Dr Ben Newland, NUI Galway PhD graduate, has been awarded a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow. This fellowship provides a unique opportunity for the most promising newly qualified postdoctoral researchers to make an early start in developing their independent research careers, working in the best laboratories in the UK and overseas.
Under the guidance of Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at NUI Galway, Dr Newland studied biomaterial based gene therapies for Parkinson's disease at the NFB, and was co-supervised by Dr Eilís Dowd and Dr Wenxin Wang. Ben is due to begin his postdoctoral research fellowship in October 2013, and will be primarily supervised by Professors Stephen Dunnett and Anne Rosser at Cardiff University in the UK. He will spend extended periods at the Technische Universität Dresden in Germany and the University of Oxford in the UK.
The title of Dr Newland’s study is ‘A combinatorial approach for enhancing cell transplantation for neurological diseases via simple and scalable chemistries’. The research goal of his postdoctoral position is to investigate mechanisms which increase stem cell survival following transplantation to the brain. Rapid and significant stem cell death following transplantation into the brain hampers the progression of stem cell therapies for neurodegenerative diseases. Dr Newland’s research will focus on the maintenance, delivery and therapeutic potential of transplanted stem cells in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
This Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship is highly multi-disciplinary in nature, combining nanomaterials, soft hydrogels and gene therapy and this fellowship will incorporate expertise from three European Universities.
Congratulating Dr Newland on his fellowship, Professor Abhay Pandit said: “Since the vast majority of successful applicants of the Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowships are situated in ‘Oxbridge’ or London, it is great to have a successful applicant from Ireland to be based in Cardiff University. Dr Newland will continue to build on the foundations he has forged at NUI Galway by continuing to collaborate with the University and the group at NFB. We wish him every success in his career and look forward to working with him at NUI Galway in the very near future.”