Healthcare Engineering Research Group
The overall theme of this cross disciplinary translational research group is the design, manufacture and exploitation of current and next generation medical technologies.
The groups focus is on cell and tissue based therapies, in vitro diagnostics and the growth of SME’s.
The groups activity is centred on the University’s Centre for Biological Engineering, a state-of-the-art research facility based on the campus. The group has been placed at the forefront of a number of high profile developments in regenerative medicine research.
September 2008 saw the launch of the Doctoral Training Centre in Regenerative Medicine at Loughborough in collaboration with the Universities of Nottingham and Keele. This £6million project has sought to equip more than 50 PhD students with cutting-edge skills to excel at the life science/engineering interface through a four-year integrated research programme.
In 2010 the group secured leadership of the national £5.3million EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Regenerative Medicine, again in collaboration with Nottingham and Keele Universities.
Further successes in 2013 have included a stake in the Pluripotent Stem Cell Platform(PSCP), part of the joint BBSRC, EPSRC and MRC £25million UK Regenerative Medicine Platform, working alongside a large consortium to exploit advances in PSC biology for the development of regenerative medicine; and securing funding from the Wellcome Trust to collaborate with an existing consortium seeking to produce red blood cells in the laboratory. The expanded consortium is currently seeking additional funding to translate this latter research from bench to bedside.
In April 2013 the group signed an MOU with the Cell Therapy Catapult to work together on innovative manufacturing.
Two members of the group have secured EPSRC Fellowships. Prof Nicholas Medcalf has an EPSRC Manufacturing Fellowship of just under £900k for research into the development of a manufacturing research framework for regenerative medicine. Dr Robert Thomas has an EPSRC Early Career Fellowship of £1.3million to develop tools to manufacture large quantities of medically valuable cells from umbilical cord blood.
- EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Regenerative Medicine
- EPSRC Doctoral Training Centre in Regenerative Medicine
- The Establishment and Validation of a Regulated Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Facility for Knowledge Transfer in Cell Therapy Manufacturing and Process Development
- Development of a novel cell cryopreservation platform technology for the successful banking of human cells: using amphipathic polymers for human cell preservation
- Blood Pharming
- Developing a standardised manufacturing process for the clinical-scale production of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) (See Student Profiles, 2008, Qasim Rafiq) remedi, the ‘Regenerative Medicine – A New Industry’ Grand Challenge.