28 April 2015

King visits UM institute MERLN

Today His Majesty King Willem-Alexander paid a working visit to the UM Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine (MERLN). The king was informed of the latest developments in regenerative medicine by his host, Professor Clemens van Blitterswijk, in the presence of UM Executive Board president Professor Martin Paul, Governor Theo Bovens and Mayor Onno Hoes.

Van Blitterswijk's research group is specialised in developing new technologies that can be applied in regenerative medicine. One area of his group's research is in the development of 'smart' biomaterials to repair tissue using the patient's own stem cells.

Three clinically relevant themes were discussed during the working visit: regeneration of the locomotor apparatus, cardiovascular system and organs. Each theme showed how the interaction between universities, university spin-offs and industry can contribute to the quality of life, the quality of science and the strength of the Dutch economy. 

The king discussed these themes with the scientists and business people who are involved in the various stages of the process: from developing the idea, transforming the idea into a spin-off company (such as Materiomics), the transition from a spin-off to an SME that sells products (such as Xeltis) and development into a major, large-turnover, international company (such as Medtronic). The king later visited the MERLN laboratory where researchers briefly explained to him the different technologies they were working on.