Skip to navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer

UK Biobank multi-organ scanning project resumes in Bristol

UK Biobank multi-organ scanning project resumes in Bristol

UK Biobank has today re-opened its imaging centre in Bristol, following a successful lease to the NHS in Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire. Local Bristol participants will now be invited to attend the centre as part of the world’s largest whole body imaging project.

In January 2021, UK Biobank leased its Bristol imaging centre to the NHS during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to help alleviate some of the pressures faced by the NHS. In the following year, the UK Biobank imaging centre provided up to 150 MRI scans per week for University Hospitals Bristol, Weston NHS Foundation Trust, and North Bristol NHS Trust.

"During the COVID-19 pandemic, the NHS in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire had the unique opportunity to collaborate with UK Biobank and have access to the Bristol imaging centre. This increased our capacity and enabled the delivery of 11,827 MRI scans for NHS patients over the last 18 months. I’d like to thank everyone involved in this work, including our dedicated NHS staff, who continue to go above and beyond for local people during a challenging time."

Dr Peter Brindle, Medical Director for Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group

The imaging centre was returned to UK Biobank in Spring 2022 and the organisation has now resumed its multi-organ scanning project, which was put on hold during the contract. The £43m study has been funded by the Medical Research Council, Wellcome, and the British Heart Foundation and involves imaging the brains, hearts, bones, and abdomens of 100,000 participants from the 500,000-strong UK Biobank cohort. These scans are then analysed in conjunction with the vast data already collected from volunteers, transforming the way scientists study life-threatening illnesses. 

Sue Jacob's, 65, from Bristol, attended her imaging assessment on the first day UK Biobank opened its door again to participants.

Sue Jacobs at her imaging assessment in Bristol.
"I really believe science is the way forward for health. It would be nice to grow old gracefully without having health complications and the UK Biobank imaging project will enable research into how to lead better lives. Not only that, but you’re also helping fellow human beings on the whole planet!"

Sue Jacobs

Gareth Gregory, Chief Finance Officer at UK Biobank, said: "We are delighted that our imaging facility helped to ease some of the intense pressures faced by the NHS during a very difficult period, and we are equally delighted that it will now play a key part in our transformative multi-organ scanning project.”

"What makes this project so exciting is our ability to combine the rich imaging data being gathered with the wealth of other information – including genetics, lifestyle, and cognitive function – already available or being gathered from UK Biobank participants."

Gareth Gregory

Find out more about UK Biobank's imaging study here.