Royal opening for new MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences building


The MRC LMS lab

The MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences has celebrated the opening of its new building at Hammersmith Campus with a visit from The Princess Royal.

Her Royal Highness officially opened the £120 million state-of-the-art MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences (LMS) building at Imperial College London’s Hammersmith campus, touring the Institute’s state-of-the-art facilities and meeting its researchers, leadership and stakeholders.

The MRC LMS is hosted by Imperial College London and is one of only two Laboratories in the UK wholly funded by the UKRI Medical Research Council.

The institute’s new purpose-built home is a striking eight-storey building clad in anodised aluminium which houses 400 scientists working across themes including: genes and the environment; heart and metabolic disease; and sex-based differences in disease.

MRC LMS Building
The new MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences Building

HRH looking at fruit flies with post doctoral researcher Claudia Lennicke
Her Royal Highness looking at fruit flies with post doctoral researcher Claudia Lennicke. (Credit: Paul Clarke Photography)


The new building was designed by Hawkins\Brown to amplify the Institute’s core principle of bridging the gap between fundamental biological discoveries and translation to clinical application – and is ideally situated to convene scientists at Imperial College London and clinicians at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

With a modern design featuring a large atrium and central staircase, the new building will encourage researchers from a range of different disciplines and different organisations to socialise, share ideas and collaborate on emerging challenges.

A big window with people walking past.
A photo from within the new building. (Credit: MRC Laboratory Of Medical Science)

Professor Wiebke Arlt, Director of the MRC LMS, said: “We are delighted to welcome The Princess Royal to MRC LMS. Our new building's design fosters an environment highly suited to team science that transcends disciplinary boundaries, bringing together clinical and non-clinical scientists in a shared space designed for collaboration, training and mentorship.

“By actively welcoming people from our local community, organising public lectures and participating in community events, the laboratory is also fostering collaboration beyond its walls. We will continue to build bridges between our scientists and the public, enabling a better understanding of complex issues.

"Our researchers also actively visit our local communities and schools to share our research, demonstrating the LMS’ societal impact through education and engagement.”

HRH capturing a single strand of DNA with PhD candidate Quentin Smith
Her Royal Highness capturing a single strand of DNA with PhD candidate Quentin Smith. (Credit: Paul Clarke Photography)

Patrick Chinnery, Executive Chair of the MRC said: “We are honored and deeply grateful to Her Royal Highness for inaugurating the new home of the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences.

“Today's event builds upon a unique legacy, as The Princess Royal also opened the lab's first building in 1995. Her continued support for the MRC, for science, and especially championing women in STEM is truly valued.

“As one of MRC’s flagship institutes, LMS underscores the importance of long-term investment in science infrastructure, and particularly MRC’s commitment to research relevant for human health. We look forward to continuing to work in collaboration with Wiebke and the LMS team in this new exciting era.”

Professor Hugh Brady, President of Imperial College London, said: “We're proud to host the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences and to welcome The Princess Royal to Imperial's Hammersmith-White City campus. The new LMS building further boosts our capability for leading-edge translational biomedical research and is a great addition to Imperial's vibrant interdisciplinary research and innovation ecosystem.”

Professor Deborah Ashby, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London, said: “This new building will enable the MRC LMS to continue forging its path in fundamental biomedical discoveries. Its work will continue to draw on the world-leading expertise and experience of our research community at Imperial College London and the clinical excellence of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.”


During the opening, The Princess Royal was shown around some of the key facilities, including the ‘fly lab’ – where researchers are exploring the factors underpinning ageing and metabolism in a model organism, the fruit fly.

Another of the facilities featured in the HRH’s tour was the laboratory of Professor David Rueda. Here, researchers use video game technology to stretch a single strand of DNA (more than 30,000 times smaller than a human hair) to explore how tension and coiling affect our genes. The team’s work may provide insights into the impacts of new gene editing techniques such as CRISPR.

The tour also included the cardiac imaging facility, which houses a new artificial intelligence tool that can detect signs of ageing in the heart that are invisible to the human eye.

HRH looking at fruit flies with post doctoral researcher Claudia Lennicke
Her Royal Highness tours the new building with Professor Wiebke Arlt, Director of the MRC LMS. (Credit: Paul Clarke Photography)

Funded by the UKRI MRC with significant investment from Imperial College London, the new LMS building is located immediately opposite Hammersmith Hospital, benefiting from the strategic partnership between the university and the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

The close proximity to the rapidly expanding White City Innovation District further ensures that this strategic alliance will translate scientific discoveries into medical breakthroughs, innovative technologies and economic impact.



Ryan O'Hare

Ryan O'Hare
Communications Division

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