A sod cutting ceremony with Finance Minister John Swinney has marked the building of a £60 million research centre.
The Scottish Centre for Regenerative Medicine building will provide researchers with state-of-the-art laboratories to study diseases of the blood, bone, brain and liver.
Its location next to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh will also help translate research from the laboratory bench into treatments for patients.
The building, due for completion in 2010, will house the Medical Research Council Centre for Regenerative Medicine headed by Professor Sir Ian Wilmut.
It will include researchers from a range of disciplines including those from the University’s internationally recognised Institute for Stem Cell Research.
The building forms a key part of the Edinburgh Bioquarter Development at Little France, a collaboration between the University, Scottish Enterprise and NHS Lothian.
Mr Swinney said:
"The Scottish Centre for Regenerative medicine will be a world class centre of excellence as stem cells treatments move from the lab to the operating theatre.
"The Centre builds on Scotland's strengths and ability to work together across academia, health and industry and will enhance Scotland's global reputation for science.”
Jack Perry, Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise, said:
"This project, which involves a £40m investment from Scottish Enterprise, will deliver significant value to the Scottish economy, so we are very excited to be moving on to this next, very tangible, stage of the development."
Professor Sir Ian Wilmut, Director of the Medical Research Council Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University, said:
“Stem cell research provides us with enormous opportunities for understanding disease and new treatments, whether this involves transplanting stem cells to help regenerate tissues and organs or using stem cells to help us discover new drugs for debilitating illnesses.”