UWE sociologist joins Canadian Stem Cell Network

Issue date: 03 December 2009

Dr Julie Kent Professor Julie Kent from the University of the West of England's Department of Sociology and Criminology has just been invited to join the Scientific Advisory Board of the Canadian Stem Cell Network.

Professor Kent's expertise is in the regulation and governance of emerging health technologies such as tissue engineering and stem-cell based therapies.

The Stem Cell Network is one of Canada's Networks of Centres of Excellence, which are part of Canada's flagship science and technology programme. Established in 2001, the Network now brings together more than 100 leading scientists, clinicians, engineers, and ethicists from universities and hospitals across Canada.

Professor Kent will provide guidance on the development and evaluation of the network's research programme. She has contributed for the past ten years to public debate in the UK on high-tech therapies such as implanting stem-cells in patients suffering degenerative conditions.

As part of the UK debate on the use of new tissue and cell based technologies in modern healthcare, Professor Kent and colleagues from UWE organised a series of seminars on the ethics of tissue collection and donation. These seminars brought together a wide range of health professionals, bioscientists, tissue engineers, social scientists and ethicists to exchange views on the impact of the global economy in tissues and the practicalities of making these therapies available to patients.

Professor Kent said, “I am delighted to be invited to join the Board and look forward to learning more about the work of the Network. I also hope that my visits to Canada might lead to enhanced links with academics working there.”

She has recently acted as an external reviewer for funding applications to the Network's Scientific Advisory Board under their Ethical, Legal and Social Issues initiative. Board member Dr Michael Rudnicki, from Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, praised her outstanding contribution as an external reviewer and said Professor Kent's skills would greatly complement their existing expertise over the six year period of her appointment. He said, “Your perspective and advice as an internationally recognized leader will be extremely valuable to the direction and growth of the Stem Cell Network.”

During this time, the Network aims to continue to be a catalyst for enabling translation of stem cell research into clinical applications, commercial products and public policy.


Editors notes:

For more information on the Canadian Stem Cell Network visit http://www.stemcellnetwork.ca/

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