The Centre supports studies in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine with an emphasis on translational research for therapeutic benefit. Current research is supported by expertise in stem cell differentiation, tissue organogenesis and regeneration, biomaterials and tissue engineering, and surgery for transplantation, involving several interrelated projects.
Vision: The Centre has a major focus on retinal degenerative diseases and was originally established to develop stem cell therapy for Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). The goal has been to prepare a cell-on-membrane construct for implantation of retinal cells into the eye to replace cells damaged by AMD. The Centre currently holds patents on the preparation of ultrathin membranes. Procedures for production of clinical grade retinal cells from stem cells are under patent application.
Blood cells: Hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) remain the only US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved stem cell therapy. Many questions abound about the best source of HSC for transplantation. The Centre is investigating HSC heterogeneity and the changes they adopt following stress, infection and ageing.
Organogenesis: Only a few adult tissues including liver and spleen have capacity to regenerate. An important breakthrough in the Centre has been the identification of a ‘stromal organiser cell’ which regenerates spleen, supporting development of a sinusoidal network which underlies tissue compartments supporting hematopoiesis and immunity.