Ground breaking research for people living life-threatening conditions
Scientists from Heriot-Watt together with their counterparts in St Andrews and Stanford universities are to work together on new medical research that could lead to major breakthroughs for people living with life-threatening conditions.
Dr Thomas Baer receiving his Doctorate of Science from Heriot-Watt in recognition of his contributions to optical research
The research has the potential to regenerate damaged tissue and repair injuries caused by heart attacks, spinal cord injuries and brain injury caused by stroke or Parkinson's disease. It is part of the Scottish Universities/Stanford University (SU2P) programme.
The Heriot-Watt and St Andrews teams will work with research groups at Stanford to examine how stem cells grow and divide and how they change shape to form different types of tissue. It combines expertise in microfluidics from Heriot-Watt University and microscopic laser surgery of single cells and image analysis computer software from the University of St. Andrews with Stanford expertise in stem cell science, regenerative medicine, and optical instrumentation design.
First Minister Alex Salmond heard details during a visit to Stanford University, on the final day of his four day trade mission to the United States. Mr Salmond said: "This research has the potential to lead to incredible medical breakthroughs that could not only give new hope to millions but contribute enormously to the economies of both Scotland and California.
"The SU2P programme, of which this new research is part, is an excellent example of how we can harness our own country's talents and work in collaboration with international partners to achieve more than the sum of our parts."
Through the SU2P programme our Scottish collaborators are following the formula that has proven so successful at Stanford and in Silicon Valley: combining the intellectual resources found at leading Universities with the innovation and entrepreneurial ethos found in early stage companiesProfessor Tom Baer, Executive Director of the Stanford Photonics Research Centre
Dr Thomas Baer, Executive Director of the Stanford Photonics Research Center (SPRC), who was awarded recently a Doctorate of Science from Heriot-Watt, said:
"Through the SU2P programme our Scottish collaborators are following the formula that has proven so successful at Stanford and in Silicon Valley: combining the intellectual resources found at leading Universities with the innovation and entrepreneurial ethos found in early stage companies. Translating advances in the life sciences into medical practice and transforming cutting-edge technologies into ground-breaking diagnostic tools have been major focuses of stem cell research and applied physics activities at Stanford. The SU2P programme will build on these Stanford strengths and the pioneering work in stem cell science that have been the hallmark of medical research in Scotland."
The SU2P programme actively encourages links with business to turn scientific advances into commercial advantage for Scotland and California. Technology development supported in part by the SU2P collaboration has already resulted in the launch of a venture funded company in the area of reproductive medicine, key patented inventions, as well as a recently awarded grant of $5M US from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to explore applications, particularly in the area of women's health.