The Rosalind Franklin Institute (RFI)

Speeding up drug discovery. De-coding molecules to combat disease. Training algorithms to advance vital health research. The Rosalind Franklin Institute is dedicated to developing tomorrow’s life science innovations through technology development and needle-point research.

What is it?

The Rosalind Franklin Institute was established in 2018 by ten top UK universities, with a vision to overcome the health research challenges of today by connecting physical sciences and engineering to the life sciences. The institute takes its name from Rosalind Franklin, the great British scientist whose seminal work on DNA and RNA over a seventy years ago provided the building blocks for today’s biotechnology revolution.

RFI creates disruptive technologies that can reveal the inner-workings of life, from pea-sized tumours through to picometre-scale atoms. The state-of-the-art tools and projects accelerate the development of new medicines, advance medical diagnostics and push forward the frontiers of microbiology to deepen our understanding of human health and disease. RFI collaborates with partners from across industry and science to ensure our critical research has a real impact in the world. RFI uses:

Novel imaging technologies – developing world-first 4D imaging tools for stitching together data from electron microscopes with time resolution to build up the bigger picture.

Artificial Intelligence and Informatics – To employ leading-edge AI and machine learning software to accelerate data processing and analysis, enabling leaps in biological discovery.

Next generation chemistry for medicines – By investigating natural mechanisms using chemical approaches, scientists gain fresh insights for use in drug innovation.

Structural biology Whether it’s unpicking proteins to work out how to treat HIV and influenza or unravelling the processes that cause neurological disease, RFI brings molecules to life in 3D so that they can be studied more closely.

Biological mass spectrometry – The century-old measurement technique is used today to test food and environmental contamination, perform carbon dating and interrogate viruses – just a few examples of the research applications carried out at RFI on campus.

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