The Wolfson Centre for Stem Cells, Tissue Engineering and Modelling (STEM) officially opened at the UK’s University of Nottingham last Friday. The multidisciplinary research centre will provide a focal point for collaborative efforts in pure and applied stem cell science in the UK, as well as offering the world’s first taught master’s course in stem cell technology.

The centre was set up with £4 million in funding from, among others, the Wolfson Foundation, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust and the Health and Safety Laboratory. It is based in Nottingham University’s flagship £25 million Centre for Biomolecular Sciences, which opened in May.

The STEM centre will draw on the expertise of biologists from the university’s School of Human Development, tissue engineers from the School of Pharmacy and mathematical. modellers from the School of Mathematical Sciences. More than 70 researchers will work on generating bone, brain and heart tissue to treat patients with currently incurable conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease or stroke, as well as increasing the understanding of diseases and the drugs that may address them.

“STEM will provide a single location for stem cell biologists, engineers, mathematicians and clinicians to collaborate on the pure science that is the foundation of stem cell research and the translation into clinical benefits,” said the centre’s director, Professor Lorraine Young. “Our strong links with industrial partners and the National Health Service will ensure that our developments can bring future benefits to patients.”

From October 2007 the centre will run the world’s first MSc in Stem Cell Technology, a joint initiative between Nottingham University’s Schools of Human Development and Pharmacy.