University of Twente’s Tissue Regeneration research group moving to Maastricht 30 January 2014 – In 2014, the Tissue Regeneration research group will move from the MIRA research institute to Maastricht University. The group, which is led by Prof. Clemens van Blitterswijk, focuses on the development of materials for bone repair. Maastricht University offers Professor Van Blitterswijk’s research group the facilities to further expand the scope of its research in this area. Investment in tissue repair at MIRA (the University of Twente’s research institute for Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine) will continue unabated. The research institute also wants to continue working closely with Clemens van Blitterswijk and his outstanding group.
MIRA’s research activities in the field of tissue repair are focused on developing new technologies that can be used in regenerative medicine. This includes the development of “smart” biomaterials that promote tissue repair by the patient’s own stem cells. Within this range of research activities, the Tissue Regeneration research group focused mainly on bone formation. These research activities will now be taken over by Maastricht University.
Commenting on the group’s departure, Professor Maarten IJzerman (MIRA’s interim Scientific Director) stated that:“Of course we regret the departure of a research group like this. We have cooperated fruitfully with these researchers for a long time now. Maastricht has the financial capacity to meet the group’s requirements. We, at MIRA, will now focus primarily on continued cooperation and on investing in the institute, right across the board.”
Professor Van Blitterswijk has worked at the University of Twente for about seventeen years. He was recently named the most entrepreneurial scientist in the Netherlands, and was appointed a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). Looking back on a fruitful and interesting period at the entrepreneurial University of Twente, he remarked: “Over the past ten years, thanks to the excellent infrastructure provided by the MIRA and MESA+ research institutes, the research group has been able to position itself as a leading group. The group had been looking for the space it needed to develop further, and it has now found this in Maastricht. The intention is to continue our cooperative work in the new situation, and we are currently engaged in discussions to this effect.”
The new research group will operate within the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences of Maastricht University, but it will also mainly collaborate in interdisciplinary projects (outside of the faculty) with other parties inside and outside Maastricht University. Professor Martin Paul, President of Maastricht University: “We are particularly pleased with the arrival of this group. This means a considerable strengthening of the Maastricht Health Campus. Furthermore, there are superb connections with the other campuses in Limburg. One such example is InScite, the institute at the Chemelot Campus, which focuses on biomedical materials. It is becoming clear that the entire research infrastructure we are building in Limburg in the context of our ten-year investment programme Knowledge Axis is highly attractive for top scientists. And that we can now welcome the group of Clemens van Blitterswijk so soon after attracting nanobiologist Peter Peters is proof of that.”
MIRA’s activities will centre around the theme of cartilage, kidney and islets of Langerhans (located in the pancreas), in which this institute has a leading position. Continued cooperation with the researchers who will be transferring to Maastricht will ensure that scientific expertise in the integrated theme of Tissue Regeneration, and more specifically in the field of bone regeneration, will remain available for education and research activities at the University of Twente. MIRA is also focusing on further strengthening the clinical translational profiles of the current research groups Developmental Bioengineering, Biomaterials Science and Technology, Controlled Drug Delivery en Targeted Therapeutics.