UWE Bristol Centre for Alternative Testing launches at ss Great Britain

Issue date: 14 March 2013

A new venture for UWE Bristol, the Centre for Alternative Testing and In-Vitro Monitoring (CATIM), will launch this evening on board the ss Great Britain.

CATIM is a consortium, led by the Institute of Bio-Sensing Technology, UWE Bristol with other partners, the University of Bristol, Gooch and Housego, the European Collection of Cell Cultures, the NHS and the Humane Society International, bringing their complementary strengths to the project.

European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) of £896,000 is being invested in a new resource based at UWE Bristol's Frenchay campus, with the aim of opening up access for businesses from across the South West to advanced technology and expertise in the field of cell monitoring and alternative testing. One particular area of activity is the development of technology to reduce and replace animal testing.

CATIM is cross faculty initiative led by Professors Richard Luxton and Janice Kiely which will specialise in the creation of new technologies that will detect and monitor changes in cell systems, critical for the development and evaluation of many new products, from chemicals to medical implants.

Dr Bret Dash has been appointed as Centre Director. He is a bioscience professional with 16 years of experience working with multi-disciplined project teams in publicly funded global corporations and venture capital funded start-ups in the US and Europe. He has helped to develop and commercialise leading-edge technologies for the drug discovery, genomics, and clinical research markets based on high content cellular analysis, capillary electrophoresis with laser-induced fluorescence, and laser capture micro dissection, respectively.

Bret explains his commitment to in-vitro testing, “When I started out as a Biochemistry student many of the techniques used at the time involved the use of lab animals. As a consequence I focused on learning cell biological techniques during my PhD because I was interested in alternative forms of biochemical research. In-vitro testing using 2-D or 3-D cell cultures enables researchers to create experimental test systems that do not require the use of living organisms. In-vitro work is all about looking for methods that will provide viable alternatives to animal testing and it is a growing industry.

“Over the coming years I will be working with our key partners at generating research projects and attracting world class academics to build a major centre for this growing research area. It's very exciting to be here at the beginning and there is enormous potential for collaborations that can make a positive difference in testing methods used across a range of industries.”

Businesses from many sectors – from biomedical and agri-food to advanced engineering – may benefit from access to the Centre's sophisticated resources and technical support; for example, with designing a test programme, developing skills in testing, or new product development.

The ERDF investment aims to support at least 80 South West businesses, resulting in 28 new jobs and safeguarding 30 jobs. Although CATIM is already engaging with industry the official launch takes place tonight.

For more information, visit http://catim.co.uk/

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