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Reflections on BioWales 2014

7 March 2014

e94bc11087391df2c311d72a484517c7BioWales is the flagship event for the Life Science Sector in Wales. a government initiative. This year, held in the Millennium Centre, it has been a very up-beat affair in a fabulous setting. Wales is taking developments in the sector seriously: Professor Chris McGuigan confirmed the opening of the Life Sciences Hub this Summer, with very high profile companies like GE Healthcare buying in. We saw pictures of the build: its going to be a superb front door for the industry in Wales. Exactly the investment that’s needed, though it has to be said, still no news of funding for a much needed Science Park in Wales.

Dr Brian Jenkins and I attended to hear the great and the good of the sector. My own personal highlight of the meeting was the whole first session on day 2:
1. Professor Yves-Alain Barde, the newly head hunted Ser Cymru Research Chair, explained beautifully his ground breaking work with Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor and use of embryonic stem cells to generate neurons;
2. Mr Brock Reeve, Exec Director Harvard Stem Cell Institute, the huge and successfully coordinated translational organisation he heads is an exemplar, showing what can be achieved with joined up thinking and drive;
3. Dr Ilyas Khan, Lecturer in Regenerative Medicine, Swansea University, doing remarkable things in reversing degenerative change in Osteoarthritis. Swansea University made a very good show overall at the meeting: very well done.

Naturally, Brian and I wanted to do some networking for Anaesthetics, Intensive Care and Pain Medicine. We did not fail. We made contacts with Welsh Government Innovation and a brilliant contact, Rob Elias (Beacon) from Bangor University with whom we will certainly collaborate in materials. It was good talking to the people from Simbec, MediWales (always with a finger on the pulse), and our friends the architects Nightingale. There were many others. Renishaw sponsored a magnificent dinner set on the stage of the Welsh National Opera, complete with an opera singer. All in all, it certainly was worth attending.

Professor Judith Hall