Leeds £1.5 million Investigator Award for hepatitis C virus research

Professor Mark Harris, from the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology, has been appointed as a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator, with £1.5 million funding to pursue his research goals.


Professor Harris is the first researcher at the University to receive such an award from the Trust's Award programme.  His £1.5 million funding is spread over five years and recognises his achievements to date in understanding key events in the lifecycle of the hepatitis C virus.  Areas that Professor Harris expects to focus on include defining in molecular detail the processes by which the virus genome is replicated and packaged into virus particles, and determining how these events are co-ordinated, with a view to developing new antivirals.

Of his award, Professor Harris said: "I'm very proud to be a recipient of one of these awards. It will provide stability and security for my research group over the next five years, and it will allow us to  tackle the important 'bigger picture' research questions relating to hepatitis C virus."

Investigator Awards build on the Trust's strategic goal of "supporting the brightest researchers with the best ideas" recognise outstanding scientists with an excellent track record in addressing the most challenging research questions in biomedicine.  The Awards offer generous and long-term support for researchers to flexibility to direct their research in the way they wish over the award period.

The Trust has appointed 15 Investigators (4 New Investigators and 11 Senior Investigators) in this, the second round of awards. The Investigators are based at institutions across the UK and the awards range from around £500,000 over three years to over £3 million for seven years.

Investigators will help the Trust tackle its five major challenges, as set out in its Strategic Plan: maximising the health benefits of genetics and genomics; understanding the brain; combating infectious disease; investigating development, ageing and chronic disease; and connecting environment, nutrition and health.

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