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Biomedical scientist awarded prize

Tuesday 9th February 2010
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The annual Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine has been awarded to stem cell researcher Professor Austin Smith of the University of Cambridge.

In existence since 1986, the prize is given to biomedical researchers in Europe and is worth £350,000.

Prof Smith, director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Stem Cell Research, has been attempting to understand why the cells are able to make every other type of cell in the body.

He explained that the money will help the team investigate the equivalent phenomenon in various animal species, as the fact that stem cells behave differently in mice and rats has been holding up research in the field.

"At the moment, we think human stem cells are not the same 'blank slate' as stem cells in rodents," said Prof Smith, adding that the reason may be the carriage of the "different molecular baggage".

Dr Jennifer Nichols of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Stem Cell Research recently received a prize from the National Centre for Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research.

Written by Alex Franklin Stortford
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