Dr Ipsita Roy, of the School of Life Sciences at the University of Westminster, has been part of a successful application for funding from the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

The BHF is pledging £7.5 million raised by their Mending Broken Hearts Appeal to fund scientists at three new dedicated research centres in the UK.

Dr Roy will work with the centre based at Imperial College led by Prof. Sian Harding, which has been awarded £2.5 million. The centre aims to use stem cells to grow new, beating heart muscle to graft on to damaged hearts, helping them beat more strongly again. The next stage of the project will be to grow new muscle from dormant stem cells within the heart itself.

Dr Roy’s research group at the University of Westminster is one of the main groups in the UK working with polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), biodegradable polymers with potential medical applications. This group has been working with the polymers for 12 years, longer than any other group in the UK.

They have pioneered the production of non-immunogenic PHAs from Bacillus that are much better suited for medical applications. The potential use of these polymers for regenerating bone, damaged heart, nerve and cartilage is being studied extensively in the group. In addition, controlled delivery of drugs and development of biodegradable heart stents is also being explored. In the BHF funded centrek, PHAs will be used as support patch materials on which stem cells will be grown, to produce healthy heart muscle. These patches can then be used to repair damaged hearts.

The team based at Imperial will also work in collaboration with scientists at the Universities of Nottingham and Glasgow and UKE Hamburg. The BHF are also funding two other new centres led by the Universities of Oxford and Edinburgh.

Related information

Dr Ipsita Roy

Applied Biotechnology Research Group

British Heart Foundation


Biological Sciences BSc Honours

Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology MSc

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