CITY scientists will be swapping lab coats for Lycra to raise funds for their own research at this year's Oxford Town and Gown run.

The Oxford University team, whose work is partly-funded by race organisers Muscular Dystrophy UK, will pound the streets with thousands of others to support the cause on Sunday, May 14.

Now in its 36th year, organisers are hoping to bring the total money raised over three-and-a-half decades to £2m.

The funds raised each year help support families affected by the muscle-wasting disease and fund research to find a cure.

One PhD student researcher who is part of these studies working to find a cure is Karin Meijboom, from South Hinksey.

She said: "MD UK is one of the two charities funding my PhD and when I found out about the Oxford Town and Gown last year I thought I should definitely participate, so I set up the Matthew Wood researchers running group.

"About eight people ran it last time and this year the team has grown to about 10 or 12 people.

"I had such a great time last year – it is a beautiful event and everyone is very enthusiastic.

"It all starts at University Parks and it is wonderful how the whole town is turned orange for the charity colour of MD UK. There is such a great atmosphere."

The team of about 20 scientists in the Matthew Wood group at Oxford University are currently working on finding treatment and ultimately a cure for several neuro muscular diseases such as Muscular Dystrophy.

Ms Meijboom has urged people to sign up to the Oxford Mail-backed run in Oxford city centre.

She added: "As I am in research myself and looking for ways to treat these diseases, I know how much money goes into it and how important it is for this research to take place: it costs a lot.

"Not many people know about these diseases so it is important to raise funds for research but also to raise awareness."

About 3,000 people have already signed up for the 10K event but organisers hope to beat last year's total of 4,000 runners.

If they can do this then the charity will be on target to smash its Oxford Town and Gown fundraising total of £2m since it started.

To sign up online