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University of Lleida inaugurates animal facility to improve biomedical research

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The University of Lleida (UdL) has inaugurated the second largest rodent facility in Catalonia, located in the Medical Department’s Teaching Area. This facility will allow UdL research groups and the Biomedical Research Institute of Lleida to move forward with their research on different illnesses (diabetes, cancer, ALS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc.), perform experiments with stem cells and test medication before it goes to market.

The animal facility will be 1,200 square meters, including normal housing areas and those for animals free of pathogens, laboratories, a quarantine area, operating rooms, necropsy rooms, a cleanroom with air shower, storage space and a technical control area.

The new animal facility is part of the UdL's Technical/Scientific Services, but it is also open to research groups from other universities, institutes and companies that want to take advantage of the human and technological resources it offers. The UdL hopes to attract both external researchers and funding for its projects. The first step will be to offer services to external users from the Lleida Agrofood Science and Technology Park (PCiTAL), with the aim of encouraging the creation of spin-off companies.

The Commissioner for Universities and Research, Blanca Palmada, also announced that the UdL will receive four million euros from the Government of Catalonia, which come from the European Union’s ERD Fund, to finish construction of their biomedical research building located next to the Arnau de Vilanova University Hospital. With this support, Joan Viñas, UdL rector and member of the Biocat Forum, explained "we will be able to finish it by 2010".

On the other hand, UdL has received approval from the Government of Catalonia to offer a degree in biomedicine next year. The Medical Department has been preparing this degree for some time and it will train specialists in cancer, aging and neurodegenerative diseases, and the cardiovascular system. The last two years of study will be given completely in English.

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