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Royal opening for Institute of Developmental Sciences

Published: 17 September 2007

HRH The Princess Royal has officially opened the University of Southampton's newest research centre today (Monday 17 September).

The Institute of Developmental Sciences, located next to Southampton General Hospital, provides state-of-the-art laboratories for research in developmental sciences and their influence on later health, a field for which the University of Southampton is internationally recognized.

The Institute houses the laboratories of the University's Developmental Origins of Health and Disease Division and related research groups in the School of Medicine, bringing these teams together in a single location for the first time.

Professor Mark Hanson, Director of the Institute of Developmental Sciences, said: "With the Institute's close links with the Princess Anne Hospital here in Southampton, it is very fitting and gives us great pleasure to welcome The Princess Royal to officially open our new building."

Professor Hanson, who is British Heart Foundation Professor of Cardiovascular Science at the University of Southampton, continued: "Throughout the world, a significant health crisis stands before us and it is one that scientists at Southampton are working hard to prevent.

"Our health as individuals is determined not only by the genes we have inherited, but also by the influence of the environment that prevails during our development, both before and after we were born. This is particularly the case with conditions such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes, and osteoporosis. In order to prevent these conditions we need to understand their relationship with our development before and after birth.

"The encouraging news is that we are finding the answers. The opening of this new Institute will take forward our work in preventing these diseases and will also give insights into other disorders with developmental origins, namely certain forms of cancer, immunological and neurological diseases."

Professor Peter Weissberg, Medical Director at the BHF, which donated nearly £1million to fund equipment for the Centre, said: "We're delighted to have contributed vital funds to equipping this excellent new centre. We're sure Mark and his world-leading team will capitalise on the opportunities it offers to reveal crucial pieces of the research puzzle to help us protect the hearts of future generations."

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