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Cambridge Infinitus Research Centre

Ajay and Meng with year 2 students at Tianhe Hui Jing Elementary School, Guangzhou, China

Researchers from the Cambridge Infinitus Research Centre (CIRCE), led by Prof Alan Tunnacliffe and Prof Clemens Kaminski, visited Guangzhou, China in May 2017 for their annual technical meeting with Infinitus (China) Co Ltd. The main objective was to discuss current progress and future directions to identify bioactive peptides and assess their therapeutic potential in age related disorders. CIRCE members met with the Infinitus R&D team, led by Dr William Ma, and collaborators from Guangdong Pharmaceutical University and South China University of Technology, led by Prof Zebo Huang and Prof Jiaoyan Ren, respectively.

Current efforts of the CIRCE team focus on the antioxidant and anti-aggregation activities of bioactive peptides derived from natural sources, such as walnut and sea cucumber, since oxidative stress and protein aggregation are two critical factors occurring during ageing. Prof Tunnacliffe gave an overview of cellular assays established by CIRCE researchers Dr Ajay Mishra and Dr Meng Lu to mimic physiological aspects of aging.  The cell models have been successfully used to identify promising antioxidant and anti-aggregation activities for some of the candidate peptides. Prof Kaminski proposed the future vision of developing a high content screening platform at CIRCE, based on fluorescence lifetime imaging technology developed in his group, to accelerate CIRCE’s capabilities to test peptides or small molecules at the cellular and organism levels. Profs Huang and Ren groups presented their work on genomic and proteomic approaches in model organisms, providing the leads for future molecular mechanism studies performed at CIRCE.

In another technical seminar, open for other Chinese business leaders and Infinitus R&D engineers, Profs Kaminski and Tunnacliffe gave plenary lectures to provide the scientific background for the methods and technologies developed and deployed at CIRCE. Drs. Mishra and Lu presented details on their cellular assays and the principles behind fluorescence technologies to measure levels of reactive oxygen species or protein aggregation.

In addition to scientific discussions, the CIRCE team participated in outreach activities. Drs. Mishra and Lu visited two different primary schools in Guangzhou and talked about life as a researcher in the University of Cambridge, receiving tough questions in the process from the school children!

In September this year, a delegation of business leaders from Infinitus will visit CIRCE to experience our state-of-the-art research facilities and, hopefully, to further strengthen our mutual partnership.