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Newcastle stem cell professor to leave UK

16 September 2005
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 326

Stem cell researcher Professor Miodrag Stojkovic, head of the pioneering Newcastle team that was granted the first UK licence to clone human embryos, has announced that he is leaving the UK for a better funded position in Spain. Professor Stojkovic's team worked closely with Professor Alison Murdoch, head of the Newcastle Fertility Clinic, and became only the second team worldwide, and the first in Europe, to clone a human embryo. Christopher Edwards, Vice-Chancellor at Newcastle University, said that it would be a 'great loss' but that Newcastle could not compete with the offer from Spain. Professor Fred Wright, chief executive of the Centre for Excellence for Life Sciences at Newcastle University, said 'Miodrag is a very well known scientist and, like lots of scientists, he can be wooed by a cheque-book'.

The Newcastle labs used by Professor Stojkovic and his team had benefitted from six million pounds of regional investment from the development agency One NorthEast. Professor Stojkovic, originally from Serbia, who joined the Newcastle research centre in 2003, will move to the newly-built £274 million Prince Felipe Research Centre in Valencia, Spain. He will take up a post as deputy director of regenerative medicine.

The departure of Stojkovic, one of the best known scientists working on cutting edge research in the UK, heightens fears of a so-called 'brain-drain' and highlights concerns that more British scientists could leave the UK, without increased investment into research and facilities. Sir Chris Evans, the biotechnology entrepreneur and chairman of Merlin Biosciences, warned: 'now that the UK is building up a critical mass of excellence in stem cells and related fields, we need to be maximising our impact and stop these good people leaving as best we can'.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Clone Pioneer Setback
The Times |  16 September 2005
Genetic scientist leaves UK for Spain
The Guardian |  15 September 2005
Leading geneticist to quit Britain
The Daily Mail |  16 September 2005
Top genetic scientist quits UK for cash-rich post abroad
The Herald |  16 September 2005
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