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Stem cell awareness

27 January 2012

Fraser Young of The School of Dentistry shaking hands with Dr Alastair Sloan, Head of Tissue Engineering and Reparative Theme at The School of Dentistry.
Fraser Young of The School of Dentistry (left) was awarded a prize for best oral presentation. Fraser is pictured with Dr Alastair Sloan, Head of Tissue Engineering and Reparative Theme at The School of Dentistry.

Experts in stem cell research from across the University have come together to help raise awareness of their work and promote greater research collaborations.

The first Stem Cell Research Day is the brainchild of Dr Lindsay Davies from the School of Dentistry designed to bring together experts, share knowledge and encourage more interdisciplinary working.

"Cardiff University has an abundance of expertise in stem cell research – however, in such a large research intensive University like Cardiff it is difficult to stay up-to-date with the diversity of research areas being explored and therefore sharing our expertise with like-minded colleagues across the University," according to Dr Davies.

"The Stem Cell Research Day was an attempt to overcome this. By bringing together stem cell research expertise from across the University we wanted to raise awareness of differing areas of research and hopefully promote the development of cross-school interdisciplinary collaborations and help create a community of researchers with a range of expertise which can be shared," she added.

The inaugural event, hosted by The School of Dentistry, brought together undergraduate and postgraduate students and postdoctoral research associates in a series of discussions, talks and poster presentations.

The day also heard from a number of high-profile speakers including Professor Julie Daniels from the Institute of Ophthalmology at University College, London who discussed her latest research on creating a new stem cell therapy for the eye.

The University is already widely recognised for research into stem cells.

The University's President and Nobel Prize winner, Sir Martin Evans, was the first scientist to identify embryonic stem cells, which can be adapted for a wide variety of medical purposes. His discoveries are now being applied in virtually all areas of biomedicine – from basic research to the development of new therapies.

Expertise in cancer stem cell research also led to the creation of The European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute to help build on Cardiff University's existing strengths in basic science, in the development of new drugs and therapies, and in the planning and conduct of clinical trials. It attracts and nurtures international research talent in this field, from the most senior level to the most promising postgraduate students.

Highlighting the University's commitment to developing intellectual property and commercialisation of stem cell therapies the event was also addressed by staff from the University's Research and Commercial Division as well as Nick Sleep, Project Director of Progenteq, a Cardiff University spin out company formed by Fusion IP - the University's business management and investment partner IP commercialisation company, which turns world class research into business.

Dr Davies, who opened the day and plans to organise a similar event next year, added: "The event successfully brought together expertise from across the University – from dentistry, to medicine, to pharmacy, to optometry to biosciences.

"We hope it will help kick-start greater collaborations and build a Cardiff community of researchers with a range of expertise which can be shared."

The Cardiff University Stem Cell Research Day took place on Thursday 26th January at the Michael Griffith building, Heath Park Campus.

The event was sponsored by Miltenyi Biotec, VWR Jencons, PAA, Sera Laboratories International and the University's School of Dentistry.