Division of Cell Matrix Biology & Regenerative Medicine

Organisation profile


Members of the Division of Cell Matrix Biology and Regenerative Medicine address fundamental questions in regenerative medicine, stem cell biology and the role of extracellular matrix in the building and repair of tissues.

Our research ranges from the mechanisms underpinning cell interactions with matrix in tissues, to understanding tissue development, stem cell biology and regeneration, through to clinical application, developing engineered tissues and delivering novel cell and gene therapies for patient benefit.

The work is multidisciplinary and collaborative, involving research into many different organs and tissues. Our research uses state of the art, enabling technologies such as super-resolution imaging, electron microscopy, genomics, proteomics, genome editing, nanomedicine, cell and gene therapies, including engineering and materials solutions.

Our research

Regenerative medicine

Regenerative medicine builds upon our understanding of the basic mechanisms in cell and developmental biology with the ultimate aim of translating this knowledge to improve the repair, replacement or regeneration of damaged tissues and organs following disease, injury or ageing.

Our strengths span bioengineering, biomaterials and tissue engineering, stem cells, developmental biology, cell-matrix biology, inflammation, wound healing and cell/gene therapies.

Our internationally leading themes that address unmet clinical needs include:

  • regenerating musculoskeletal tissues;

  • developing stem cell gene therapies for inherited genetic diseases;

  • renal tract regeneration;

  • developing therapies for nerve repair;

  • regulating inflammatory responses in tissue repair;

  • disease modelling for drug and therapeutic development;

  • wound healing and scarring.

Contact: Sue Kimber

Manchester Regenerative Medicine Network

The Manchester Regenerative Medicine Network is a cross-faculty multidisciplinary network at The University of Manchester. It brings together biologists, material scientists, bioengineers and clinicians with an interest in regenerative medicine aiming to repair, replace or regenerate damaged tissues, using cell or gene therapy and tissue engineering. 

The clean room facilities can be found here.

Co-directors: Adrian Woolf; Sue Kimber

Stem cell biology

The development of therapies using embryonic or adult stem cells requires a fundamental understanding of the developmental process.

Scientists in our division seek to understand new molecular pathways regulating pluripotent stem cells using ’omics technologies.

Others are seeking to apply human adult (musculoskeletal, neural and haematopoietic) and pluripotent (embryonic and induced pluripotent) stem cells to therapies in patients with disease and to produce in vitro disease models to generate novel repair-therapeutics.

Contact: Sue Kimber

Plastic and reconstructive surgery 

Plastic and reconstructive surgery at the University of Manchester consists of surgeons and scientists working side-by-side in the Blond McIndoe Laboratories. Our focus is on reconstruction of injured tissues including nerves, tendons, fascia, blood vessels, complex wounds and scarring, involving cell-based therapies and tissue-engineering approaches including the use of novel materials and 3D printing. Other research themes include limb saving and replacement strategies, rehabilitation after major trauma and global surgery.

Basic scientists, engineers and surgeons working collaboratively have developed novel interventions from bench to phase 1/2 clinical trials at the Department of Plastic Surgery, Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust. There are current clinical trials on peripheral nerve and tendon injuries, complex wounds and burns funded by the NIHR and industry.

We have training opportunities for surgeons through the NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship program which offers clinical and laboratory-based interdisciplinary projects.

Contact: Adam Reid

Cell matrix

Extracellular matrix is essential for multicellular animal life. It surrounds and supports cells and accounts for the majority of our body mass.

Dysregulation of matrix is a central process in the pathogenesis of major human chronic diseases affecting the cardiovascular system, the kidney, and musculoskeletal tissues, is a feature of multisystem cancers, and is a critical factor in fibrosis. Using new insight gained through multidisciplinary approaches and collaborative interactions between research groups, our aim is to understand the regulation of matrix in health and its dysregulation in disease.

Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix Research (WTCCMR)

Centre director: Rachel Lennon

The Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix Research is an interdisciplinary research centre based at The University of Manchester. Established in 1995, the Centre was successfully renewed in 2016, bringing together principal investigators from the Division with others from across the Faculty.

Head of division

Professor Christoph Ballestrem

Our researchers

View a list of researchers in the division


Professor Christoph Ballestrem
tel: +44 (0)161 275 1708
email: christoph.ballestrem@manchester.ac.uk

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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