The new Wolfson Centre for Stem Cells, Tissue Engineering and Modelling (STEM) will be officially opened at the University of Nottingham on the 21st September, 2007 by Sir Keith O’Nions, Director General Science and Innovation at the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.
STEM is a new multidisciplinary research centre based within The University of Nottingham’s £25m flagship Centre for Biomolecular Sciences (CBS) which opened in May and houses 300 world-leading scientists dedicated to solving the global healthcare challenges of the future.
STEM will bring together a unique combination of scientists who are internationally recognised in their field.
£4m from, among others, the Wolfson Foundation, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust and the Health and Safety Laboratory has helped to create a critical mass of over 70 researchers and the world’s first taught masters course in stem cell technology.
Professor Lorraine Young, Director of STEM said: “STEM will provide a single location for stem cell biologists, engineers, mathematicians and clinicians to collaborate on the pure science that is the foundation of stem cell research and the translation into clinical benefits. Our strong links with industrial partners and the NHS will ensure that our developments can bring future benefits to patients”.
The new centre will draw on the expertise of biologists from the School of Human Development, tissue engineers from the School of Pharmacy and mathematical modellers from the School of Mathematical Sciences. Their work will focus on producing bone, brain and heart tissues for treating patients and also increase our understanding of diseases and the drugs that may treat them.
This multi-disciplinary approach is designed to encourage innovation of novel research areas. It will develop a better understanding of the biology of stem cells, help to engineer stem cells in a patient-deliverable format and increase the use of computer simulations in complex experiments.
Professor Young said “We have established a multi-disciplinary centre involving experts who work at the cutting edge of new developments. The ethos of STEM is to facilitate the daily integration of staff from diverse disciplines to generate new means for delivering stem cell technologies to patients and industrial end users in the fastest and safest manner”.
Sir Keith O’Nions, a British scientist and graduate of The University of Nottingham who is a champion of scientific research and development said: "The UK is a world leader in stem cell research and development. First class scientific research facilities such as STEM and our brilliant researchers are all vital to our continuing success in this area”.
"This research could lead to treatments for currently incurable diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease and stroke. The Government supports stem cell research through our Research Councils who fund a range of activities relating to stem cells, from grants for research and research facilities to public engagement”.
Among the guest speakers at the conference which is being held to celebrate the official opening of STEM are world experts in the field of stem cell research — much of the research has not previously been presented in the UK.
Professor Herb Sewell, Pro Vice Chancellor for Interdisciplinary Research (IDR) said: "STEM is an exciting example of how major challenges in 21st century research needs to be addressed by IDR teams. STEM academics have strong foundations in high quality discipline-based subjects, providing an excellent model that is reflective of other IDR activities across our University and beyond”.
From this October the new centre will run the world’s first MSc in Stem Cell Technology to train the next generation of scientists required to cope with the world wide expansion of this field.
The Schools of Human Development and Pharmacy have joined forces to develop this innovative MSc. Its introduction is in response to employers’ needs for skills training and interest from graduates wishing to undertake a career in a rapidly developing area of science and biomedicine.
This purpose-designed laboratory in this new world-class interdisciplinary research environment will offer unique research opportunities for students, scientists and their industrial partners.