Aberdeen University opens Kosterlitz Centre for Therapeutics
15 Sept 2010
The University of Aberdeen is opening the new Kosterlitz
Centre for Therapeutics on 16 Sept. The Centre is a cross-college
virtual organisation providing support to researchers to develop
research results into marketable products.
The Centre is named after one of the University of Aberdeen’s
most famous scientists, Professor Hans Kosterlitz, who joined the
University in 1933, and co-discovered that the body produces
morphine-like chemicals called endorphins that affect how we feel
pleasure and fight pain.
Professor Kosterlitz ’s Unit for Research on Addictive Drugs,
which was based at Marischal College, remained at the forefront of
opioid research for many years and he carried on working until he
was approaching his 90s.
Centre director Professor Ruth Ross, Chair in Molecular
Pharmacology at the University, said: “Scientists and clinicians can
be working on research or be involved in patient care when they
discover something that might suggest a possible new way of treating
a medical condition.
“However the journey from what is called ‘bench to bedside’ is a
laborious one, which is incredibly time consuming, may involve
expertise that the scientist or clinician does not have, and will
certainly require funding.
“The University’s new Kosterlitz Centre will offer all kinds of
support to researchers and clinicians in this position, from helping
with grant applications and filing patents, to approaching industry,
pharma companies, investors and philanthropists for financial
Dr Iain Greig, Deputy Director of the Kosterlitz Centre and a
medicinal chemist at the University, added: “We want to ensure that
“Eureka moment” a scientist or clinician may have in the lab or in a
medical setting, perhaps when they identify a new receptor or
pathway, doesn’t fizzle out because they don’t have the support to
translate that finding into a new therapy that could help patients.
“We have already got several pharma companies on board for
projects in the pipeline which we hope will pave the way for the
development of new therapies for cancer, heart disease, infection
and pain. We are also looking at obesity and neurodegenerative
One of the key areas of expertise in the cross-College Kosterlitz
Centre is synthetic organic chemistry; the synthesis of potential
new therapeutic compounds. This will be lead by Professor Matteo
Zanda, the Northern Research Partnership Chair in Medical
Technologies, who joined the University of Aberdeen last year from
Professor Ross explained “The findings of Hans Kosterlitz were a
breakthrough in the truest sense of the word and transformed our
understanding of the body’s own painkillers. Even today they have
implications for pharmacology and are informing new ways of treating
“The new Centre will build on Kosterlitz’s legacy by capitalising
on the wealth of expertise that already exists at the University of
Aberdeen and ensuring new ideas and concepts are not lost.
“The Kosterlitz Centre aims to deliver impact from innovation: as
well as delivering patient benefits, the Centre will also contribute
to Scotland’s economy.”
One of the projects in development was prompted after a
researcher studying tumour cells in the lab discovered that they had
very high levels of a particular receptor. Now work is underway to
see if a drug can be developed that could act on this receptor which
could be responsible for the tumour’s development.