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SKAN ties up with University of Cambridge for stem cell research

SKAN Research Trust (SKAN), promoted by Indian entrepreneur Ashok Soota and the UK-based Wellcome-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute (CSCI), is all set to bring to India cutting-edge expertise in stem cell research through a series of partnership agreements that were concluded today (6 September 2023) in Cambridge.

In a century driven by biological advances, stem cells have offered researchers a unique opportunity to transform health through regenerative medicine. CSCI and SKAN will jointly undertake specific research projects in stem cells and use their findings to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases.

The agreements include the following:

  • A comprehensive partnership agreement
  • Consultancy and secondment frameworks for knowledge transfer and training from CSCI to SKAN
  • A joint research Project Agreement to study “The genomic landscape of neurodegenerative diseases of ageing in an Indian cohort”

“I am hugely excited by SKAN’s vision and confident that this new partnership with the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute will help catalyse exciting progress in biomedical research both in India and Cambridge,” said Professor Bertie Göttgens, Director, Wellcome-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute.

“We are delighted to be collaborating with University of Cambridge in the field of stem cells which are powering the most exciting medical interventions. The collaboration will support SKAN in creating a world-class stem cell centre in Bangalore and the application of bioinformatics to leverage the power of this technology,” said Mr. Ashok Soota, the Chairman & Managing Trustee of SKAN.

The joint research, led by CSCI Principal Investigator Dr Jyoti Nangalia will study both normal brain tissue and neurological diseases to identify age-related genomic changes in the Indian population.

Dr Jyoti Nangalia, Group Leader at the Wellcome-MRC Stem Cell Institute and Wellcome Sanger Institute, said, “I am looking forward to working with Ashok Soota and the SKAN team to support their vision to create a centre of research excellence in India. Together, we embark on a journey to unlock genomic insights into age-related brain diseases, addressing their growing burden in society with advanced DNA sequencing capabilities.”

Through multiple consultancy agreements, CSCI and SKAN have agreed to a three-year period of knowledge transfer. SKAN will upgrade its stem cell and bioinformatics capabilities including top-of-the-line sequencing technologies with concomitant cell culture methodologies. CSCI researchers will benefit by amplifying the scope of their research through Indian cohorts and studies.
MB Bureau

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