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Internal News - 07 February 2006

Boost for regenerative medicine

The University of Bath’s Centre for Regenerative Medicine (CRM) has been successful in its bid for a major EU Marie Curie grant for early stage researcher training in regenerative medicine.

The bid, led by Dr Alan Wheals (Department of Biology and Biochemistry) and Professor Jonathan Slack (Director of the CRM), is for €1.2M from September 2006 for four years.

The funding will enable the CRM to recruit outstanding graduates from around the world to come to the University either to study for a three-year PhD or a one-year MRes programme, or to enable current PhD students registered elsewhere in the world to come for three-12 month research visits as part of their PhD thesis work.

The CRM is an interdisciplinary research centre with staff members drawn from the Departments of Biology & Biochemistry, Pharmacy & Pharmacology and Chemical Engineering.

The CRM aims to bring together research on stem cells, transdifferentiation and tissue engineering, underpinned by a good understanding of developmental biology.

The CRM was formed three years ago and has grown from its original seven members of staff to the current ten; two more are due to arrive later this year.

The CRM includes: Dr Paul De Bank, Dr Andrew Chalmers, Professor Julian Chaudhuri, Dr Marianne Ellis, Professor Michael Horrocks, Dr Robert Kelsh, Professor Jonathan Slack, Dr David Tosh, Dr Andrew Ward and Professor Melanie Welham, and will soon be joined by Dr William Wood and Dr Makoto Furutani-Seiki.

The CRM members between them currently have a grant portfolio of £6.6M, their labs include 44 researchers and PhD students, and since 2003 they have published 79 scientific papers.

The reputation of the Centre is such that it won funding two years ago from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council to support three studentships each year in a new MRes in Regenerative Medicine. It is the only such degree programme in the world and has been developed to cater for the interdisciplinary skills needed in the modern biosciences.

This new Marie Curie success is the second one involving the Department of Biology and Biochemistry. In the last Framework Programme the Department became a Marie Curie training site for microbial virulence.

This grant started in 2001 and will, when it finishes in August this year, have enabled 14 researchers from the EU and accession states to conduct research at the University.