Early Years

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Early Years of the Institute

The Institute is attached to the John Radcliffe Hospital, Headington, Oxford, which is the home of the Oxford University Clinical School.  In the original bequest to the Oxford School from Lord Nuffield, which led to the School’s establishment in 1938, there was provision for a research institute, which became known as the Nuffield Institute for Medical Research.  This was first housed in the Radcliffe Observatory, now part of Green College, but later moved into a new building on the John Radcliffe Hospital site.  In 1989, on the retirement of its Director, Professor Geoffrey Dawes, the Institute was incorporated into the new Institute of Molecular Medicine.  It was linked to a new building to make a two building complex around a central courtyard.

HtrA_Xtal_trimer_smallThe Institute was founded by the first director Sir David Weatherall, who in 1983 approached the Medical Research Council (MRC) with the suggestion that a small institute could be developed in the Oxford Clinical School which would house several groups who wished to apply the techniques of molecular and cell biology to study human disease.  The Institute was developed as a partnership between the MRC and several medical charities.  A sum of just over £7 million was raised through the generous support of the MRC, Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF), Wolfson Foundation, E.P. Abraham Research Fund, Wellcome Trust and the Nuffield Medical Trustees, University of Oxford.  The Institute, which was designed by the architects YRM, was opened on 17th July 1989, by HRH The Princess Royal.  On the retirement of the first Director in 2000, the Institute was renamed the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine.

Thanks to a Wellcome and HEFC SRIF grant, this was extended in 2002-4 to form one building with a new floor, new links between the original two buildings and a reconfigured central interaction space.  There are now three large floors of research laboratories and large central social area for the staff together with a library, seminar and conference rooms.