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.
The opportunity to work alongside world-class stem cell scientists at Durham and Newcastle Universities, as well as doctors in the region's hospitals, was a key attraction.
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.
Stem cells have the potential to develop into any tissue type in the body and could therefore be used to develop a wide range of medical therapies.
Prof Nayernia joins from the Georg-August University of Gttingen, 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.
To do so, the spermatogonial stem cells would be taken from a male patient, cultivated in a test tube and re-transplanted into the same patient to replace damaged tissue. A danger of rejection of the new tissue would not exist because the stem cells would be genetically matched to the patient.
Contact: Prof Karim Nayernia
University of Newcastle upon Tyne