Folkert Kuipers, Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences and the Supervisory Board of the UMCG, signed a cooperation agreement aimed at establishing a stem cell institute in Skolkovo, Russia. President Edward Crawley and director Nikolai Yankovsky signed the agreement on behalf of the Russian partners, the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) and the Vavilov Institute of General Genetics. Signing this agreement was an official part of President Vladimir Putin’s visit to the Netherlands on April 8 to mark the start of the Netherlands-Russia bilateral year.
The Skoltech Center for Stem Cell Research will be one of the first research institutes to be based in the Skoltech Institute in Skolkovo, close to Moscow. Russia is building a technology park in Skolkovo along the lines of Silicon Valley in America in a move to stimulate research and innovation. Top researchers, entrepreneurs and investors will pool resources to study IT, energy, space travel, biomedical science and nuclear technology.
Researchers from the UMCG and ERIBA, the Hubrecht Institute and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will work together in the new stem cell institute to increase fundamental knowledge of stem cells and help promote and advance stem cell science in Russia. Among their tasks will be the recruitment and selection of Russian and international students of biology and computer sciences, and junior researchers recently awarded a PhD in these fields. The first students and postdoctoral researchers are expected to start training in the labs of the scientists from the institutes working in this collaboration in September of this year, in preparation for their research in Skolkovo.
The research will focus on identifying and isolating adult stem cells in tissue and organs, producing induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) and reprogramming cells. In the long term, developing stem cell models for use in research into neurodegenerative diseases such as cancer and auto-immune disorders will help to make new stem cell treatment and drugs available to patients.
For more information, please contact the UMCG press information office on: +31 (0)50 361 22 00
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