Sunday, 26 February 2012

University of Leeds Diamond Award

The Queen has been giving Anniversary Prizes for higher and further education achievments to mark her diamond jubilee. At an investiture at Buckingham Palace she made awards to 21 academic insitutions (chosen from 140 applicants) for projects which have shown innovation and excellence and which have made a significant difference in their field. The Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering at Leeds University was one of the intstitutions recognized. Here, academics have worked to improve the quality of the second half of life by developing longer-lasting hip joints, improving joints and techniques in surgery for knee reconstruction and pioneering a 'biological scaffold' that allows a patient's own cells to grow into a heart valve implant ensuring that the valve will last longer than the 10-15 years currently attainable. This technique, which does not provoke a response from the patient's own immune system, makes the use of such heart valves particularly suitable in children. 

The Joint Director of the Institute, Professor John Fisher, is an engineer who came to medical research after another career designing parts for the motor industry and he works jointly with his wife, Professor Eileen Ingham, who specialises in immunology. The work of the Institute has attracted recognition because of its wide-reaching contribution to the care of tens of thousands of patients around the world. Research carried out in Leeds has enabled many to have medical interventions that have lasted considerably longer than they would have in the past. Professor Fisher said, 'The goal of 50 active years after the age of 50 is within reach' and, of course, the more active people can stay, the more that reduces the incidence of many serious diseases.

Congratulations to all the staff at the Institute of  Medical and Biological Engineering in Leeds! Professor Fisher is also Deputy Vice Chancellor of Leeds University.    

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