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hormones related to bone. The centre is named after Sir Edward Mellanby, a British born physician and pharmacologist whose seminal work led to the discovery of the role of Vitamin D in rickets and who was appointed to the foundation chair of pharmacology at the University of Sheffield in 1920.

Centre for Integrated Research into Musculoskeletal Ageing (CIMA)

CIMA was established in January 2012 with a £2.5m investment by the Medical Research Council and Arthritis Research UK to bring together world renowned researchers to investigate why musculoskeletal tissue function and structure declines with age.

Working with partners at the Universities of Liverpool and Newcastle, our researchers are investigating whether age-related decline in bone density and the degeneration of articular cartilage are due to ageing alone or whether the risk increases with specific diseases. The collaboration across three major universities enables a whole system approach to be pursued, combining complementary expertise, to drive rapid progress in basic and translational research.

Our partnerships

We have project and programme grant support from major funding councils including the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the National Institute for Health Research and the European Commission as well as funding from charities such as Arthritis UK, Cancer Research UK, Diabetes UK, the Infertility Research Trust and Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research. We also work closely with the pharmaceutical industry, including Amgen UK, AstraZeneca, Roche, Lilly, Warner Chilcott, Unilever, Holigic, and IDS.

We are involved in international collaborations with Erasmus Medical Centre (Rotterdam), Harvard Medical School (USA), the Mayo Clinic (USA), University of California (USA), University of Kiel (Germany), University of Kuwait (Kuwait), University of Queensland (Australia) and Wright State University (USA). The WHO Collaborating Centre for Osteoporosis is based within the Department and an EU funded COST Action Programme – Maternal Interaction with Gametes and Embryos – currently has 85 academic partners from 23 countries.

For more information see:



Professor Jim Wild

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Lung diseases are the fourth

biggest killer in the UK. Currently the only way to get medical

images of the lungs is to use Xrays and CT scans.

These are fine for looking at the structure of the lungs but have a harmful radiation dose. More to the

point, CT tells us very little about how the lung is functioning and so has

limited sensitivity to picking up early signs of lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis, asthma and emphysema.

The polarised lung and respiratory imaging group led by Jim Wild has

developed novel magnetic resonance imaging technology for imaging the lungs. The group is internationally recognised in this field.

By inhaling small amounts of the inert gases helium-3 and xenon-129, whose signal has been laser boosted or “hyperpolarised” with our custom

equipment, we get very high resolution lung images with direct access to the lung’s physiological workface – the

small airways. Thus we have sensitivity to pick up early signs of lung disease

and changes in physiology and have the potential to treat patients when they can benefit most.

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