Welcome to the Institute for Science & Technology in Medicine (ISTM)

ISTM aims to improve the health of patients by applying knowledge gained from basic science to develop insights into the causes of disease and ways of treating them. This “bench to bedside” approach brings together scientists and NHS clinicians from a range of backgrounds and specialties, in a high quality research environment and access to the latest facilities.

ISTM focusses its work into eight Themes, each with an international profile for research, for example some of the key areas are:

  •         Bioengineering and the therapeutic use of stem cells
  •         Genetics and epigenetics, structural biology, cell biology, apoptosis
  •         Novel imaging and diagnostics, eg to identify disease biomarkers
  •         Neurosciences, eg related to stroke, Parkinson’s disease, hearing loss

The Institute formed in 2006 and carries out research in laboratories and clinical research facilities at Keele University campus and three main NHS hospitals: University Hospital of North Staffordshire (UHNS), the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt (RJAH) Orthopaedic Hospital, Oswestry and the Haywood Hospital, Stoke on Trent.

Most of our ~100 members and research staff, and ~90 research students are based at either the Guy Hilton Research Centre, UHNS, or the Huxley Building on Keele campus, which provide state of the art science laboratories, specialised equipment and facilities such as clean rooms, a dedicated patient research suite and the study space for very successful MSc programmes.


International quality research

ISTM_Harpal_at_cabinet_200x233 In the UK Research Assessment Exercise 2008, 90% of the Institute's submitted staff were rated as international quality researchers, with 10% ranked as world-leading. The research facilities were commended as "internationally recognised, excellent standard", specifically noting the University's support for development of the Institute since 2001.

Over a decade of the highest ratings, 5 and 5*, in previous UK Research Assessment Exercises has enabled basic, strategic and applied research to take place in a consistently top quality environment, with clear focus and routes into exploitation in bioscience industries and healthcare.

In the academic year 2009-10, 95% of ISTM's PhD students submitted their thesis within 4 years of study, meeting all national studentship funders' targets.


Research Themes in ISTM

The Institute for Science & Technology in Medicine bridges the interface between new advances in basic science and technology with medicine and clinical practice.  It successfully integrates Keele University's biomedical research strengths across the Faculties of Health and Natural Sciences.

Ying_Yang_at_cabinet_200x175  ISTM brings together biological scientists, physicists, chemists, engineers, mathematicians and clinicians in a single unit, under the following scientific themes:

Research links

ISTM members have active collaborations with universities throughout the UK, and over 35 countries in Europe, USA and the developing world.

Members of the Institute lead national, European and international networks. and participate in fora for peer review and policy making in the clinical and scientific arena. In the EC Framework Programme ISTM has become part of a Network of Excellence in Tissue Engineering and Stem Cell therapies.

The Institute's members also deliver expanding Masters level programmes offering degrees in Scientific Research Training (with International Placement)Molecular Parasitology and Vector Biology, Biomedical Engineering and Cell & Tissue Engineering which attract students from throughout the world.

Research impact

The integration of basic science and technology with clinical medicine within one department enables our research to achieve rapid and effective impact in the treatment of patients. 

Key impact features:

Impact case studies include:

  • Devices for management of fractures in human tibia
  • Magnetic nano-particle-based gene transfection
  • Nanomagnetic cellular actuation for regenerative medicine & stem cell therapy
  • Tissue Engineering - advanced approaches into clinical practice
  • New techniques for mapping and characterization of iron in neurodegenerative diseases
  • Real time analyses of exhaled breath trace gases for clinical diagnosis and monitoring
  • Site-specific genetic engineering of the mosquito genome.
  • Environmentally benign thrips monitoring

    Six "spin-out" and closely associated biotechnology and biomedical companies to exploit ISTM research.

ISTM projects involve at any time around 25 companies in technology transfer and clinical trials.

ISTM Leadership team

Prof Alicia El Haj

Director of ISTM

Prof Alicia J El Haj


Professor of Cell Engineering


Prof Simon Davies

ISTM Clinical Director

Prof Simon Davies


Professor of Nephrology


Prof Trevor Greenhough 90x90

ISTM Director of Postgraduate Studies

Prof Trevor Greenhough


Professor of Structural Biology


Athena Swan Bronze Award

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ISTM is a partner in the Innovative Manufacturing Centre for Regenerative Medicine

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