stem cells in their environment

Professor Watt leads the stem cell and cell signalling spoke of Centre for Cellular Signal Patterns (CellPAT)

May 2017

The National Danish Research Foundation has announced that it will give 61 million DKK (£7 million) to fund the Centre for Cellular Signal Patterns (CellPAT) led by Professor Jorgen Kjems.

CellPAT brings together world-leaders in the fields of stem cells and cell signaling (Professor Fiona Watt, King’s College London), nano-scale bioengineering (Professor Jorgen Kjems and Professor Duncan Sutherland, Aarhus University, Denmark), immunology (Professor Steffan Thiel, Aarhus University, Denmark) and high resolution molecular imaging (Professor Ralf Jungmann, Max Planck University, Germany) in order to understand how cells communicate with their surroundings.

By focusing on 3 key research areas in cell signaling, CellPAT aims to unravel how cells receive and process complex instructions:

  1. Studying how exactly our immune cells recognise “danger signals” on pathogens and distinguishes them from “safe signals” on our own cells.
  2. Investigating how cells recognise certain vesicles located outside the cell and allows them to enter the cell by crossing the cell membrane.
  3. Understanding how stem cells recognise extracellular signals that control their growth and development.

The researchers at CellPAT envision that their work will provide the foundation for the development of multiple new therapy strategies such as the development of immune-modulating drugs, delivering precision medicine to cells (such as gene-therapy) or using a patient’s own stem cells repair tissues damaged by disease.