Monday, 22 February 2016

House of Commons poster presentation for ISTM's Mathew Dunn

Mathew Dunn (above) will be presenting to MPs on 7 March

Matthew Dunn, an EPSRC funded PhD student in the CDT for Regenerative Medicine, will be presenting his work  to Members of Parliament and a panel of expert judges on 7 March as part of the SET for Britain competition in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences area.

SET for BRITAIN aims to encourage, support and promote Britain's early-stage and early-career research scientists, engineers, technologists and mathematicians who are an essential part of continuing progress in and development of UK research and R&D. 
The competition currently attracts around 500 entrants, of whom only 35% are selected to present their work in Parliament. Matthew's poster will be judged against dozens of other scientists' research in the only national competition of its kind.

The work, with Dr Paul Roach and Professor Rosemary Fricker, is a neuroscience project concerning the development of an in vitro model of the basal ganglia. Essentially the basal ganglia is the area of the brain that, when damaged, can be responsible for Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases, and so there is a lot of focus on developing any models that can be used to gather information about the basal ganglia, in order to learn more about how these diseases are caused, and how they can be prevented.

SET for BRITAIN Awards are made on the basis of the very best research work and results by an early-stage or early-career researcher together with their ability to communicate their work to a lay audience. Judged by leading academics, the gold medalist receives £3,000, while silver and bronze receive £2,000 and £1,000 respectively.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Wellcome Seed Award in Science for pharmacology research

Dr Ruoli ("Ronnie") Chen has been awarded nearly £90,000 for an 18-month project on "Pharmacological accumulation of hypoxia inducible factors for neuroprotection in cerebral ischaemia". 

The grant comes from the Seed Awards in Science, a recent initiative of the Wellcome Trust and only the second such grant to Keele. Ronnie will use his recently established and equipped laboratory including cell culture facilities, a hypoxia chamber and real time PCR, supported by ISTM, Pharmacy and his MRC Centenary Award two years ago. 

ISTM's Dr Ruoli "Ronnie" Chen
Ronnie Chen has two key collaborators for the project. Professor Rosemary Fricker, in ISTM and her facilities in the Harvey lab, and Professor Christopher Schofield, Head of Organic Chemistry at Oxford University. Ronnie moved to Keele in June 2011 from the Nuffield Department of Medicine at Oxford, having previously held posts at the Wellcome Trust Human Genetic Centre at Oxford, and at Kings College London, and he has continued links with teams at those institutions.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Biomedical Engineering: a personal perspective

Writen by Dr Dimitra Blana

What exactly is Biomedical Engineering?    ...I didn’t know either.

When I was at school, I decided that I wanted to cure paralysis, as a result of reading about Christopher Reeve and, well, being a teenager. At the time I thought that the only way to do this was by being a medical doctor. Unfortunately, working with syringes did not really appeal to me: I liked computers and video games. I decided to abandon my dreams of medical breakthroughs and study Computer Engineering.

A couple of years into my degree I came across a discipline I had never heard of: Biomedical Engineering. This is the application of engineering principles to medicine. It is a very wide field that includes any technological advance that aims to improve human health, such as new materials, implants, prosthetics, drugs, imaging equipment, and, excitingly, computer software.

This was a light-bulb moment for me. Following a Masters and PhD in Biomedical Engineering, I now use computer models to help people move again after spinal cord injury or stroke.

At Keele University, we have two medical engineering Masters courses that run side by side: Biomedical Engineering and Cell and Tissue Engineering - the second is an exciting area of Biomedical Engineering focusing on advances at the cellular level.

Our Masters in Biomedical Engineering was recently accredited by the Institute for Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM). The accreditation recognises that our programme has a suitable learning environment for students and meets strict educational standards.

Ed Chadwick (Biomedical Engineering course lead, right) and Paul Roach 
(Cell and Tissue Engineering course lead) with the accreditation certificate.

If you are interested in developing or applying technological solutions to healthcare problems, consider applying to our MSc in Biomedical Engineering or Cell and Tissue Engineering. Get in touch with the course directors (Ed and Paul) or administrator (Hildegarde) to find out more.

Monday, 1 February 2016

ISTM hosts collaborators from Switzerland

Left to Right: Professor Mauro Alini, Professor Alicia El Haj & Professor Martin Stoddart
Members of ISTM gathered at the Guy Hilton Research Centre on Thursday last week to hear presentations from two key collaborators who work at the AO Foundation Research Institute at Davos, Switzerland.

Professor Martin Stoddart, Principal Scientist at the AO Institute, spoke on monitoring stem cell fate with "Smartflare", a new technique using to observe mRNA expression of two genes in individual live cells using fluorescent probes.

Professor Mauro Alini, Head of Musculoskeletal Regeneration at the AO Institute, talked about stem cells for intervertebral disc regeneration, which was of particular interest to ISTM members working in that area based at RJAH Hospital in Oswestry.The extended visit gave an opportunity for discussions with staff and research students from all ISTM's three major sites.