The world’s biggest community genetics study has just received a funding boost in the millions – and it’s based in east London.
East London Genes And Health has also received a funding boost of £5m from the Higher Education Funding Council For England (HEFCE) to build a Genes and Health Population Genomic Medicine Centre in Newark Street, Whitechapel.
Launched in March 2015 and led by Queen Mary University of London, East London Genes And Health aims to improve the lives of Pakistani and Bangladeshi people in the East End by analysing the genes and health of 100,000 local people.
The study’s 4,000th participant was Mr Zoinul Abidin, who presents the Ramadan Special radio programme on BetarBangla 1503 AM.
Mr Abidin said: “I am taking part to make a difference.
"I want to lead by example to encourage people from the local community to come forward and take part in this significant piece of research.
"I lost my father to diabetes and my mother also has it. In future years this research will play its part in saving lives and I want to play my very small part in helping make a huge difference.”
Work on the centre will begin shortly with cash coming from HEFCE’s Catalyst Fund. The centre is also part of the university's new Life Sciences Initiative.
• Also online: Count your moles to check your cancer risk
The £5million award, along with existing Medical Research Council funding, will be spent on equipping and fitting out three floors of the Abernethy building, part of the university's Whitechapel campus, as a permanent base for the research project.
This will include developing space and facilities to recall participants as part of the longer term research project, as well as establishing a designated public space and enhancing educational facilities.
The ground floor will be open to all in the local community, and Professor David van Heel, leading the study said: “The local community has really got on board and shown their support for this important project and we look forward to building on this early success in the coming years.”
In partnership with the university, East London Genes And Health is supported by Barts Health NHS Trust, local clinical commissioning groups and local charity Social Action For Health.