HPRU GI Launches in Liverpool

Thu, 06 Feb 2020 11:20

The launch meeting has taken place for the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit in Gastrointestinal Infections (NIHR-HPRU-GI). The overarching aim of the Unit, awarded to the University of Liverpool (UoL), is to support and strengthen Public Health England (PHE) in its role of protecting the population of England from gastrointestinal infections. This award builds on the research and experience of the first HPRU GI which concludes at the end of March.

The launch meeting took place in Liverpool last week, and brought together internationally leading researchers from UoL, Warwick University (WU) and PHE. Going forward, scientists and clinicians with interest and expertise in gastrointestinal infections will work together with patients and the public, in partnership with academic organisations, the NHS and PHE. This collaborative approach will ensure that the Unit’s research is aligned with national and international priorities and that it is translated into benefits for patients and populations.

Professor Miren Iturriza-Gómara, Director of the HPRU-GI said: This launch meeting was the first step in an exciting new phase of gastrointestinal infections research. Bringing together internationally leading researchers, we will deploy the latest tools in data and genomic sciences to better understand, predict and prevent disease, in order to reduce the public health burden of gastrointestinal infections. The HPRU-GI will address existing health inequalities and contribute to training the next generation of health protection scientists.”

The Unit is part of an £8 million fund to the University by the NIHR to support two HPRUs, one in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections and the other in Gastrointestinal Infections. These new awards will allow a continuation of the first HPRUs, which ran from 2014 to 2020. Achievements from the HPRU-GI to date have ranged from introducing novel technologies into routine PHE outbreak investigation and reducing the risk of gastrointestinal infections transmitted by food, to informing and evaluating the introduction of vaccines to prevent childhood diarrhoea.