Previous Funding

Objective Activity (PI) Description
OUTREACH  Public engagement Professor Andrew Whiten

Dr Katherine CrossNew Investigator



Dr Nicolas Claidiere’s engagement work in the University’s ‘Living Links’ to Human Evolution Research Centre in Edinburgh Zoo (Wellcome capital supported) was supported.

  • (i) Major new award (Templeton Foundation to Whiten and Prof Laland of the School of Biology);
  • (ii) proposal to the Wellcome Trust for a ‘Living Links 2’  ‘Evolving Minds’ Centre in the zoo, requested from the Trust; grant is under review;
  • (iii) the impact of the Living Links public engagement effort, supported by Wellcome awarded Senior Prize for Public Engagement 2014 by Royal Society of Edinburgh (to Whiten).

Creation of Bright Club St Andrews (Cross). Bright Club is a variety night in which academics talk about their work in the form of short stand-up comedy routines. The aim is to engage with as broad an audience as possible and to support academics in developing the skills needed to communicate about research in an engaging, entertaining, and accessible way. ISSF meant that training was required of all Wellcome researchers at St Andrews. The first two Bright Club St Andrews shows have been successful, with more than 80 audience members at each.

OUTREACH Public engagement Dr Tracey GlosterNew Investigator


Naismith, Taylor (PIs)

Support for the University of St Andrews Protein Crystallography Summer School in Aug 2013. The crystallography summer school is held biennially in St Andrews, and is co-organised by Jim Naismith, Garry Taylor and Tracey Gloster.A total of 52 PhD/PDRA attended the summer school, primarily from UK but also from Europe and beyond. Teaching and workshops in an intensive week, the summer school covers material including molecular biology, protein biochemistry, crystallisation, synchrotron data collection, phasing, model refinement and validation, alternative structural techniques including NMR, SAXS and cryo-EM.
PEOPLEKey technologistDr Huanting Liu James Naismith (PI) Dr Liu has established high throughput protein cloning, expression and purification of proteins in bacteria. Liu has created a large number of vectors and protocols. These are essential to many groups in St Andrews including White, Naismith, Gloster, Schwarz-Linek, Smith & Botting. He has also set up small scale expression  in insect cells. The system has enabled virology labs to move from bands on gels to proteins for biophysical study.
PEOPLEKey technologistDr Miguel Pinheiro Dr Silvia Parachini (PI)Young Investigator Pinheirois involved in a variety of projects providing support for over 10 different research projects across the Schools of Medicine, Biology and Chemistry. He has been involved in both the design and the installation of the server that has allowed Next Gen Seq analysis here. This has allowed us to attract Dr Matt Holden and the facility is one of our highlights.
PEOPLE (Bridging) Dr Sam Pitt (PI)New Investigator Dr Pitt was employed on a fixed-term one year transition fellowship in the School of Medicine and actively sought external funding in the form of a personal fellowship. She was bridged until she was awarded a five year Royal Society of Edinburgh Biomedical personal fellowship (Oct 2013).
PEOPLE (Bridging)Dr Elaine Campbell Dr Simon Powis (PI) Dr Elaine Campbell was supported for MRC application on the function of exosome vesicles, which unfortunately was rejected in April 2013. This period also allowed Dr Campbell to finish work on a manuscript currently under revised submission at Arthritis and Rheumatology, and also start a new project with Prof Kishan Dholakia on Raman spectroscopy of purified immune cell populations. This has produced one further paper (submitted) and a further project grant application to the MRC.
PEOPLE (Bridging)Dr Helen Denton Dr Terry Smith (PI) Dr Helen Denton has amalgamated a substantial amount of preliminary data for a publication which will submitted later this summer. She carried out the cloning, purification and assayed an unusual and unique bi-, possibly tri-functional, trypanosomal enzyme, which could be exploited as a drug target against African sleeping sickness and related parasitic diseases.
PEOPLE (Bridging)Drs Stephen McMahon & Hexian Huang Prof James Naismith (PI) Bridging funds for Dr Stephen McMahon and Hexian Huang were used to acquire preliminary data for a Senior Investigator application to the Wellcome Trust. They carried out the cloning, purification and crystallisation of proteins involved in the synthesis and transport of sugars within the bacterial cell. The application was successful (ME252676) with a Senior Investigator Award. This award now employs both retaining their valuable skill set within St Andrews.
PEOPLE (Bridging)Dr Hong Yan Zhang Prof Keith Sillar  (PI) 6 months salary support for Dr HongYan Zhang allowed retention until the outcome of a BBSRC grant (on which Dr Zhang was a named postoc), and also various fellowship applications that Dr Zhang had applied for to remain in St Andrews. Unfortunately, these applications were unsuccessful. However, supported in part by her ISSF funding, Dr Zhang subsequently secured a competitive 5 year Chancellors Fellowship and has relocated to the Centre for Neuroregeneration at the University of Edinburgh.
PEOPLE (Bridging)Elizabeth King Dr Terry Smith and Dr Stuart MacNeill (PIs) Elizabeth King was funded by ISSF as a RA for 12 months to work on trypanosome MCM protein complexes. External funding  from Tenovus Scotland was used to carry out knock-down, knock-out and tagging of the trypanosome MCM8, MCM9 and MCM-BP genes and conduct preliminary TAP purification of the corresponding protein complexes, thereby generating invaluable data for future publications and grant applications. King has taken a PhD studentship & MacNeill was funded by the MRC on MCM protein complexes.
PEOPLE(Bridging)Drs Helen ConnarisMargaret Taylor

Lei Yang

Prof Garry Taylor (PI) Drs Helen Connaris, Margaret Taylor and Lei Yang were employed on an MRC DPFS Grant that ran for 2 years until 31st July 2013 on a project involving the development of a novel prophylactic treatment for influenza.  Bridged their posts until a one year extension was funded. The team was retained and published a paper in PNAS ( They are presently working on a follow-up paper that will acknowledge support from the ISSF. Proof of Concept application to Scottish Enterprise to enable creation of a start-up company has been submitted.
PEOPLE (Bridging)Dr Matt Smith Dr David Jackson (PI)New Investigator Supported Dr Matt Smith, a highly skilled influenza virologist. Hisimmediate career aim is to apply for independent fellowship funding, however this requires the generation of preliminary data for his applications. Matt will perform experiments to not only produce the data he needs for his fellowship applications but also data that will support Jackson.
PEOPLE (Bridging)Dr Cedric Zimmer Dr Karen Spencer (PI)Young Investigator Bridge Dr Cedric Zimmer between grants and also during Spencer’s maternity leave (under St Andrews ISSF valuing people initiative) and to acquire preliminary data for a future New Investigator application to the Wellcome Trust. During this 6 month period Dr Zimmer was able to run a large volume of quantitative PCR assays and this has led to two papers (currently ready for submission ) and data that will form the basis of my Wellcome application in November 2014.  A BBSRC award now funds Dr Zimmer.
PEOPLE(Bridging)Dr Katrin Ackermann Dr Uli Schwarz-Linek (PI) SupportDr Katrin Ackermann while awaiting the decision on the BBSRC grant application. Dr Ackermann was Schwarz-Linek’s senior postdoc in the lab, and had a strong interest in retaining her to work on a collaborative and innovative project, which combined NMR and EPR spectroscopy to elucidate the structure and mode of action of a major bacterial virulence protein (M protein from Streptococci). The BBSRC grant application received very favourable reviews (exceptional, 2 x excellent, very good) but was unsuccessful. The proposal will be resubmitted to the MRC.
PEOPLE (Bridging)Dr Ben Brennan Prof Richard Elliott (PI) The funding was to bridge Dr Brennan whilst Professor Elliott’s Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator award was under consideration. The grant was awarded and Dr Brennan moved to a position funded by the grant. Both have now moved to Glasgow.
Seedcorn (small equipment) Dr David JacksonNew Investigator Purchase a tissue culture microscope and essential immunoblotting reagents to help establish lab focused on virus-cell interactions. Jackson has published first manuscript as an independent group leader (Xiao, H., et al., (2013). J. Virol. 87(23), 13053-13058),has helped produce data that are being included in three further manuscripts that have either been submitted to the Journal of Virology or are in the final stages of preparation and generated substantial preliminary data for an upcoming Wellcome Trust New Investigator grant application.
Seedcorn (research support) Dr Alan StewartYoung InvestigatorStudentDagmara Wiatrek Part funding a studentship for Dagmara Wiatrek to examine the roles of zinc in the immune system. The project is developing well – she has been looking at the effects of zinc on exosome secretion and cytokine release from dendritic cells. Furthermore, she is examining the modulation of histidine-rich glycoprotein-complement interactions by zinc, a process that has relevance to the progression of age-related macular degeneration. This studentship will provide the basis for a Wellcome Senior Investigator award application by Alan Stewart within the wider remit of circulatory zinc signaling
Seedcorn (research support) Dr Catherine Adamson (PI)Young InvestigatorStudent

Claire Stewart

Student supported to identify components of the ubiquitylation machinery that regulate the interferon (IFN) induction or signalling pathways. In collaboration with Professor Ron Hay they used the reporter cell-lines to screen an ubiquitylation siRNA library, which targets 1186 genes. Initial screens identified 177 and 77 potential hits targeting the IFN induction and IFN signalling pathways respectively. A short-list of 20 hits for each pathway was selected based on toxicity, reproducibility, systematic literature searches and reagent availability, with 2 hits with a high/medium score from the IFN induction pathway and 7 hits with a medium confidence from the IFN signalling pathway.The data generated are broadly applicable to basic research to investigate the importance of the IFN response in controlling virus infections and a number of practical applications including vaccine and oncolytic virus production, virus diagnostics and techniques to isolate newly emerging viruses. This work has led to a UK patent application and a manuscript is in preparation (Stewart, Randall and Adamson).
Seedcorn (research support) Dr Gareth Miles (PI)StudentDavid Acton To support investigation of the role of glial cells in mammalian spinal motor control networks. This project aims to obtain data to strengthen a revised grant application to the Welcome Trust (or other funding body) following an unsuccessful application for a New Investigator Award in which largely positive feedback highlighted concerns with the specificity of genetic labelling techniques and the feasibility of the optogenetics proposed.Now demonstrated the specificity of the genetic approach and proven the feasibility of optogenetic methodology (in neurons, but expect similar results in glial cells shortly) and have revealed additional, non-genetic approaches to specifically activate glial cells of the spinal cord. Work has recently been presented at a national glial cell meeting and will soon be presented at the world’s largest international neuroscience meeting (SFN, Washington DC, USA).
Seedcorn(research support) Dr Tracey Gloster (PI)New InvestigatorStudentRobert Pengelly Enabled an additional line of research to become established in the laboratory. The aim of this work is to understand the role played by C-mannosylation of proteins, an unusual and under-studied form of glycosylation in eukaryotes. Initial work demonstrated enzyme activity by the microsomal fraction extracted from liver on peptides using a radioactive assay.Although the work originally set out to identify the glycosyltransferase responsible for the modification, the gene encoding the glycosyltransferase in C. elegans was published shortly after the work started. They are now focussing on the four human homologues, which gene knock-out studies by others have implicated may be important for neuronal migration.
Seedcorn(research support) Dr James AingeNew InvestigatorStudentHelen Milner Funded Helen Milner who recently published in the Journal Hippocampus (Wilson, D. I. G., Watanabe, S., Milner, H. & Ainge, J. A. (2013). Hippocampus, 23, 1280-1290). She also made good progress on her own project examining the role of the lateral entorhinal cortex in associative memory for multi-modal stimuli. These data were included as pilot data for a grant application to the Wellcome Trust last summer, which was unsuccessful (ref: 102881/Z/13/Z).
Seedcorn (research support) Dr Gillian Brown (PI)StudentKyle Kulbarsh Novel studies on behavioural and brain development in rats, which combined pharmacological, endocrinological and qPCR techniques. The data are being written up as 3 manuscripts and will contribute to New Investigator applications.The funding provided salary for an early-career postdoctoral researcher, who has been awarded an Australian Endeavour independent research fellowship at Macquarie University, Sydney, and supported an MPhil student, who is now a research scientist at BioPhase Solutions, San Diego.
Seedcorn (research support) Dr Uli Schwarz-Linek (PI)StudentAleksandra Dziewulska Supported Aleksandra Dziewulska to work in covalent host recognition by pathogenic bacteria, which is now funded by the MRC. Aleksandra has discovered novel bacterial adhesion domains in three major human pathogens, vancomycin-resistant staphylococci, Clostridium difficile and Bacillus anthracis. A publication on covalent bacteria human cell cross-linking will lend strong support to a Senior Investigator Award application to the Wellcome Trust.
Seedcorn (research support) Dr Terry Smith (PI)StudentMatthew Roberts The works has three main objectives. Firstly to characterise/define the lipidomes of kinetoplastids, which along with bioinformatic analysis of the lipid metabolic enzymes, will allow them to understand what lipids these parasites can and can not make and how. This will allow them and others to identify and validate new drug targets. Secondly, identifying as yet unknown modes of action for existing anti-kinetoplastid drugs, some of which surprisingly affect lipid metabolism. This will help future drug therapeutic approaches. Lastly, flux analysis for two main phospholipid pathways in T. brucei using stable isotope labelling experiments in conjunction with quantitative lipidomic/metabolomic  analyses will be investigated
Seedcorn(research support) James Naismith (PI)StudentGreg Mann Cyclic peptides have potent biological and medicinal properties yet they are hard to synthesize. Greg Mann was recruited to St Andrews as a PhD student. He has helped secure data on the biosynthetic pathway of these enzymes. This has led to a paper in Angew Chemie and helped secure an ERC advanced grant.
Seedcorn (research support) Dr Akira O’Connor (PI)Young Investigator  The funds, supplemented by internal funding secured from the School of Psychology and Neuroscience, have been used to a) train two lab members (PhD student  Ravi Mill and PI Akira O’Connor) in simultaneous EEG-fMRI data collection and analysis and b) run 25 participants through a NHS-ethics approved simultaneous EEG-fMRI procedure at the Clinical Research Centre, Ninewells Hospital.The major achievements so far have been the establishment of infrastructure for the first use of simultaneous EEG-fMRI data-acquisition at St Andrews and the collection of high-quality data, presented at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society Annual Meeting 2014 (Boston). A Wellcome Trust New Investigator Award application is planned for the November 2014
EQUIPMENT (Multi user & facility) Prof Stephen Gillespie Illuminia MiSeq Sequencer was purchased to support the Bioinformatics facility in St Andrews. The equipment is crucial part of the core facility and as described in detail elsewhere is enabling new research.
EQUIPMENT (Multi user) Dr Alan StewartYoung Investigator 50% of the cost of a new MicroCal iTC200 isothermal titration calorimeter. This instrument complements the University’s existing VP-ITC system but has the important advantage of requiring 7-times less sample. The School of Medicine matched the ISSF funding and the machine was installed in February 2014.It has been used by many groups, including Stewart, Naismith and White. Data obtained using the new instrument has been included in a manuscript on plasma zinc dynamics, which is about to be submitted. In addition, this equipment is central to a project grant application to British Heart Foundation (ref: 30882) and ERC Consolidator applications.
EQUIPMENT (Multi user) Dr Anne SmithYoung investigator Purchase of a Bioscreen C machine, a unique piece of equipment optimised for microbial growth curves. Smith has begun measuring growth curves of stored strains from a previous experimental evolution experiment for which she has genetic data.  Once completed, this data will inform preliminary results for her upcoming Wellcome Trust New Investigator Application.
EQUIPMENT (Multi user part of central microscopy facility) Dr Marcus BischoffNew investigator State-of-the-art laser scanning confocal microscope (Leica SP8). Being set up only half a year ago, various groups in the Schools of Biology and Medicine now benefit from up to date imaging; the Bischoff, Gunn-Moore, Lucocq and Taylor labs are already using the system, and the Ferreira, Tello, Tilsner and Paracchini labs are planning to use the system in the near future.The Bischoff lab in particular is using the system extensively for long-term in vivo imaging, which is important  for collecting preliminary data for a BBSRC New Investigator application in autumn. The system has already provided data for a publication, which is currently being revised for Nature Communications.

The system was furthermore essential for Javier Tello to allow his lab to move their experiments from Edinburgh to St Andrews and secure a grant from the Northwood Trust to study neuronal network activity in mouse brain slices.

EQUIPMENT (Multi user) Dr Helder FerreiraNew investigator Leica MZ10F Fluorescence stereomicroscope shared by Ferreira and Bischoff for the routine screening and selection of transgenic C. elegans and Drosophila. This essential piece of equipment has been used to generate preliminary data to support upcoming BBSRC and MRC new investigator grant submissions (to be submitted in 2014).
EQUIPMENT (Multi user) Dr David JacksonYoung investigator Odyssey CLx near infrared (NIR) scanner has allowed the somewhat dated method of X-ray film-based chemiluminescent detection of proteins by western blotting to be replaced with the superior NIR-based detection. The superiority of this system over dated systems in terms of multichannel usage, vastly superior linear range and exceptional quantitation capabilities, has drawn multiple research groups away from older systems leading to superior data generation.This system has now been used by over 40 different users from close to ten different research groups within BSRC. The advantage of this system has not only been in the quality of produced data but also in terms of reproducibility and substantial cost savings. The equipment has seen heavy usage from Jackson, Sleeman, White, MacNeill, Gloster, Randall and Adamson labs.
CAPITAL EQUIPMENT (Facility) Dr Tracey GlosterNew investigator and Profs James Naismith, Garry Taylor The new facility included a liquid handling robot, a drop-setter robot for low (<100 nL) volume, crystallization plate storage incubators for storage of plates at 4 and 20°C and crystal drop imager. The addition of the robotics suite to the structural biology laboratory in St Andrews has provided state-of-the-art facilities for protein crystallization, and benefits many users within the crystallography groups and collaborators within the BSRC. The facility is still used by Professor Dong (originally WT CDF at St Andrews, now UEA) who has a technician in St Andrews (paper in June issue of Nature).The facilities have underpinned the research in Gloster’s Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellowship (WT095828MA), Naismith (WT SI, ERC Adv). Gloster was awarded a L’Oreal-UNESCO-Royal Society For Women In Science Fellowship and Naismith elected FRS.