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IDRM hosted a full day of scientific talks and networking on the 4th of November at its Inaugural Symposium. The event was made possible by the generous donation of the J.W. Jenkinson Trust and the support from Nanostring, Sony, Integra, and Evox Therapeutics.

More than 140 people attended the Symposium, which hosted talks from 11 distinguished national and international speakers, including Professor Molly Stevens from the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College London and Dr Thomas Boehm from The Max Plank Institute of Immunology and Genetics in Freiburg, among others.

IDRM Director and Theme-lead Cardiovascular Science, Professor Paul Riley, opened the Symposium by expressing his thanks to the sponsors, who made the Symposium possible.

"We received very generous support from the J.W. Jenkinson fund, which sponsors developmental biology and embryology across Oxford. We also have company support from Integra, Sony, NanoString, and Evox, a number of which are here today with displays of their latest technology."

He followed this with a brief overview of the Institute of Developmental and Regenerative Medicine, its facilities, and the work of its researchers.

"The IDRM is a stand-alone research institute and is a formal merger between developmental biology and regenerative medicine aimed at tackling chronic disease of the cardiovascular, neuroscience and immune systems: 240 people anticipated, 6000 sq. meters, three floors, etc. Our very simplistic way of looking at developing new therapies across the three integrated themes is to understand how organs develop and form in the first place to understand how to reform them following injury and disease, either arising from  birth defects or adult-acquired disease."

Professor Paul Riley also chaired the first part of the symposium talks, which started with a presentation on “Tissue Engineered Heart Repair” from Professor Wolfram Zimmerman from the University of Gottingen.

The first symposium speakers included Professor Cecilia Lindgren from the Big Data Institute in Oxford and Dr Robin Buckle, speaking on behalf of the Medical Research Council, with a talk on "MRC/UKRI support for regenerative medicine".

The second part of the morning was chaired by Immunology Theme-lead Professor Georg Hollander. Dr Thomas Boehm gave the first talk of the session: “Evolutionary Novelties in Vertebrate Immune Systems”. 

The rest of the morning presentations included Professor Marco Fritzsche from the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology and Lightning Talks from several IDRM researchers: Professor Stephan Sanders, Research Fellows Carlo Rinaldi and Tom Roberts, DPhil Student Chloe Tubman, Dr Ian MacCracken, Dr Irina Lupu, Dr Fatima Dhalla, and Dr Adam Handel. 


The third session of the Symposium was chaired by Neurology Theme-lead, Professor Matthew Wood. It included talks from Professor Bertie Gottgens from the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute and Associate Professor Fadi Issa from the Transplantation Research Immunology Group in Oxford.

The session finished with a talk by Anthony Zucca, EMEA Technical Lead Manager, who spoke about spatial transcriptomics platforms at NanoString Technologies. 

The day concluded with the fourth session of the Symposium, chaired by Professor Paul Riley. Professor Angela Russel from the Department of Chemistry in Oxford spoke about the role of medicinal chemistry in the discovery of new therapies for degenerative diseases.

This was followed by a talk from Professor Giovanna Mallucci, Principal Investigator of Altos Labs, Cambridge Institute, about “Mechanisms to Medicines in Neurodegeneration”.

The last talk of the Symposium was given by Professor Molly Stevens, Imperial College London, Institute of Biomedical Engineering, London. Her presentation tackled "Bioengineering Strategies for Regenerative Medicine and Therapeutics".

At the end of the Symposium, IDRM Director Professor Paul Riley said:

"I want to thank all the speakers. The science was inspirational, complemented by insights into funding, and some of the available technology platforms we can all use to progress our research goalsI should also again thank our sponsors — J.W. Jenkinson Trust, Integra, Sony, NanoString, and Evox and warmly acknowledge the key IDRM operations team who put the symposium together." 

After the closing remarks, the Symposium guests moved to the IMS-Tetsuya Nakamura Building, which houses the IDRM, for a wine reception.