IKEA At Home with Life Sciences – or – the College at IKEA

Last Saturday some of us went to IKEA Braehead Glasgow for the exciting ‘at home with life sciences‘ outreach event. Most of the public not expecting us and the amount of people at IKEA made this event rather special and a lot of fun. Some of us went there as CeMi to talk about our work in bone repair strategies and some as part of the IMCSB crew where it was all about cells, mitochondria, humans, flies & bones.

Dr Mathis Riehle was in the middle of it all, answering questions, drawing and doodling as usual, and having time for the compulsory smørebrød, köttboller coffee and cinnamon bun. He shares his thoughts on the experience here:

#MVLSatIkea was it like OUTREACH instead of outreach? Not really – yes this event was different as IKEAs exhibition hosts a constant stream of the unsuspecting, who would actually have come to get a new bit or a whole kitchen, sofa, table, chairs or soft furnishings; yes this was different as the sheer number of people passing by was staggering; yes this was different, because here people came not knowing that they would encounter scientists who wanted to show off their discoveries or communicate insights.

The thematic chosen by the Institute:  “At Home by Our Cells” covered the breadth of work ongoing.  As part of the MVLS wide effort, which strung along the exhibition and the food court we got an open plan ‘living room’ with dining table and sofa to occupy – which we did with 6-8 of us present at any given time. To get people to engage we used large visually and haptically interesting props such as a 1/4 size human model where internal organs could be removed and put back together again as well as jigsaws and fluorescent flies.

Over the day we had about 60-80 engaged visitors as well as others who would test the sofa or table we used in the room (‘well that looks sturdy’). Although you would focus on the person/s that you interacted with – the constant stream of ‘others’ passing made for an intense day. Initially I stayed with a jigsaw and whilst kids would try to reassemble the cell or the mitochondrion I would talk to them and their parents about some science tidbits to do with these (powerhouse of the cells, you; maternal inheritance, …). What was interesting were the number that were genuinely interested and some amazing ‘know it all kids’. In the afternoon I moved to look after the human assembly and disassembly line and tied in with others who looked after a bone biology and repair exhibit. I really liked the more outgoing aspect, that you were not necessarily only talking to those people who are already interested and who made an effort to come, but also to those who just had a bit of spare time whilst actually hunting for new bits for their home. Really lovely to see all the interested kids of all ages looking at the exhibits and following the explanations enraptured.

The other exhibits which made an impact on me were the CSI style investigation of ’there’s been a murder’ with bloodied outline of a person in a small cubicle room and kids with tiny lab coats and big safety glasses experimenting to find out ‘who’d done it’. Another interesting setup was a on sleeping pattern and other inherited behavioural traits – where peoples sleeping pattern was analysed and used as ‘hook’ to get them ‘in’ to the bedroom to talk about the science.

Overall it was a very nice event – although when I was picked up I was a captured audience and had to walk the exhibition – again – but with a different purpose…. ‘Now that sofa looks nice…’


Video abstract for our recent bacteria bio-interfaces paper on Advanced Materials

Co-culture of human cells and L. lactic bacteria producing recombinant human ECM protein fragments. Image by Aleixandre Rodrigo-Navarro and Jake Hay

video abstract of our recent paper published on the journal Advanced Materials is now available on youtube.

Bacteria‐Based Materials for Stem Cell Engineering” reports our latest progress in our living biointerfaces line of research. Jake, Alex and the rest of the team utilise genetically modified non-pathogenic bacteria to control and direct stem cell biology!

events, Uncategorized

Shortlisted! THE Awards 2018, Research Project of the Year: STEM category

We have been shortlisted for the Times Higher Education Awards 2018 with our FABW funded project for bone repair technologies. We are in the Research Project of the Year: STEM category. The award ceremony is scheduled for the 29th of November in London.

More details about the shortlisting and the project in this blog post in our funder’s website.

Follow the story in Twitter too!


Prof Salmeron-Sanchez talks at the University of Iceland on cell biomimetic microenvironments

Prof Manuel Salmeron-Sanchez will deliver a talk titled Engineering the cellular microenvironment next Wednesday 23rd of May in Reykjavik, Iceland, as speaker in the International workshop on advanced materials for healthcare applications

This international workshop takes place at the University of Iceland this week and gathers researchers from multidisciplinary domains on the use of advanced materials in distinct biomedical fields, including diagnosis/imaging, medical devices, nanobiomaterials, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, drug delivery or bioengineering applications.


UKRI Rutherford Fund Fellowship awarded to postdoctoral researcher in our lab

Dr Marco Cantini, currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for the Cellular Microenviroment, has been awarded an MRC UKRI Rutherford Fund Fellowship to develop Engineered microenvironments to harvest stem cell response to viscosity for cartilage repair.

This fellowship is part of the National Productivity Investment Fund investment in UKRI Innovation and Rutherford Fund Fellowships, awarded by the MRC in alignment with the UK Regenerative Medicine Platform (UK RMP) initiative. As such, the science of Dr Cantini’s proposal has been judged to align to the aims of the UK’s Industrial Strategy, within the context of excellence in medical sciences.


Media coverage of our bone regeneration tech

Highlights of the media impact of our recent successful bone regeneration trial on a veterinary patient

Led by the excellent PR team at Find a Better Way, we had quite a lot of media impact during 2017, with coverage of our bone regeneration trial on a veterinary patient at the Small Animal Hospital at the University of Glasgow. Highlights in December were the BBC News Channel interviews, the Radio 4 PM interview with Eddie Maer, and Lou McGrath’s appearance on Radio Scotland. Below we’ve put together a list of the coverage we are aware of, mostly on December 29th and 30th:

  • Several BBC News Channel clips (radio prerecorded package followed by interviews with Matt, William, and Fiona & Eva – the last of these interviews was run as a recording several times more).
  • BBC News at Six (BBC One) clip (radio prerecorded package, which also ran during the News at Ten)
  • Radio 4 World at One – Interview with Matt
  • Radio 4 PM – Prerecorded interview with Matt (from World at One) plus live interviews with Fiona and Stuart.
  • Radio 5 Live – New prerecorded interview with Matt
  • Radio Scotland – live interview with Lou
  • BBC Radio 4 6 O’Clock News – radio pre recorded package
  • World Service Newshour – prerecorded interview with Stuart
  • Radio 4 World Tonight – last item in the news bulletin, included clip from Matt
  • Radio Wales, on the morning of 30 Dec, new prerecorded interview with Matt
  • BBC World – Manuel’s and Lou’s interviews.
  • BBC news bulletins on R1, R2, or R3 – several snippets
  • CBS news (USA) – radio prerecorded package


More info and links to clips also in this post in the FABW site

Earlier in during the summer the recovery of Eva after her surgery was already reported by several media sources, some of them clipped below: