Alopecia UK funds invested:  £4500

Further Alopecia UK funds committed:  £9000 (£6000 for Year 2 and £3000 for Year 3)

When:  December 2017

Project type:  PhD Studentship

Project Lead:  Teontor Simakou

Length of project: 3 years

Research Institute:  University of the West of Scotland (UWS)

Condition of interest:  Alopecia Areata

Funds being used for:  Year 1 time consumables cost including cell culture, nanokicking experiments and PCR as well as screening serum and faecal samples for autoimmune factors.

Overall Aim of the Project:

To treat alopecia areata using a non-chemical technology based on nanovibrations termed ‘Nanokicking’

Justification for research project:

UWS propose that in the future stem cell therapies will be key in developing regenerative therapies for many conditions, including those of the immune response. This project will study the application of nanoscale mechanical stimulation protocols, called ‘Nanokicking’ to manipulate the differentiation of cells that have immune function, thus impacting on the resolution of different immune conditions, such as autoimmune disorders, immunodeficiency and vaccine development. ‘Nanokicking’ has already been successful in the targeted differentiation of Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) to bone and shows huge potential for bone regeneration and bone disorders. UWS have data to suggest it can play a role in other tissue type development. In addition to providing insight into the immunological mechanisms underpinning human disease, the technology has the potential to provide in vitro models which could be exploited commercially.

Who is leading the project:

The project is being run by research student, Teontor Simakou, who is working as part of an interdisciplinary team of enthusiastic scientists, experts in biology and physics. Teontor has a good knowledge of immunology, immunoassays and molecular biology.  Teontor’s ambition is to learn how physics can boost biological applications and have a positive impact on global healthcare.