- Centre for Regenerative Medicine


Dr Emma Lawrence
Postgraduate Administrator
Department of Biology and Biochemistry
University of Bath
Claverton Down

Tel: 01225 385047
Email: biosci-pgt@bath.ac.uk



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Marie Curie Early Stage Training Fellows


Giulia Meneghello (Oct 2006 to Sep 2009)

Supervisors: Dr. Paul De Bank and Dr. Marianne Ellis

GMThe major aim of the my project is to differentiate human mesenchymal stem cells into hepatocytes within a hollow fibre membrane bioreactor by means of the appropriate growth factors necessary for liver regeneration.  A single hollow fibre bioreactor module has been designed and employed for this project, in order to reproduce the mathematical model of the Krogh’s cylinder and mimic the dynamic environment that the cells would experience in vivo. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) will be seeded on the outer surface of the hollow fibre and growth factors will continuously circulate inside the fibre's lumen. By permeating across the pores of the membrane, the growth factors will act on the MSCs and induce their differentiation. The hollow fibres employed for the project are made of poly-lactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA), a synthetic biomaterial widely used in tissue engineering for its biocompatibility, biodegradability and FDA approval. Due to its hydrophobic character, poor mass transfer of nutrients across the fibre was observed when pure PLGA hollow fibres were employed. Therefore in this project, PLGA was blended with a hydrophilic polymer, polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), in order to improve hydrophilicity and mass transfer properties of PLGA and also cell attachment to the scaffold.

Poster presentations and talks:

1. 1st Marie Curie Nanomemcourse, Zaragoza, Spain, November 2007. Travel grant award. Poster presentation
2. Tissue and Cell Engineering Society meeting, Nottingham, July 2008. Poster presentation
3. 3rd international conference in tissue engineering, Rhodes, Greece, September 2008. Travel grant award. Short oral presentation and poster.
4. Tissue engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society North America conference and exposition, San Diego, USA, December 2008. Poster presentation
5. First Annual CRM Symposium, Bath, UK, June 2009. Oral presentation.


1. Meneghello, G., Parker, D.J., Ainsworth, B.J., Pererab, S.P., Chaudhuri, J.B., Ellis, M.J. and De Bank, P.A. Fabrication and characterization of poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid)/poly(vinyl alcohol) blended hollow fibre membranes for tissue engineering applications. Journal of Membrane Science 344, 55-61 (2009).


Asha Recino (Feb 2007 to Feb 2010)

Supervisors: Dr. Andrew Chalmers and Dr. Andrew Ward

ARCell proliferation and survival must be tightly regulated to allow normal tissue growth and to prevent cancer formation. My group identified RASSF7 as a new protein that is required for both cell proliferation and survival. It is part of the N terminal (NT) RASSF subfamily, which represents a distinct and evolutionary conserved group of Ras association domain containing proteins that are RASSF7, RASSF8, RASSF9 and RASSF10. Although their biological function is still unclear, at least some of these proteins may play a role in controlling cell division and oncogenesis. Therefore, the study of this family may be particularly interesting also for understanding its potential involvement in tumour progression. We are focusing on RASSF7, which has been characterized as a novel cellular component in Xenopus embryos and whose deficiency provokes cell mitotic arrest and ultimately cell death. We are now analysing the function of human RASSF7 to establish what role it plays in cell growth.

Poster presentations and talks:

1. “RASSF7 is required for completing mitosis”, Genes and Cancer Meeting, University of Warwick, UK, 2007. Poster presentation.
2. “The N Terminal RASSF proteins: a new family of mitotic regulators", Research Conference, University of Bath, UK, 2008. Poster presentation (first prize award).
3. “RASSF7: a new possible therapeutic cancer target?”, First International RASSF symposium, Banff, Canada, 2009. Poster presentation.
4. “RASSF7: a new regulator of cell proliferation?”, First Annual CRM Symposium, Bath, UK, June 2009. Oral presentation.


Bejamin Kumpfmueller (Feb 2007 to Jan 2010)

Supervisors: Prof. Julian Chaudhuri and Prof. Melanie Welham

Kumpfmueller_Benjamin Embryonic stem (ES) cells have the remarkable ability to differentiate into all cells comprising the three germ layers of the developing embryo. It is this pluripotency that makes them attractive for use in regenerative medicine. However, in order to harness this potential, we must understand the molecular mechanisms regulating the ability of ES cells to self-renew and thereby generate identical pluripotent daughter ES cells. We have previously described a requirement for PI3K signalling in maintaining self-renewal of murine ES (mES) cells. To identify molecular mechanisms involved in regulating mES cell self-renewal downstream of PI3K signalling, an affymetrix microarray screen was carried out. The aim of this project is to identify novel regulator genes involved in maintaining ES cell fate downstream of PI3Ks. RNAi studies targeting genes of interest elucidated a functional role of the Zscan4 gene family. Currently genetic and pharmacological tools are being used to study the regulation and mode of action of Zscan4. This study will contribute to the greater understanding of mES cells and furthermore this gained knowledge is likely to be transferable to human ES cells.

Poster presentations and talks:

1. “Microarray analysis of gene expression changes preceding loss of self-renewal: identification and functional analysis of phosphoinositide 3-kinase dependent signalling components”, EMBL Conference on Functional Genomics with Embryonic Stem Cells, Heidelberg, Germany, November 2007. Poster presentation.
2. “Identification of effectors downstream of PI3K signalling involved in maintaining mES cell self-renewal”, UKNSCN Inaugural Scientific Conference, Edinburgh, UK, April 2008. Poster presentation.
3. “Identification of novel phosphoinositide 3-kinase-dependent signalling components involved in maintaining mES cell pluripotency by gene expression profiling”, ESTOOLS Winter School Saariselka, Lapland, Finland, January 2009. Poster presentation.
4. “Microarray analysis uncovers self-renewal related signaling in mouse embryonic stem cells downstream of PI3Ks”, First Annual CRM Symposium, Bath, UK, June 2009. Oral presentation.
5. “Microarray analysis uncovers self-renewal related signaling in mouse embryonic stem cells downstream of PI3Ks”, The Genetics Society 3rd Mammalian Genetics, Development and Disease Meeting, Bath, UK, July 2009. Oral presentation.
6. “Defining the PI3K-dependent transcriptome in murine ES cells: Identification of Zscan4c as a novel regulator of pluripotency”, ISSCR 7th Annual Meeting, Barcelona, Spain, July 2009. Poster presentation.


1. Storm, M.P., Kumpfmueller, B., Thompson, B., Kolde, R/, Vilo, J., Hummel, O., Schulz, H. and Welham, M.J. Characterisation of the PI3K-dependent transcriptome in murine ES cells: Identification of novel regulators of pluripotency. Stem Cells 27, 764-75 (2009).


Michael Buchholz (Aug 2007 to Aug 2010)

Supervisors: Dr. David Tosh, Prof. Julian Chaudhuri and Dr. Marianne Ellis

MBCreation of bioartificial tissue from cells using tissue engineering and cell culture approaches has the potential to solve the problem of organ shortages for creating bioartifical tissues. One challenge for creating bioartifical liver tissue is to obtain a suitable source of cells. One promising approach is to use the conversion of one cell type into another via a process termed transdifferentiation. Pancreatic cells can be induced to convert to hepatocytes using addition of glucocorticoid.  The next step is to place the cells in a three-dimensional structure.  To help cells to form a three-dimensional tissue it is often necessary to provide an adequate scaffold. In my project, I will use biodegradable poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) scaffolds to grow transdifferentiated hepatocytes. To complement this research, I also plan to determine the glucocorticoid receptor interacting partners.

Poster presentations and talks:

1. “The role of the glucocorticoid receptor in the transdifferentiation of pancreatic cells to hepatocytes.", Research Conference, University of Bath, UK, 2008. Poster presentation.

2. “The sensitive role of glucocorticoid receptor in pancreas to liver transdifferentiation.”, First Annual CRM Symposium, Bath, UK, June 2009. Oral presentation.