Bioversity conference

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University students across the UK will showcase their research on biotechnology at the second Bioversity event, to be held at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London tomorrow.

The event has been organised by Southampton University and will form part of the Genesis Conference, the largest biotechnology conference in the UK, attracting more than 400 pharmaceutical industry delegates.

Sue Sundstrom of Southampton University's research and innovation services said: ‘The concept behind Bioversity was to create a forum where industry and academia could come together and establish world-class partnerships and collaborations.

‘As the government places increasing emphasis on knowledge transfer between universities and industry, Bioversity is essentially a catalyst to help this happen.

‘While this initiative is being led by Southampton, the objective is to provide an opportunity to exhibit for all universities across the UK and Europe.’

Students at Southampton University are expected to exhibit their work on genetic association for age-related macular degeneration.

This is the most common cause of blindness in developed countries and their research aims to identify those most at risk of the disease.

Andrew Lotery, professor of ophthalmology at Southampton University, said: ‘Bioversity is an excellent opportunity to alert potential industrial partners of our research.

‘Our new gene discovery should lead to welcome developments for patients both in terms of earlier diagnosis and also in terms of novel drug development.

‘For industry, treatment of macular degeneration has become a major area of drug and diagnostic development and is already a multibillion dollar industry.’

Bioversity has been designed by a committee of industry and university representatives.

Participating universities include Edinburgh, Manchester, Cambridge, Warwick and Oxford.