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New Partnership in Biomedicine and Translational Research

IBNAM fosters exchange program with University of Gothenburg, Sweden

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January 6, 2010 | by Megan Fellman
Samuel I. Stupp, director of Northwestern’s Institute for BioNanotechnology in Medicine (left), and Olle Larkö, dean of the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, sign an education and research exchange agreement at a Dec. 8 ceremony in Gothenburg.

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Scientists from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden will deliver public talks Jan. 11 and 12 at Northwestern University to introduce an important new exchange program to the University's research community.

The two universities signed an education and research exchange agreement in Sweden last month to foster collaborative relationships in biomedicine and translational research.

Northwestern's Institute for BioNanotechnology in Medicine (IBNAM) and Gothenburg's medical school, known as the Sahlgrenska Academy, are the primary institutions in the exchange program. IBNAM's research strengths are well matched to Sahlgrenska's research interests in regenerative medicine, particularly the neural and orthopedic areas.

Pentti Tengvall, director of the Interdisciplinary Research School in Biomaterials at Sahlgrenska, will hold an information session at 3 p.m. Monday, Jan. 11, for faculty, postdoctoral fellows and students interested in learning more about the program's student exchange opportunities.

Peter Thomsen, professor of biomaterials at the Institute for Clinical Sciences at Sahlgrenska, will deliver an academic lecture at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 12, titled “Interface Biology at Osseointegrated Implants.”

Both talks will be held on the Chicago campus at the Baldwin Auditorium in the Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center, 303 East Superior Street.

On Jan. 11 the delegation from the University of Gothenburg, including Olle Larkö, dean of Sahlgrenska, will tour NUANCE (the Atomic- and Nanoscale Characterization Experimental Center), the Jerome B. Cohen X-ray Diffraction Facility and the Richard and Barbara Silverman Hall for Molecular Therapeutics and Diagnostics, all on the Evanston campus, and the IBNAM laboratories in Chicago.

The exchange program, open to medical students, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty of both universities, will include exchanges of scientific materials and information and cooperation in organizing joint research activities and conferences.

The student exchange portion of the program will provide graduate students with research opportunities in the laboratories of Northwestern and the University of Gothenburg.

Two collaborative projects involving faculty and students soon will be under way: one will focus on a novel biomaterial-stem cell approach to induce brain repair, and the other will test biomaterials in healing fractures in a model for osteoporosis. Additional areas of collaboration will develop as researchers learn of the exchange opportunities between the two institutions.

"The joint research projects in areas of regenerative medicine will be accessible to scientists from both campuses here at Northwestern," said Samuel I. Stupp, Board of Trustees Professor of Chemistry, Materials Science and Engineering, and Medicine and director of IBNAM.

"The Sahlgrenska Academy has an innovative Center for Brain Repair and Rehabilitation, and Sahlgrenska researchers have been pioneers in osteointegration of bone implants," he said. "They have received major grants to pursue research on biomaterials, nanotechnology and stem cells."

Stupp represented Northwestern at the signing ceremonies hosted by the University of Gothenburg in December. He also presented a lecture titled "Nanotechnology Meets Regenerative Medicine."

Northwestern's Office of International Program Development was instrumental in developing the cooperation agreement.