Harnessing clay nano-particles for stem-cell driven tissue regeneration

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: Human Development and Health

Abstract

Gels made from clay could provide an environment able to stimulate stem-cells due to their ability to bind biological molecules.

That molecules stick to clay has been known by scientists since the 1960s. Doctors observed that absorption into the blood stream of certain drugs was severely reduced when patients were also receiving clay-based antacid or anti-diarrhoeal treatments. This curious phenomenon was realized to be due to binding of the drugs by clay particles. This interaction is now routinely harnessed in the design of tablets to carefully control the release and action of a drug.

Dr Dawson now proposes to use this property of clay to create micro-environments that could stimulate stem cells to regenerate damaged tissues such as bone, skin, heart, spinal cord, liver, pancreas and cornea.

The rich electrostatic properties of nano (1 millionth of a millimetre) -scale clay particles which mediate these interactions could allow two hurdles facing the development of stem-cell based regenerative therapies to be overcome simultaneously.

The first challenge - to deliver and hold stem cells at the right location in the body - is met by the ability of clays to self-organise into gels via the electrostatic interactions of the particles with each other. Cells mixed with a low concentration (less than 4%) of clay particles can be injected into the body and held in the right place by the gel, eliminating, in many situations, the need for surgery.

Clay particles can also interact with large structural molecules (polymers) which are frequently used in the development of materials (or 'scaffolds'), designed to host stem cells. These interactions can greatly improve the strength of such structures and could be applied to preserve their stability at the site of injury until regeneration is complete.

While several gels and scaffold materials have been designed to deliver and hold stem cells at the site of regeneration, the ability of clay nanoparticles to overcome a second critical hurdle facing stem-cell therapy is what makes them especially exciting.

Essential to directing the activity of stem-cells is the carefully controlled provision of key biological signalling molecules. However, the open structures of conventional scaffolds or gels, while essential for the diffusion of nutrients to the cells, means their ability to hold the signalling molecules in the same location as the cells is limited. The ability of clay nano-particles to bind biological molecules presents a unique opportunity to create local environments at a site of injury or disease that can stimulate and control stem-cell driven repair.

Dr Dawson's early studies investigated the ability of clay gels to stimulate the growth of new blood vessels by incorporating a key molecular signal that stimulates this process, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). In a manner reminiscent of the observations made in the 60s, Dr Dawson and colleagues observed that adding a drop of clay gel to a solution containing VEGF caused, after a few hours, the disappearance of VEGF from the solution as it became bound to the gel. When placed in an experimental injury model, the gel-bound VEGF stimulated a cluster of new blood vessels to form.

These exciting results indicate the potential of clay nanoparticles to create tailor-made micro-environments to foster stem cell regeneration. Dr Dawson is developing this approach as a means of first exploring the biological signals necessary to successfully control stem cell behaviour for regeneration and then, using the same approach, to provide stem cells with these signals to stimulate regeneration in the body.

The project will seek to test this approach to regenerate bone lost to cancer or hip replacement failure. If successful the same technology may be applied to harness stem cells for the treatment of a whole host of different scenarios, from burn victims to those suffering with diabetes or Parkinson's.

Planned Impact

By 2033 23% of the UK population will be aged over 65. With this increase the already substantial socio-economic cost incurred by inadequate bone/ cartilage reconstructive techniques will increase dramatically. Fractures alone currently cost the European economy 17 billion euros and the US economy $20 billion annually. Worldwide, over 4 million bone replacement procedures are carried out each year, 90% of which rely on either the painful and source-restricted transplantation of the patient's own bone, or else, cadaveric bone matrix which provides only temporary structural support. By proposing a novel translatable approach to harnessing stem cells for skeletal regeneration this research program has potential to impact this unmet need and improve quality of life.

The direct beneficiaries of this work will be orthopaedic, spine and maxillofacial patients and related healthcare staff for whom current reparative options have proved inadequate. Additional beneficiaries will include the UK tax payer through reducing cost of, for example, revision surgery, and UK industry by feeding the private biomedical technology sector. In the long-term, the implications of this proposal have considerably broader regenerative applications extending the list of potential beneficiaries to include burn victims, sufferers of Parkinson's and diabetes, as well as transplant patients - all with associated broader socio-economic benefits. Educational benefit will also be sought through the development of a high-quality public engagement programme, and by investing in young research talent.

As an example of an application promising near-term socio-economic benefit, I present proof-of-concept that clay particle coating of cadaveric bone matrix can hold a potent bone inducing molecule to its surface. This could enhance the efficacy of a widely used intervention for bone reconstructive surgery. I am currently working with University of Southampton Research and Innovation Services (RIS) to patent this approach. In years 1-2 I will explore with RIS and the Medical Technologies Innovation and Knowledge Centre in Leeds to explore commercialisation routes (licensing or spin out) for this technology. The University of Southampton has a particularly successful record of commercial translation with a direct annual income of £500,000 from licensing and the launch of 12 spin-outs, since 2001, with a current market value of circa £150M.

In years 3-5 I will intensively pursue collaborations with disease-focussed research and industry to target both long and near-term beneficiaries beyond skeletal applications. For example, I recently received as co-applicant, 'Adventures in Research' pilot funding in collaboration with Dr Nicholas Evans, University of Southampton, seeking to apply clay gels for enhancing regeneration in ulcerative skin conditions such as diabetic foot ulcers.

As well as direct socioeconomic impact, the proposal will benefit emerging research talent within the University of Southampton through immersing graduate students and a postdoctoral researcher (PDRA) in a rigorous multidisciplinary research program. Beyond academic development, I will involve the PDRA in public engagement (below) and in the exploration of translational pathways.

I recognise that continued public engagement around the themes of stem cells and regenerative medicine is vital to maintain public confidence and strengthen the case for investment. I am a passionate communicator of science and value the opportunities that active involvement in regenerative research presents to engage in discussions around this hot-topic. I have requested £35k to allow me to develop, in the first year, an interactive teaching aid with public engagement specialists to feature in the "Bringing Research to Life Roadshow". This will extend and enhance the educational impact of this programme throughout the time frame of the grant, and beyond, to a broad public audience.
 
Title The Stem Cell Mountain 
Description EPSRC grant generated the centre piece of our exhibit - the Stem cell mountain - a large interactive pinball machine built in collaboration with Winchester Science Centre to communicate the concept of Stem Cell Potential 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2014 
Impact The exhibit has substantially enhanced our engagement activities both in terms of quality and quantity of impact. As well as touring with the Bringing Research to Life Roadshow - which recognised it as the 'Best Engagement Activity - and through which over 7000 people have interacted with it to learn about stem cell biology, the exhibit is on permanent display at the Winchester Science Centre (>100,000 visitors annually). So popular is the exhibit there that we have now produced a replica to allow touring of the exhibit without impacting on the science centre. Furthermore the exhibit was seen by the research community at the 2015 Tissue and Cell Engineering Society Annual Meeting from which two further orders for replicas of the mountain were requested (UCL, UK and Julius Wolf Institute, Berlin) potentially generating £20k to be fed back into the groups research and engagement activities. 
URL https://issuu.com/university_of_southampton/docs/3297_uos_ris_e-mag_aw/c/spysdbe
 
Description 1) Clay gels can provide gel environments that stimulate bone marrow derived stem cells to specialise into bone forming cells.
Clay particles dispersed in water can self-organise into gels able to contain the biological molecules that stimulate stem cells to regenerate diseased or injured tissue. We have completed a series of studies indicating the ability of clay gels to spontaneously stiffen into stable microenvironments upon contact with blood. Clay gel scaffolds enable encapsulation of bone marrow derived stem cells and stimulate them to specialise into bone forming cells. In particular we observed that the clay gel environment enhances the formation of the mineralised component of bone tissue.

2) Clay gels can deliver, localize and enhance the activity of a powerful inducer of bone formation in the body.
The protein BMP2 has been widely used in orthopaedics to stimulate bone formation to fuse bones and repair fractures. The use of this powerful molecule has, however, been beset with problems such as bone formation in the wrong place and swelling of soft tissues. These problems are due to the very high doses required because of the protein's characteristic instability. We have shown that clay gels are extremely effective at localizing and sustaining the activity of BMP2 to enhance its efficacy and, potentially, reduce the likelihood of dangerous side-effects. For example by delivering BMP2 encapsulated within clay gels we have found that we can stimulate new bone formation at doses 3000 times lower than currently used in clinical practice. This finding has been reported at 6 national/international academic conferences and is currently under-review by the journal Biomaterials. We are now in a position to explore this exciting avenue in preclinical models of bone repair.

3) An originally proposed collaboration exploring a polymer clay composite strategy for bone repair has proved unsuccessful.
An injectable hard scaffold formulation (PLGA-PEG) developed in collaboration with the University of Nottingham was tested using an early stage chick egg toxicology assay prior to commencing a full in vivo assessment. The study indicated poor toleration of the composite scaffold as well as problems in sustaining scaffold cohesion in a physiological aqueous environment. This particular approach is not being pursued further.

4) Clay nanoparticles can add drug localisation functionality to biomedical polymers
In collaboration with University of Uppsala we are exploring the opportunities presented by clay nanoparticles for enhancing a widely used natural biological polymer, hyaluronic acid. As well as providing a chemical-free approach to forming stiff injectable hydrogels through physical interactions between the polymer and the clay we have also found that clay particles can provide adhesion sites allowing cells to attach and grow on these otherwise anti-adhesive materials and add BMP2 binding functionality to the polymeric material. We now have striking data for extended localisation and bone inducing capability in vivo using this approach which is currently being written up for publication.

5) Clay nanoparticle gels can be applied topically to chronic skin wounds (such as diabetic ulcers) to significantly improve both the rate and quality of wound healing. Interestingly, this result is independent of addition of growth factors or other biological agents and represents an intrinsic effect of the clay gels in this environment. This result is currently written up for publication.
Exploitation Route Our most notable finding is of potentially great significance to orthopedic, spine and maxillofacial surgery. We have demonstrated a significant improvement in efficacy and safety for a widely used licensed intervention. We have patented our approach and are currently developing, through a Higher Education Innovation Funded industrial collaboration, a full regulatory and technical package which we will seek to license.
Sectors Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

URL http://www.southampton.ac.uk/medicine/about/staff/jid.page
 
Description Building on seminal studies (Dawson et al Advanced Materials 2011, Biomaterials, Gibbs et al 2016 (both F1000 Prime recommended **)) demonstrating the ability of nanoclay gels to bind bioactive molecules to stimulate local cell behaviour we have shown the ability for bone induction at physiological doses of bone morphogenetic protein, (BMP2), the current osteoinductive therapeutic agent; which has fallen from favour given widely publicised damaging side-effects. This has been patent protected and two additional patents are under preparation. I am intensively pursuing the translation and commercialization of our demonstrated ability to enhance the activity of a potent clinically licensed bone inducing molecule through clay gels. I have acquired Higher Education Innovation funding (HEIF) for an industrial collaboration with BYK (a subsidiary of Altana) to optimise clay formulations for regenerative applications with a view to consolidating a licensable regulatory package. In a key development, I co-founded in 2017, a new spin-out company Renovos Ltd. which will further facilitate the commercialisation and translation of this technology - with associated economic and health impact. Additional Innovate UK, HEIF and MRC confidence in concept funding has been obtained in the past year to progress commercialisation through Renovos, USOTON collaboration. As well as direct socio-economic impact I requested £35k to develop, in the first year, an interactive teaching aid with public engagement specialists to extend and enhance the educational impact of this program throughout the time frame of the grant, and beyond, to a broad public audience. We have now developed an extremely successful engagement activity in collaboration with Winchester Science Center called the Stem Cell Mountain. Through the University of Southampton Roadshow this has now engaged over 8000 people at music and science festivals, county fairs, open days and school visits, as well as the annual 200000 visitors to the Winchester Science Center where it is resident when not on tour. Indeed the exhibit is so popular we have now made a replica so it can remain as a permanent fixture at the science center. The stem cell mountain was awarded the Best Engagement Activity Award by the university of Southampton and has since led to a strategic partnership between the University of Southampton and the Winchester Science Centre Two further unexpected outcomes emerged from this public engagement activity: 1) We have received orders for 2 further replicas of the stem cell mountain from external institutions (national and international) which I hope will generate around £20k profit to be put back into research and outreach. We have now established a sustainable manufacturing process and will explore the possibility of marketing the exhibit more widely. 2) The exhibit provided the context for a conversation through which a talented international MSc student from Queen Mary's was inspired to commence a PhD project (self-funded) in my group which started in October 2015. She is now an enthusiastic supporter of the groups engagement activities.
Sector Education,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic

 
Description Arthritis Research UK PhD Scholarship
Amount £108,414 (GBP)
Funding ID JM/PhD/21269 
Organisation Versus Arthritis 
Start 10/2016 
End 09/2019
 
Description Continuation funding for MD-PhD project
Amount £17,500 (GBP)
Funding ID M201-F1 
Organisation Rosetrees Trust 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2014 
End 11/2015
 
Description FEE Eustice Scholarship
Amount £21,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Southampton 
Department Faculty of Engineering and the Environment
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2015 
End 09/2018
 
Description FEE Rayleigh OS Scholarship
Amount £52,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Southampton 
Department Faculty of Engineering and the Environment
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2017 
End 12/2020
 
Description Faculty of Medicine PGR Scholarship
Amount £21,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Southampton 
Department Faculty of Medicine
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2015 
End 09/2018
 
Description HEIF Enterprise Fund
Amount £10,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 513778129 
Organisation University of Southampton 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2015 
End 07/2016
 
Description IfLS HEIF FortisNet
Amount £12,375 (GBP)
Organisation Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2018 
End 07/2018
 
Description Innovate UK - Academic Partner
Amount £279,228 (GBP)
Funding ID 103349 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2017 
End 03/2019
 
Description MRC CiC proposal - Bioactive nano-clay gels for healing diabetic foot ulcer
Amount £49,951 (GBP)
Funding ID 517981109 
Organisation University of Southampton 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2019 
End 02/2020
 
Description MRC Confidence in Concept
Amount £40,741 (GBP)
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2017 
End 08/2018
 
Description BYK, Altana 
Organisation BYK Additives Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We have pioneered new therapeutic applications for a material (Laponite) manufactured by BYK. This collaboration has been awarded funding for a 1 year internship and now a full PhD studentship which started January 2017 hosted in our group in Southampton.
Collaborator Contribution BYK have hosted an intern to develop novel formulations of Laponite to aid mechanistic studies of therapeutic benefit towards the development of novel formulations optimised for regenerative medicine.
Impact Secured full PhD scholarship funding in part through contribution from BYK
Start Year 2016
 
Title POLYMER-CLAY COMPOSITE AND ORGANOCLAY 
Description The invention relates to a polymer-clay composite material comprising clay nanoparticles and a polymer, and wherein (a) the polymer comprises phosphate and/or phosphonate ligands; or (b) the polymer-clay composite further comprises linker molecules comprising a phosphate or phosphonate ligand, wherein the linker molecules are arranged to be anchored to the polymer. The invention further relates to organoclays, BMP-clay composite material. Uses, treatments, and manufacturer of the material are also provided. 
IP Reference US2017043058 
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted 2017
Licensed Yes
Impact This invention represents the core technology that led to the founding of Renovos Biologics Ltd. Renovos is currently directing preclinical and regulatory studies ahead of initiating clinical trials for a medical device indicated for spine and ankle fusion.
 
Title Polymer Clay Nanoparticle Composites 
Description Patent describing the development of hyaluronic acid clay nano composites arising from our collaboration with Uppsala University. The patent also details the effective dose reduction of BMP2 achieved through our strategy. 
IP Reference WO2015170075 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2015
Licensed No
Impact Nothing to report
 
Title Clay nanoparticle gels for localisation of BMP2 
Description Bone Morphogenic Protein 2 (BMP2) can induce ectopic bone. This ability, which first motivated the widespread application of BMP2 in fracture healing and spinal arthrodesis has, more recently, been indicated as one of several serious adverse effects associated with the supra-physiological doses of BMP2 relied upon for clinical efficacy. Key to harnessing BMPs and other agents safely and effectively will be the ability to localize activity at a target site at substantially reduced doses. Clay (Laponite) nanoparticles can self assemble into gels under physiological conditions and bind growth factors for enhanced and localized efficacy. We have shown the ability to localize and enhance the activity of BMP2 to achieve ectopic bone formation at doses within the sub-microgram per ml range of concentrations sufficient to induce differentiation of responsive cell populations in vitro and at approximately 3000 fold lower than those employed in clinical practice. We are currently pursuing 2 strands of development towards the clinical translation of this device. 1) Large animal pre-clinical studies in direct comparison with the current gold standard approach (InductOs TM) 2) Refinement in clay mineral production in collaboration with BYK, Altana and pursuit of regulatory approval. 
Type Therapeutic Intervention - Drug
Current Stage Of Development Refinement. Non-clinical
Year Development Stage Completed 2016
Development Status Under active development/distribution
Impact Nothing additional to report at this stage. 
 
Company Name Renovos Biologics Limited 
Description Renovos is a new regenerative medicine company capitalising on the decades of world-class orthopaedic research from the University of Southampton. Renovos will apply this knowledge to offer the wider orthopaedic research community new research tools, otherwise unavailable in the market, to develop the next generation of medicines, whilst supporting the development of our own novel therapeutic platform for safer, easier and more cost-effective bone repair. Serving universities, biotech and pharma, Renovos's tools will include high-value human stem cells (unavailable elsewhere), disruptive new assay platforms and a rapid and high-throughput service to screen new drug compounds. In addition, Renovos is developing a proprietary drug delivery technology based on synthetic nanoclay-gels, with multiple medical applications. Clay-gels can be injected to the site of a fracture to accelerate tissue repair, through a controlled and localised release of therapeutic agents, offering a step-change in their safety and effectiveness. 
Year Established 2017 
Impact Renovos was spun out from University of Southampton with funding from an Innovate UK grant in 2017. We currently employ a full time business manager along with 2 Research Scientists (0.5FTE). We are currently looking to secure investment partners to prosecute the translation of our nanoclay technology in Orthopaedics. Renovos was recently awarded 'Best Orthopaedic Regenerative Medicine Start-Up - Europe' by CV magazine.
Website http://renovos.co.uk
 
Description Cheltenham Science Festival - Central Exhibit in Discover Zone 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Stem Cell Mountain featured in 'Doc Brown's Lab' (in keeping with the 2015 Back to the Future Theme) at the famous Cheltenham Science Festival Discover Zone. The team interacted with an estimated 1800 visitors over 6 days. Received feedback such as the following:
"Great explanation from volunteers about the stem cell model. My Year 6 pupils could then explain the purpose of the model - great"
and
"That's how you teach science!"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016,2017
URL http://www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/science/
 
Description Interview on Radio Solent about the Stem Cell Mountain 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Interview on Radio Solent with Louisa Hannan about our group's involvement in the BBSRC Great British Bioscience Festival and the idea behind the Stem Cell Mountain.

A family member listening to broadcast commented - 'First time someones explained what a stem cell is in a way I can understand'.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0295kzk
 
Description Live interview on Unity FM 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Presence of Stem Cell Mountain at Southampton Mela festival attracted interest of local media and resulted in an interview on Unity FM about stem cells and their potential for treatment of various diseases.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Scaffolds and cells - making replacement body parts in the lab - Exhibit at the BBSRC Great British Bioscience Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Engaged over 6500 visitors from across the UK as part of the BBSRC run GBBF. EPSRC grant generated the centre piece of our exhibit - the Stem cell mountain - a large interactive pinball machine built in collaboration with Winchester Science Centre to communicate the concept of Stem Cell Potential. In response to the feedback question 'Tell us something from your visit that you found particularly interesting' the answer 'Stem Cells' was one of the most frequently given.

Through a conversation at this exhibition a talented international MSc student from Queen Mary's was inspired to commence a PhD project (self-funded) in my group.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/documents/gbbf-final-report-pdf/
 
Description Southampton Science and Engineering Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Stem Cell Mountain at the Southampton Science and Engineering Festival (1 day) - regional general public, predominantly families
Measure 1: visitors passing stand; 1300
Measure 2: visitors interacting with researchers on the stand; 400
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016
 
Description Stem Cell Mountain at Bestival Music Festival Science Tent 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Stem Cell Mountain at the Bestival Music Festival Science Tent (4 days) - exhibit in shared Science Tent, mixed Festival audience (mainly general public and especially young people 17-25)
Measure 1: visitors passing stand; 1400 per day = 5600
Measure 2: visitors interacting with researchers on stand; 500 per day = 2000

Particularly notable was the impact of this activity on the researchers themselves and how they viewed the importance of their own research. For example one researcher reported: "This festival was great to see how amazed people are about the potential of stem cells"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Stem Cell Mountain at the Glastonbury Music Festival Science Tent 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Stem Cell Mountain exhibit in shared Science Tent, mixed Festival audience (academics, post-docs, science specialists, general public, families and young people)
Measure 1: visitors passing stand; 1100 per day = 5500
Measure 2: visitors interacting with researchers on stand; 500 per day = 2500

Engaged classically hard to reached audience.

Quote: "I was considering doing a PhD at one point - I didn't think I'd reconsider it here"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016
 
Description Stem Cell Mountain on Tour - Overview 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The EPSRC funded Stem Cell Mountain Roadshow Exhibit combines the fun of a pin ball machine with a profound metaphor for a key biological concept. The stem cell mountain was designed in collaboration with Winchester Science Centre to bring to life the complex idea of stem cell potential. The exhibit has engaged festival goers at Glastonbury and Bestival, science aficionados at the UK's top Science Festivals, as well as the 100000+ visitors per year that visit the Winchester Science Centre where a replica is full time resident (see individual entries for numbers at each event)

Qualitative feedback on Stem Cell Mountain from the public:
"This model illustrates stem cell science brilliantly, and it's fun too"
"The stem cell machine was so brilliant - it really helped to explain how the body works in such an interactive and easy way"
"Helpful, informative team of staff on hand"
"Interesting to learn why stem cell research is so controversial"
"Great explanation from volunteers about the stem cell model. My Year 6 pupils could then explain the purpose of the model - great"
"That's how you teach science!"
"It's great to see this activity is in the busiest tent in the field"
"I'm glad we saw this - it makes a difference"
"That's amazing - a really great way to show stem cell analysis"
"I was considering doing a PhD at one point - I didn't think I'd reconsider it here"
"The stem cell mountain - thank you for having this idea. It's such a clever way to explain the concept"
"Such a simple way to represent a very complicated thing"
"We need science like this in school. It's so much more interesting"

Qualitative feedback from the Stem Cell Mountain team of researchers:
"One of the amazing perks that come with researching! Great day, talked to many interesting people from various backgrounds and ages (from 5yr olds to 70 year old ex-specialists in the area). Very good and helpful for both the people that we talk to and for us as researchers"
"It made me think my research matters"
"It helps you to step back and see the amazing things you get to study in university with fresh eyes"
"People were really interested in what are doing in our research"
"It is a great opportunity to leave the academic bubble and a useful and interesting attempt to explain science research to a wide audience. The best thing is seeing people's reactions when everything clicks and makes sense to them!"
"The stem cell mountain is very impressive. Proud to represent"
"This festival was great to see how amazed people are about the potential of stem cells"
" A brilliant way to inform the public about the work we do"
" A pleasure to meet and collaborate with the range and depth of skills and knowledge in our roving science tent"
"I was blown away by the strength, diversity and great nature of the team"
"I've really enjoyed manning the stem cell volcano - my first experience of the exhibit. I'd quite like one in my living room!"
"It's good to see so many people interested in stem cell research"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016,2017,2018
URL https://issuu.com/university_of_southampton/docs/3297_uos_ris_e-mag_aw/c/spysdbe
 
Description Thomas Hardye School Science Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact A Dorset secondary school open day engaging 300 students with translational stem cell medicine.

First experience of public engagement for several colleagues who reported great satisfaction with the experience.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016
URL http://www.southampton.ac.uk/per/university/roadshow.page
 
Description Winchester Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Stem Cell Mountain at a three day up and coming science festival. Engaged largely family audience and science festival talk attendees
Measure 1: visitors passing stand; 300 per day = 900
Measure 2: visitors interacting with researchers on stand; 150 per day = 450
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016,2017