Tissue Engineering – Dr. Felicity Rose – 26/3/12

26th March 2012

Today we’re talking to Dr. Felicity Rose about her work on tissue engineering.  Her work uses tissue engineering to generate models for studying diseases, such as asthma.

Felicity works with her team to build ‘living’ models of the human asthmatic lung (and healthy tissue for comparison) that can be used to understand this disease and test new drugs.

Mouse embryonic stem cellsMouse embryonic stem cells

To do this you need two things, a scaffold and something to fill it. Usually scaffolds can be built from a variety of things such as collagen or synthetic polymers (such as used in Nottingham).

As to what they fill them with, the simple answer is stem cells!

There are different types of stem cells, adult, embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells. No I don’t know what they are either, which is why we’ll be asking Felicity about them!

However, Felicity doesn’t just work with stem cells, but also looks at mucosal tissue work and bone healing.

Athena SWANAthena SWAN

Also this week, we are taking a look at Women in Science Engineering and Tecnology (WINSET). Felicity is part of the Athena SWAN organisation (http://www.athenaswan.org.uk) which recognises and celebrates good employment practice for women working in science, engineering and technology in higher education and research.

The University of Nottingham currently holds a Bronze medal but several of its departments such as Pharmacy and Biosciences have been awarded departmental Silver medals.

Science in the News this week takes a look at the International Space Station, Electroconvulsive therapy and something else. Stay tuned! Schematic diagram of the human eyeSchematic diagram of the human eye

Felicity is working on corneas, this is the outer part of your eye and it is the most at risk area of your eye. By using stem cells and scaffold for those stem cells they can grow replacements for damaged corneas. It’s not as easy as that though! Many different chemicals and processes are needed to get cells to do what we want them to.

If you break your arm, usually it will repair itself. However if you are unlucky enough to experience a severe enough accident and your bones need pinning and won’t heal properly stems cells can be used to help the healing process.

Athena SWAN is about good working practice and they look at why women tend not to continue on in science as much as men do. A good example is something such as council meetings at universities or board meetings, Athena SWAN want to try and reduce the amount of these meetings happening outside core hours (10am-3pm). This doesn’t just affect women but men with children as well.

Anne McLaren Fellowships are something that the University of Nottingham started in the early 2000’s and the university has been awarding them since. It’s a scheme to support post doctorate science students to establish their own academic careers! Felicity actually won one of the very first ones!

Student Science

This week in Student Science, George and Davs took a different look at the age old reaction of coke and mentos. They’ll be letting you know if it’s worth converting your car to run on cola instead of on petrol!

Human ear on a mouseHuman ear on a mouse

A good example of Tiessue Engineering is the ear that was grown on the back of a mouse! Grotesque as it sounds this was the project of Dr. Charles Vacanti of the University of Massachusetts with the assistance of Dr. Linda Griffith-Cima from MIT.

This was grown in 1997, they grew a human ear from cartilage cells the back of a mouse. It caused outrage among animal rights and pro-life groups.

Science in the News

Electroconvulsive therapy gets a bad rep because of One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest but it does actually work really well. http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/03/20/us-depression-brain-ect-idUKBRE82J0SH20120320

Robot jellyfish: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17444008

ISS crew take to escape capsules in space junk alert http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17497766