Board Member

Prof Giulio CossuProfessor Giulio Cossu

Constance Thornley Professor of Regenerative Medicine
Professor Giulio Cossu’s University Profile

In collaboration with the M. Buckingham laboratory, Professor Cossu has elucidated the hierarchy of the different myogenic regulatory factors (Tajbakhsh et al. Cell 2007) and also identified unexpected expression of one of these factors, Myf5 in non-somitic progenitors such as the neuroectoderm (Tajbakhsh et al. Neuron 1994) and the lateral mesoderm (Salvatori et al. J. Cell Sci. 2005). These observations led to the identification of a bone-marrow derived, circulating myogenic progenitor cell in adult mice (Ferrari et al. Science 1998) whose embryonic precursors were later identified in the dorsal aorta (De Angelis et al. J Cell Biol. 1999). These cells, named mesoangioblasts, are able to proliferate in vitro and contribute to mesoderm tissues upon transplantation (Minasi et al. 2002). Mesoangioblasts were used for the first successful cell therapy protocols of muscular dystrophy in mice and dogs (Sampaolesi et al. Science 2003; Nature, 2006). After characterization of human mesoangioblasts as a subset of muscle pericytes (Dellavalle et al. Nature Cell Biol. 2007) whose lineage was traced in mice (Dellavalle et al. Nature Comm. 2011), these cells were used by GC for a “first in man” phase I/II clinical trial based upon allo-transplantation of donor mesoangioblasts from an HLA-identical donor in patients affected by Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Board Member

Professor Judith Hoyland

Professor Judith Hoyland

Professor of Molecular Pathology
Professor Judith Hoyland’s University Profile

Professor Hoyland’s research has focused on the development of modern molecular technologies for application to the pathological study of disease mechanisms in human “hard” tissues (cartilage, IVD, bone etc.). Currently her research group is applying these techniques to:

  • Investigate the cell and matrix biology of normal and diseased (degenerate) cervical and lumbar intervertebral discs (IVD) in order to develop clinically viable, novel cell based (adult stem cells) tissue engineering/ regenerative medicine therapies for the degenerate IVD.
  • Study adult mesenchymal stem cells (derived from bone marrow, adipose tissue and umbilical cord), their differentiation and regulation, and their interactions with novel biomaterials (including graphene based materials) for musculoskeletal tissue engineering strategies.
  • Define the molecular pathology of the regenerate “niche” in which tissue regeneration will occur.
  • Design and utilise ex-vivo models for exploration of cell function in normal, degenerate and tissue engineered tissue.

Through collaboration with several academics and colleagues with skills in biomaterial design (both in Manchester and external national and international institutions), clinicians and industrial partners members of her group are applying new knowledge gained from this research to develop unique strategies for regenerating the degenerate intervertebral disc and other musculoskeletal tissues (including bone and cartilage).


Professor Susan Kimberversion 2

Professor of Stem Cells and Development

Professor Susan Kimber’s University Profile

Professor Kimber has 25 years’ experience as a developmental biologist working on the early development of mammalian embryos. In the last 20 years, thirty of her almost 100 papers address issues of establishment of the blastocyst and the inner cell mass (ICM) the source of embryonic stem cells as well as the first differentiation of the embryonic stem cell population to trophectoderm or later the primary embryonic precursor cells (germ layers) in both murine and human embryos.

She is co-director of the North West Embryonic Stem Cell Centre (established 2006) jointly hosted by the University of Manchester (UoM), and Central Manchester NHS Trust (CMFT). NWESCC spans two sites, at St Mary’s Hospital [CMSF] and in the Core Technology Facility (UoM), and encompasses both clinical and academic expertise. The remit of the Centre (funded by NWDA and MRC) is to establish human embryonic stem (hES) cell lines under clean room conditions suitable for therapeutic use. Her group has published a number of papers addressing maintenance of pluripotency and are actively engaged in researching the mechanism by which hES cell pluripotency is maintained, including research projects on the hES cell niche. Importantly, research programmes also include understanding, and targeting, differentiation of these cells to endodermal lineages and to mesodermal lineages most successfully to chondrogenic cells, which form cartilage.


Professor Adrian Woolf

Chair in Paediatric Sciencea WOOLF
Professor Adrian Woolf’s University Profile

Professor Adrian Woolf currently holds a Chair in Paediatric Science in the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences at the University of Manchester and is an Honorary Consultant in Paediatric Nephrology in the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

In 1998, he was established an academic centre for Nephrology and Urology at the UCL Institute of Child Health, London, which he headed until the end of 2009. From 2006-2009 Professor Woolf also undertook a clinic at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, focusing on renal tract malformations, which had an impact on diagnosis of these conditions and genetic counselling. With clinical genetics and adult nephrology colleagues, he established a similar clinic in the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital in 2010. In 2012, he established another clinic, in St Mary’s Hospital, to assess adults with a family history of kidney disease.

The main research aim of Professor Woolf’s research is to find out why people are sometimes born with abnormal kidneys, ureters and bladders, as these are the main causes of children needing long term renal dialysis and kidney transplantation. He is also working on translational therapies, including those based on growth factors and precursor cells, for kidney, bladder and, more recently, neural disease.  His research and development work unites speciality clinical services with new perspectives from Developmental, Cell Biology and Genomic sciences. He has published 138 original research publications and supervised clinical and science students leading to 15 PhD, three MD, one MRes, two MSc and one MPhil awarded theses.

Board Member

Professor Enrique Amaya

A AmayaProfessor of Tissue Regeneration
Professor Enrique Amaya’s University Profile

As an undergraduate at the University of North Carolina, Professor Amaya studied the structure and function of centromeres in Saccharomyces cerevisiae under the supervision of Professor Kerry Bloom. After graduating in 1986, he joined the University of California at San Francisco and studied the role of fibroblast growth factor in early Xenopus development in the laboratory of Professor Marc Kirschner. In 1993, he joined the lab of Professor Raymond Keller as a postdoc studying cell interactions patterning the vertebrate embryo. Enrique moved to the UK in 1996 to become a group leader at the Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute at Cambridge University, where his lab conducted research on the signals that organise the vertebrate embryo. In 2005 Enrique accepted the position of Healing Foundation Chair of Tissue Regeneration and set up the The Healing Foundation Centre at the University of Manchester in 2006.  His lab studies growth factor signalling, morphogenesis, wound healing and regeneration.

Bio-materials Advisor

Dr Alberto Saiani

Professor Alberto Saiani

Professor of Molecular Materials
Dr Alberto Saiani’s University profile

Dr. Alberto Saiani’s research focuses on the characterisation of polymer and biopolymer materials across the length scales and in particular on the understanding of the chemical architecture – thermodynamic – structure – physical property correlations in complex polymeric systems, using state of the art techniques which include neutron and X-ray small angle scattering on large scale facilities. His work encompasses a variety of polymeric materials including protein and peptide hydrogels as well as polyurethanes and polyureas elastomers and nanoparticules.

He has recently extended his activities into the creation of 3 dimensional hydrogel scaffolds from the self-assembly of de novo designed short peptides. These scaffolds have been further functionalised by conjugating the peptides to pH and temperature responsive polymers.


Board Member

Dr Rachel Taylor (Gillespie)

PhD, MRC/ UK Research & Innovation Fellow, Evolutions and Genomics
Dr Rachel Taylor’s University profile


Board Member

Dr Natalie Gardiner

Director for Social Responsibility for School of Medical Sciences
Dr Natalie Gardiner’s University profile