Keele scientist job swaps with Oxford mathematician

Keele’s Professor Alicia El Haj has received a £195,000 ‘discipline-hopping’ award from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to spend a year exchanging places with the University of Oxford’s Professor Sarah Waters.

From February, Professor El Haj joined Oxford’s Regenerative Medicine Group, which spans Maths, Computing and Biomedical Engineering, for two days a week. She is exploring how the practical application of mathematics in biomedical research can be used within her own research in regenerative medicine and remote control healing.

Professor El Haj, a Royal Society Research Fellow and a cell engineering professor, is researching how to heal the body by remote control. Her research explores how to steer and guide stem cells injected into the body to a specific location, and remotely activate them, from outside the body.

Mathematician Professor Waters investigates the use of maths in regenerative medicine for modelling, and will be meeting clinicians and tissue engineering teams at Keele to explore new interdisciplinary research areas.

The EPSRC first launched its discipline-hopping award last year with the aim of providing researchers with an opportunity to spend time in a different research or user environment, in order to better understand the need for and potential of research in engineering, physical sciences, mathematical sciences or ICT to have an impact in addressing health challenges.

Professor El Haj, founding director of ISTM, said:

“I’m honoured to have been awarded this innovative EPSRC grant, and to be one of the first to take part in this new scheme.

“This interdisciplinary collaboration will allow Keele University and the University of Oxford to build on our strong existing research links, and I’m looking forward to working with Oxford's Regenerative Medicine Group to further develop my research in regenerative medicine.”

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