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Arthritis researcher wins Metcalf Prize for stem cell research

Published on 17 July 2015

Congratulations to Dr Christine Wells from the Arthritis Research UK Rheumatoid Arthritis Pathogenesis Centre of Excellence who has been awarded a A$50,000 prize for her role in the development of Stemformatics, an online encyclopaedia which is being used to rapidly share scientific knowledge.

The National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia presented Dr Wells with one of two Metcalf prizes, named after the late Professor Donald Metcalf, an internationally renowned Australian scientist whose work on identifying molecules which tell stem cells to multiply and mature, boosting the immune system, transformed cancer treatment.

The Stemformatics initiative, created by Dr Well’s team in Brisbane, collates high-quality data from around the world. Researchers can look up genes or different cell types and access a huge volume of data to explore how they work. This resource has enabled the discovery of a new class of ‘pluripotent’ stem cells, which can give rise to any type of cell, and is only the second type of stem cell to date that can be grown in the lab from adult tissues.

Dr Wells is bringing her expertise from the Stemformatics programme to the Arthritis Research UK Rheumatoid Arthritis Pathogenesis Centre of Excellence and the University of Glasgow, where in 2013 she was appointed a Reader in Innate Genomics. Dr Wells has developed a collaborative hub for researchers to share data sets and collections from rheumatoid arthritis studies.

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