UT doctoral student developing gelatine scaffolds for skin cells
The University of Tartu Foundation granted the first Valda and Bernard Õun scholarship of 5000 euros to the research of doctoral student of the Faculty of Science and Technology Kaido Siimon who is developing gelatine–based scaffolds for skin cells that can be used for transplants.
Kaido Siimon who was awarded the grant says that bio- and regenerative medicine are quickly evolving and growing areas where Estonia could develop a stable and profitable knowledge-intensive industry if there is supplementary funding from the state and effective involvement of the private sector.
In his research, Siimon and his colleagues have mainly focused on developing scaffolds for skin cells that are suitable for transplants. “In case of more serious injuries, for example large burns, the tissue might not recover completely by itself. The aim of our work is to create, in cooperation between materials scientists, doctors, cellular biologists, physicists and chemists, materials with such properties that they enable the full recovery of the damaged tissue and can be used to grow the complete tissue in the laboratory using healthy cells from the patient’s own body,” said Siimon.
The commission of the Valda and Bernard Õun scholarship which consisted UT Professor of Molecular Immunology Pärt Peterson, Director of the UT Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology Toivo Maimets and Professor of Immunology Raivo Uibo, supported Siimon’s nomination unanimously but they also admitted that it was a difficult choice.
Professor Peterson said that in addition to the high quality of science, the interdisciplinary side of Siimon’s research, which aims to develop new materials for biomedicine using nanotechnology solutions, was also noteworthy.
“Biomedicine has huge potential and supporting the talents in this field is an important investment in the future, especially taking into consideration the current lack of state funding for young scientists,” added Peterson.
The basic capital of the UT Foundation’s Valda and Bernard Õun Memorial Fund is formed of the 500 000 euro donation allocated to the foundation in the will of Valda Õun. The aim of the fund is to recognise the research of UT master’s and doctoral students in the area of biomedicine.
Additional information: Kaido Siimon, UT doctoral student, first winner of the Valda and Bernard Õun scholarship, e–mail: kaido.siimon [ät] ut.ee;
Pärt Peterson, UT Professor of Molecular Immunology, representative of the benefactor’s family, tel. 737 4202, e-mail: part.peterson [ät] ut.ee.