The University of Tartu to opened a centre for translational medicine unique in the Nordic and Eastern-European countries
On Friday, 23 May, the University of Tartu opened in Tartu Maarjamõisa campus the most modern centre for translational medicine (Est. siirdemeditsiin - SIME) in the Nordic and Eastern-European countries, which takes health research and medicine to the next level with its research activity and millions of Euros worth of scientific equipment. The region’s biggest top-level experimental animal centre holding up to 32 000 mice and rats will also start work in the building.
According to Eero Vasar, Head of the UT's Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine, opening SIME creates a complete solution for furthering top-level medical science. “The SIME with its carefully designed utility systems is situated in the Maarjamõisa campus, allowing to gather people working in the field of medicine under the same roof and conduct research in high-tech laboratories, of which people will one day benefit from via drug development.”
The SIME laboratories allow for example research on the effects of metabolism to the nervous and immune system, mechanisms causing emotional behaviours and to model diseases.
The building is divided into zones on the basis of the complicated structure of the SIME: The building features colour-coded floors that facilitate movement between open and closed zones. The “clean rooms” with air showers, i.e. the closed zones, house animal storage rooms and medical laboratories for behavioural tests.
“The building also includes an infection block with a very high biosafety level 3, which allows working with dangerous pathogens that correspond to the safety level under strictly regulated conditions and research severe infections like HIV and hepatitis C on experimental animals,” said Mario Plaas, head of the SIME's animal experiment centre.
The closed section also includes the rooms of the department of magnetic resonance tomography, which features among other things a MRT device worth three million Euros created specifically for researching small animals. The scientific equipment of the centre includes the biggest sterilisation room in the Baltic States.
The centre is open for studying and research activity also for students, including genetic engineers, veterinarians, doctors and biochemists.
The University of Tartu develops translational medicine and clinical research as a member of the EATRIS consortium. EATRIS is a consortium uniting 70 scientific research establishments across Europe with the mission of implementing scientific discoveries more efficiently in practical medicine.
The area of the SIME is 4790 square metres and the total cost of the construction is 8.7 million Euros, of which 3.5 million Euros was allocated by SA Archimedes from the finances of the European Union. The building was designed by architects Uko Künnap and Andrus Vahrusev from U-Disain and constructed by AS Nordecon.
Additional information: Eero Vasar, Head of the Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine, tel: 737 4331, 526 8033, e-mail: eero.vasar [ät] ut.ee.