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Future developments

The University of Edinburgh has secured funding to build a new Centre for Tissue Regeneration and Repair (CTRR). CTRR will be constructed directly adjacent to the SCRM building and considerably expand our on-site research capacity.

Together CTRR and SCRM will form the University’s new Institute for Regeneration and Repair (IRR) which, when complete in 2019, will be home to over 500 researchers.

CTRR will provide purpose built laboratory facilities that will provide space to accommodate development of an interdisciplinary research environment, integrating chemists alongside biologists and clinical researchers to address key challenges in the translation and commercialisation of regenerative therapies. State-of-the-art research space will be provided for 250 researchers.

The new building funded in part by an award from the UK Research Partnership Infrastructure Fund will be a unique interdisciplinary research facility addressing critical bottlenecks in the development and commercialisation of regenerative therapies. The focus will be on bringing together leading physical and biomedical scientists to accelerate recent important discoveries in basic stem cell science and regenerative medicine to the clinic by devising strategies to enhance and confirm tissue regeneration and repair.

Location

The new research facility will be situated adjacent to the SCRM building on the Edinburgh Bioquarter campus. The CTRR building will be ideally placed to translate basic science into clinical therapies. The co-location of key academic research facilities with the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Medical School, brings together clinicians, patients, scientists and state-of-the-art pre-clinical and clinical research facilities on one site.

Map of Edinburgh Bioquarter

Other key research facilities on the Bioquarter site:

  • Queen’s Medical Research Institute (QMRI)
  • Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic
  • The Chancellor’s Building (houses the University Medical School)
  • Scottish Centre for Regenerative Medicine (SCRM)
  • Nine, The Bioquarter (Centre for commercial activity)

Artist's impression of the new Centre for Tissue Regeneration and Repair building.

Research aim

The aim of CTRR is to understand the mechanisms controlling tissue regeneration and repair. To do this the centre will: 

  • Identify novel molecular and cellular mechanisms controlling tissue regeneration.
  • Develop high resolution in vivo imaging technologies.
  • Develop novel therapeutic approaches to promote tissue regeneration and repair.
  • Train the next generation scientists and clinician scientist in tissue repair.

Research themes

Research will focus on 3 principal themes, considered to be the ‘drivers’ of repair:

  • Tissue stem cells and regeneration. A key step in regeneration is the generation of new cells from tissue stem cells. Studying the behaviour of these cells in normal and damaged tissue is key to understanding essential processes of repair.
  • Inflammatory triggers to tissue repair. Inflammation is an essential component of tissue repair. The role of cells involved in inflammation (e.g. macrophages and neutrophils) will be studied in models of tissue repair and regeneration.
  • Niche biology. Stem cell behaviour is regulated in an area of tissue known as a stem cell ‘niche’. Cues from specific niche cell types and other factors in this microenvironment maintain tissue homeostasis and initiate repair. Defining these molecular cues in tissues will lead to the development of novel strategies to improve tissue repair.

The drivers of tissue repair.

Tissue types

The new centre will focus on tissue repair in four main tissue types: 

  • Central nervous system (CNS)
  • Liver
  • Haematopoietic system and thymus
  • Lung

The research carried out in the CTRR will lead to the development of new therapies for tissue damage, such as the destruction of nerve cells in multiple sclerosis or damage to the liver caused by infections.

The advanced imaging and sensing technologies that we will develop will enable researchers to view and measure tissue regeneration in real time. These techniques will be critical for evaluating the effectiveness of new treatments in clinical trials.