances with biological systems with the aim of improving the understanding and treatment of many important human diseases, from heart disease to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
The Duke of Kent also met research sponsors and scientists who work in Professor Greenfield’s research group. Professor Greenfield is Director of the Institute for the Future of the Mind, part of the James Martin 21st Century School. Her research group looks at the minds of the very young and the very old. It explores novel brain mechanisms in developing and ageing brains, considers the impact of new technologies and drugs on the brain, and investigates new therapies for disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Given the unprecedented nature of new technologies in the 21st century lifestyle, there is an urgent need to explore the full opportunities for and against such new influences for the individual.
The Department of Pharmacology, along with Oxford University’s Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, was rated the top pre-clinical/human biological sciences department in the UK in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise.