International regenerative medicine expert joins University
26 Jul 2013
The University of Manchester has made a major new appointment in the field of Regenerative Medicine.
Professor Giulio Cossu, a leading regenerative medicine expert and former Director of the Division of Regenerative Medicine at the San Raffaele Scientific Institute of Milan, joins the University of Manchester from University College London. He is famous world-wide for his work on cellular therapies for muscular dystrophy. Professor Cossu will become the new Constance Thornley Chair in Regenerative Medicine at the University, and will lead a major new initiative in regenerative medicine.
During his career Professor Cossu, who is clinically trained, has worked on stem cells and embryology. His group has been working for a number of years on the cellular signals and mechanisms that regulate the formation of skeletal muscle during embryonic development – studying the cell biology of tissue formation and regeneration, as a tool to unravel the cellular basis of human diseases. His research is developing new ways to treat muscular dystrophies, inherited disorders that gradually cause the muscles to weaken. and he has developed a cell therapy protocol that has recently been tested in a “first in man” phase I/II clinical trial for this disease.
Professor Cossu leads collaborations with clinicians across the UK and Europe. While keeping his ongoing collaborations at San Raffaele and UCL, he will continue and develop his research into rebuilding musculoskeletal tissues at Manchester. “The thing that really impressed me about Manchester is this feeling that things are happening,” Professor Cossu said. “There’s a real buzz and new projects are being developed. You do get the feeling that things are moving – there’s a drive to make things happen; there are spectacular facilities and an exiting research environment which I’m looking forward to being a part of.”
Professor Ian Jacobs, University Vice-President and Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, said: “Giulio's recruitment is a key step forward for us in developing a world-class Centre for Tissue Regeneration Centre. Giulio will be a catalyst for major new regenerative medicine advances in Manchester. He has a fantastic track record of high quality research in this area and will lead research partnerships which will in due course lead to major benefits for patients. We are also immensely grateful to an alumnus, Tony Thornley and his wife Gillian who are generously supporting this Chair.”
The new appointee will work closely with the Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research, the Manchester Academic Health Science (MAHSC); a partnership between the University and six leading NHS Trusts), and the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix Research at the University of Manchester which pursues advances in the understanding of extracellular matrix biology and its contribution to human diseases.
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