Karim Nayernia, who is relocating from Germany to take up the post of Professor of Stem Cell Biology at Newcastle University, is carrying out pioneering work that has the potential to lead to future therapies for a range of medical conditions such as heart disease, Parkinson’s Disease and male infertility.
He will be based at the International Centre for Life in a new suite of multi-million pound facilities for stem cell research, funded by the regional development agency, One NorthEast.
Prof Nayernia joins from the Georg-August University of Göttingen, Germany. There he was part of a team that was the first in the world to isolate a new type of stem cell from adult mouse testes (male sex glands), called spermatagonial stem cells.
The team published its results in the top international scientific journal, Nature, in April. It was able to show that some of these stem cells, called multipotent adult germline stem cells (maGSCs), turned into heart, muscle, brain and other cells.
Prof Nayernia and his team proposed that similar cells could be extracted from men using a simple testicular biopsy. On the basis of these cells, new stem cell techniques could be developed in order to treat a variety of illnesses.
Prof Nayernia’s arrival will broaden the portfolio of world-class research which is the hallmark of the region’s Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (ISCBRM)*, where researchers are working on embryonic stem cells, stem cells from babies’ umbilical cord blood and other adult stem cells.
Prof Nayernia says that, his ultimate aim is to work towards developing therapies for a range of medical conditions afflicting patients worldwide.