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

Neil Ranson, Mark Harris, Ade Whitehouse, Peter Stockley, Sheena Radford, Alan Berry, Wellcome Trust (Mar 2016), £1,000,000

Katie Field, BBSRC (Jan 2016), £830,381

Alan Berry, Alex Breeze, Adam Nelson, BBSRC (Jan 2016), £479,490

Alan Berry, Wellcome Trust (Oct 2015), £752,365

Julie Aspden, MRC (Oct 2015), £633,020

Steve Sait, NERC (Oct 2015), £386,061

Urwin, Howard Atkinson, BBSRC (Oct 2015), £200,293

Eric Hewitt, Andrew Macdonald, Yorkshire Kidney Research Fund (Oct 2015), £46,621

Ade Whitehouse, Alison Ashcroft, Ian Carr, BBSRC (Sep 2015), £438,975

Dave Westhead, Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research (Sep 2015), £430,567

Shaunna Burke, Andrea Utley, Sarah Astill, Arts Council of England (Sep 2015), £80,594

Samit Chakrabarty, Ronaldo Ichiyama, Intl Foundn for Research in Paraplegia (Aug 2015), £93,000

Eileen Ingham, John Fisher, EPSRC (Jul 2015), £1,458,439

Anastasia Zhuravleva, BBSRC (Jul 2015), £483,019

Alex O'Neill, MRC (Jul 2015), £249,822

Ade Whitehouse, Richard Foster, Cancer Research UK (Jul 2015), £201,034

Ronaldo Ichiyama, Jim Deuchars, Sue Deuchars, Wings For Life Spinal Cord Research (Jul 2015), £123,895

Helen Miller, ABNA Ltd (Jul 2015), £22,968

Martin Stacey and colleagues in FMH, MRC (Jun 2015), £426,475

Adrian Goldman, Sarah Harris, Roman Tuma, BBSRC (Jun 2015), £420,693

Elwyn Isaac, EU (Jun 2015), £238,915

Christine Foyer, BBSRC (Jun 2015), £160,401

Adrian Goldman, EU (Jun 2015), £116,331

David Brockwell, Sheena Radford, Innovate UK (Jun 2015), £113,378

Yoselin Benitez-Alfonso, EPSRC (Jun 2015), £93,672

Michelle Peckham, Peter Knight, Thomas Edwards, BBSRC (May 2015), £404,987

Michelle Peckham, Ed White, Peter Knight, BHF (May 2015), £208,184

Dave Westhead, Sheena Radford, Alex Breeze, BBSRC (May 2015), £51,021

Steve Clapcote, Vitaflo International Ltd (May 2015), £33,703

Les Firbank, Joe Holden, Pippa Chapman, NERC (Apr 2015), £388,726

Samit Chakrabarty, David Steenson, BBSRC (Apr 2015), £120,103

Paul Millner, Gin Jose, Sarah Aickin, DSTL Porton Down (Apr 2015), £63,407

Chris Hassell, David Lewis, The Physiological Society (Apr 2015), £6,900

Andrew Tuplin, Royal Society (Mar 2015), £15,000

Yoselin Benitez-Alfonso, Royal Society (Mar 2015), £14,770

Patricija Van Oosten-Hawle, Royal Society (Mar 2015), £13,960

Stuart Egginton, BHF (Mar 2015), £272,979

Keith Hamer, Department of Energy & Climate Change (Mar 2015), £58,066

Andrew Macdonald, Yorkshire Kidney Research Fund (Mar 2015), £41,171

Les Firbank, DEFRA Dept for Env. Food & Rural Affairs (Feb 2015), £20,000

Ian Hope, Marie-Anne Shaw, BBSRC (Jan 2015), £381,998

Paul Knox, BBSRC (Jan 2015), £5,000

Andrew Peel, BBSRC (Jan 2015), £359,077

Christine Foyer, BBSRC (Jan 2015), £408,334

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

Mike McPherson, Christoph Walti, DSTL Porton Down (Jan 2015), £625,125

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

Alison Ashcroft, Peter Stockley, Sheena Radford, Nicola Stonehouse, David Brockwell, Darren Tomlinson, BBSRC (Jan 2015), £340,937

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

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


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