Faculty of Biological Sciences

Research Bulletin

Medical engineering pioneers' Royal prize

28th November 2011

Longer-lasting hip joints, replacement heart valves and knee reconstructions - technologies all developed at the University of Leeds - have won the Royal seal of approval.

Two decades of world-leading medical engineering research and impact have been rewarded with the Queen's Anniversary Prize, which is the country's highest accolade for an academic institution.

The Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (IMBE) at Leeds was named today as a winner in the prizes, which will be presented by the Queen in February.

The Institute, led by Professor John Fisher and the Faculty of Biological Science's Professor Eileen Ingham, is the UK's leading bioengineering research institution and has pioneered research into joint replacements, spinal interventions and tissue engineering and has created new products and therapies which are in use by surgeons in clinics and hospitals around the world:

  • Tens of thousands of people have received improved joint replacements based on this research;
  • Its unique valve replacement technology has given a new lease of life to patients who were suffering chronic heart conditions;
  • It has pioneered regenerative biological scaffolds for vascular repair.

Building on this platform of excellence, the Institute is determined to push back the boundaries of this research, create new therapies to replace damaged tissues in further areas of the body and enable surgeons to perform longer-lasting orthopaedic reconstruction.

Professor Fisher, also Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University, expressed his pride at the award: "We are absolutely delighted. This is recognition for the hard work of a lot of people - and of the fact that we are taking this work forward into the future.

"Our objective is to improve the quality of life of people as they age by focussing upon the research, development and translation of practical medical engineering interventions. We are driven by the conviction that, with the right medical and biological interventions, the goal of fifty active years after the age of fifty is within reach."

A major focus for IMBE in the years ahead will be on early interventions to address the global burden of osteoarthritis which is predicted to be the fourth leading cause of disability in the world by 2020.

"We can't live forever of course. Our work is about enabling people to enjoy their old age more actively, but of course by staying active, people are also reducing their risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity - all of them potential killers."

The Institute is committed to continuing its work into the future. It is a key partner in a £10m Doctoral Training Centre, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. This will support the training of 50 PhD studentships by 2015, attracting the best postgraduates from around the world and developing the next generation of researchers in medical and biological engineering who will ensure that this vital work remains on an upward trajectory.

The Queen's Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education, awarded every two years, are part of the UK honours system, and promote world class excellence in UK universities and colleges. This is the second such award to the University of Leeds, whose Institute for Transport Studies was a winner in 2010.


Recent Grants

Dave Westhead and colleagues in Experimental Haematology, Cancer Research UK (Jan 2015), £700,521

Sheena Radford, Mark Harris, Peter Stockley, Alan Berry, Alex O'Neill, Thomas Edwards, Adrian Goldman, Anastasia Zhuravleva, Wellcome Trust (Jan 2015), £443,015

Bill Kunin, EU (Jan 2015), £157,490

John Colyer, Leeds Teaching Hospitals Charitable Fund (Jan 2015), £40,000

Chris Hassall, Royal Society (Dec 2014), £14,500

Ryan Seipke, Royal Society (Nov 2014), £13,700

Alan Berry, Wellcome Trust (Oct 2014), £749,865

Ian Hope, Marie-Anne Shaw, BBSRC (Oct 2014), £396,565

Alison Ashcroft, Peter Stckley, Sheena Radford, Nic Stonehouse, David Brockwell, Darren Tomlinson, BBSRC (Oct 2014), £340,937

Les Firbank, Joe Holden, BBSRC (Oct 2014), £210,302

Darren Tomlinson and colleagues in Chemistry and Pathology, anatomy and Tumour Biology, Dr Hadwen Trusy (Oct 2014), £194,475

Paul Knox, EU (Oct 2014), £167,229

Martin Stacey and colleagues in Medicine & Health, Pfizer (Oct 2014), £90,453

Darren Tomlinson and colleagues in Experimental Oncology, YCR (Oct 2014), £69,480

Andrew Macdonald, Jamel Mankouri, Kidney Research Fund UK (Oct 2014), £58,878

Mike McPherson and colleagues in Dentistry and Engineering, Wellcome Trust (Oct 2014), £58,437

Dave Westhead and colleagues in Experimental Haemotology, Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research (Sep 2014), £281,424

Emmanuel Paci and colleagues in Chemistry, BBSRC (Sep 2014), £636,759

Andrew Peel, BBSRC (Sep 2014), £371,598

Lars Jeuken, Stephen Evans, BBSRC (Sep 2014), £333,684

Lars Jeuken, BBSRC (Sep 2014), £313,463

Michelle Peckham, Mark Harris, Rao Sivaprasadarao, Eileen Ingham, Nic Stonehouse, Nikita Gamper, Wellcome Trust (Sep 2014), £192,763

Neil Ranson, BBSRC (Aug 2014), £355,253

Stuart Egginton, BHF (Aug 2014), £271,094

Darren Tomlinson, Mike McPherson, Technology Strategy Board (Aug 2014), £98,665

Peter Henderson, Leverhulme Trust (Aug 2014), £15,222

Mike McPherson (and colleagues in the School of Chemistry), EPSRC (Jul 2014), £819,880

Peter Stockley, Neil Ranson, BBSRC (Jul 2014), £455,787

Sheena Radford, Univesity of Michigan (Jul 2014), £138,452

Ryan Seipke, British Society Antimicrobial Chemistry (Jun 2014), £11,960

John Trinick, BHF (Jun 2014), £222,614

Chris West, Leverhulme Trust (Jun 2014), £181,241

Jon Lippiat, Darren Tomlinson, BBSRC (May 2014), £125,174

Christine Foyer, Royal Society (May 2014), £24,000

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