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UK National Stem Cell Network names first Steering Committee

14 December 2006

The UK National Stem Cell Network (UKNSCN) has appointed the members of its first Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will direct the early operation of the Network, which has been set up following the recommendations of the 2005 Pattison Report of the UK Stem Cell Initiative.

The Network has appointed Lord Naren Patel of Dunkeld as the first chair of its Steering Committee, which will include seven other members:

  • Professor Sir Martin Evans FRS, University of Cardiff
  • Professor Jon Frampton, University of Birmingham
  • Dr Chris Mason FRCS, University College London
  • Professor Roger Pedersen, University of Cambridge
  • Professor Dame Julia Polak, Imperial College London
  • Professor Brian Salter, University of East Anglia
  • Professor Michael Whitaker FIBiol FMedSci, University of Newcastle

Full biographies are available below.

The Steering Committee will meet quarterly for the first two years of the UKNSCN.

Lord Patel said: “When it launches next year the UK National Stem Cell Network will coordinate the UK scientific effort in stem cell science. I am pleased to welcome the experienced and respected scientists who have been appointed to the Steering Committee by their peers in the UK stem cell community. Their expertise and skills will be crucial to the success of the network in its early years.”

The UKNSCN will be formally launched in early 2007 and will then aim to coordinate existing stem cell research activities in the UK. Through sharing of expertise and technology it will become the focal point for communication about stem cell research to the public and industry. The Network will also be the national voice of stem cell science to policy makers as well as acting as the main initial point of contact for overseas researchers and promoting the uptake and use of stem cells by scientific, business and medical communities.

ENDS

Notes to editors

The UKNSCN Steering Committee has been appointed on the basis of nominations from members of the UK research community, together with important considerations of specific scientific expertise in certain types of stem cell, and UK geographic representation. The Chair has been appointed for the first two years, whilst members have been appointed for one year only with the possibility of extension to two years. In order to maintain effective coordination of the UK research effort in stem cells and to ensure the Steering Committee is representative of the UK stem cell community the membership of the Steering Committee may be rotated. Members of the Committee (including the Chair) do not receive honoraria.

The UKNSCN is the UK stem cell research community’s response to recommendation 10 of the 2005 Pattison Report on the UK Stem Cell Initiative. Pattison called for the establishment of a UK Stem Cell Cooperative to “maximise the cross-fertilisation between those involved in the sub-disciplines of UK stem cell research”. Following an online consultation and a town meeting in summer 2006 the community agreed the establishment of the UKNSCN for an initial period of two years and agreed its initial activities.

Steering Committee Member Biographies

Lord (Naren) Patel of Dunkeld
Lord Naren Patel is Professor and Consultant at the University of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee.  Born in Tanzania he graduated in medicine at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, in 1964. He is currently Chairman of the United Kingdom Stem Cell Oversight Committee and Chairman of the National Patient Safety Agency of the United Kingdom and Chancellor of the University of Dundee.  Previously he has held the position of Chairman of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges of Scotland and the United Kingdom; member of the Council of the General Medical Council and Academy of Medical Sciences and was Chairman of the Genetic Advisory Committee of the Medical Research Council of the United Kingdom. He was awarded a Knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 1997 and was made a life Peer with the title of Baron Patel of Dunkeld in Perth and Kinross in the Queen’s New Years Honours List in 1999.  He has been a member of the Scientific and Technology Committee of the House of Lords since 1999 and is a patron of several charities and a Board Member of several others.

Professor Sir Martin Evans FRS
Sir Martin Evans is Professor of Mammalian Genetics of Cardiff University, Fellow of the Royal Society and Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. After graduating from Cambridge in 1963 he decided on a career studying the genetic control of vertebrate development and undertook research for his PhD at University College London in the department of Anatomy and Embryology. He was the first to maintain mouse teratocarcinoma stem cells in tissue culture under conditions where their ability to differentiate was retained indefinitely. In 1981 after his return to Cambridge that together with Matt Kaufman he was able to isolate similar cells from normal mouse embryos.  These cells which became known as “Embryonic Stem Cells” (ES cells) were able to be used to fully regenerate fertile breeding mice from the tissue culture cells and that these could therefore carry mutations introduced and selected or screened for in culture. This is now the basis for experimental mammalian genetics  - of mouse knockout and targetted genetic manipulation. Sir Martin received the Lasker award in 2001 and was knighted in 2004 for services to Medical Science.

Professor Jon Frampton
For almost two decades Professor Frampton has been investigating the molecular mechanisms controlling blood stem cells in the bone marrow.  After obtaining a doctorate in Cambridge he carried out research in Glasgow, Heidelberg and Oxford before his appointment in 2004 as Professor of Stem Cell Biology at the University of Birmingham. 

Dr Chris Mason FRCS
Originally trained as a surgeon, Dr Mason now heads up the Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Bioprocessing Unit in the Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering, UCL. Chris is also involved in a number of committees, networks, scientific advisory boards, editorial boards, working groups and initiatives related to the academic, clinical and commercial advancement of regenerative medicine.

Professor Roger Pedersen
Professor Pedersen received degrees in biology from Stanford (A.B, 1965) and Yale (PhD, 1970) and did postdoctoral work at Johns Hopkins. In 1971, he joined the University of California, San Francisco, where he studied developmental potency and fate in mammalian embryos. In 2001 he moved to become Director of Centre for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine at the University of Cambridge, where he continues his research on human embryonic stem cells as Professor of Regenerative Medicine.

Professor Dame Julia Polak
Professor Polak graduated in Buenos Aires, Argentina and obtained her postgraduate training in the UK. She became Professor and the Director of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Centre, Imperial College in 1997.  She is a member of the Stem Cell Advisory Board Panel of the joint MRC/UKSCF, Panel of the new EPSRC Peer Review College (2006 – 2009), Panel of the MRC College of Experts (2006 – 2010) and Steering Group of the UK Stem Cell Immunology Programme (March 2006).  She is a council member of the Tissue Engineering Society International and the Academy of Medical Sciences (2002 – 2005) and was also European Editor of Tissue Engineering (up until 2004). She is the author of more than 1000 original papers, 127 review articles and Editor/Author of 25 books and is one of the most Highly Cited Researchers inher field.   She is a co-founder and Director of a spin out company, Novathera, dealing with Regenerative Medicine Products.  She has received a number of honours and won a number of prizes. She was made Dame Commander of the British Empire (DBE) in 2003.

Professor Brian Salter
Professor Salter is Professor of Biopolitics and Director of the Global Biopolitics Research Group in the Institute of Health at the University of East Anglia. A political scientist specialising in the analysis of public policy, his work focuses on the global politics and governance of new health technologies.

Professor Michael Whitaker FIBiol FMedSci

Professor Whitaker has a background and international reputation in physiology, biochemistry, cell and developmental biology and reproduction. He has long-standing links with the Wellcome Trust and has served on the boards of a number of companies and learned societies in the life science sector. He has recently established the Northeast England Institute Stem Cell Institute (NESCI) as a joint venture between Durham and Newcastle Universities.

About the UK National Stem Cell Network

The UK National Stem Cell Network is designed to act as a network of the existing regional stem cell networks in the UK, to bring coordination and coherence to a range of national and regional activities in the field of stem cell research.

The UKNSCN secretariat is currently hosted by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) on behalf of the UK’s public funders of stem cell research. The secretariat receives financial support from four of the UK Research Councils:

  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
  • Economic and Social Research Council
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
  • Medical Research Council

The Network represents all UK Government supporters of stem cell research which includes the sponsors and the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils, the Department of Health, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Office of Science and Innovation.

Contact

Matt Goode, Head of External Relations

tel: 01793 413299
fax: 01793 413382

Tracey Jewitt, Media Officer

tel: 01793 414694
fax: 01793 413382