The Medical Research Council Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology is a centre for research into fundamental aspects of cell function and their links to human disease. The Institute is located in the heart of the Gower Street Campus of University College London (UCL) and currently houses 15 research groups funded by the MRC, Cancer Research UK, The Royal Society, The Wellcome Trust and University College London. The Medical Research Council opened the Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology (LMCB) on the Gower Street Campus of University College London (UCL) in 1993 under the leadership of Professor Colin Hopkins. In April 2001 a new MRC Cell Biology Unit (CBU) was incorporated within the LMCB with Professor Alan Hall as Director. Following Professor Hall's resignation in March 2006 Professor Mark Marsh was appointed as Director.
The LMCB occupies around 3,000m2 of floor space accommodating some 150 bench scientists working in 15 independent research groups supported by numerous funding bodies. Seventeen MRC funded infrastructure posts ensure the efficient management, administration and servicing of all groups housed within the LMCB. Since 1993, the MRC has supported a four-year PhD programme (the first in the UK) and this continues to be a major strength and success of the LMCB. For more details, see the Graduate Programme pages on this site.
The scientific aim of the LMCB & Cell Biology Unit is to provide a molecular understanding of cell behaviour through discovery-based research. Cell biology is one of the most exciting and important areas of biomedical research and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. Major human diseases such as cancer, inflammation, neuro-degeneration and bacterial/viral infection are primarily diseases of cells, and without a molecular understanding of the underlying cell biology, intelligent directed therapeutic intervention is impossible.
Our philosophy is that multi-disciplinarity is an essential ingredient for promoting imaginative and innovative discoveries in cell biology. The LMCB has developed an overall programme of research that is diverse yet synergistic and has achieved this by maintaining a balance of complementary areas of cell biology, recruiting the best possible groups in these areas and facilitating integration across the Unit and non-Unit groups as well as the wider UCL community.
The current scientific strengths of the LMCB & CBU divide roughly into four general biological themes: cytoskeleton, protein trafficking & signal transduction, polarity & morphogenesis and the cell cycle. This work has an impact on at least five important human disease areas: neuronal disorders, cancer, viral infection, inflammation and visual disorders.
As well as our strong focus on research we also aim to provide a vibrant and supportive working environment that encourages creative thinking and productivity for all staff and students. This includes various opportunities for social interactions (that may lead to better science or new collaborations). As well as a comfortable tearoom and meeting rooms within the LMCB, all LMCB staff have access to the recreational facilities of UCL, including refectories, theatres, a gym, lunch time lectures, training opportunities and common rooms. The LMCB holds monthly themed cocktail events, celebratory cakes or champagne to mark important scientific achievements, Christmas events, an annual all institute picnic, and a biennial retreat that includes skits, where we poke fun at ourselves, and a ceilidh. There have also been friendly football matches, running groups who train together and then run for various charities, an international dining group, and other events, depending on the interests of those in the LMCB at any one time. Many labs mark birthdays or other life events as well as taking the opportunity for occasional lunch-time or after-work get-togethers. We aim to encourage and support all who work at the LMCB in many different ways.
The physical location of the LMCB/CBU within the research environment of the UCL campus is a major attraction and offers possibilities for interactions with a huge diversity of groups in the life sciences. Furthermore, all group leaders are affiliated with university departments and while their primary role is research, individuals contribute to undergraduate teaching, particularly in more specialized courses. The close connections to university departments also provide opportunities for career advancement within UCL and several LMCB group leaders hold permanent positions within their affiliated departments.