Nexus home to Northern Cell Metrology Hub


Nexus has been unveiled as the home of the Northern Cell Metrology Hub, a new centre of innovation for clinical diagnostics and new medical technology.

This is the first step in a strategic partnership between the University of Leeds, Nexus, and the National Measurement Laboratory (NML).  

The Northern Cell Metrology Hub lab will share knowledge and equipment with Leeds’ Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology, and University students from across different disciplines, such as biological sciences and physics, can also work with the lab during their studies. 

Exciting collaboration

Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, said: “This partnership is the start of an exciting long-term collaboration between the University of Leeds and the NML, further developing our reputation as a national hub for medical technology innovation. We will be working closely with the NML, sharing vital knowledge and equipment through our Cellular Biology specialists at the University’s Astbury Centre.” 

Harry Barrazza, Relationship Development Director within the NML at LGC, added, “The NML recognises the excellence in clinical sciences research across the Leeds City Region, which is underpinned by the impressive facilities and expertise found at the University in Leeds.

“The Astbury Centre, for instance, is one of the best centres for structural biology and biological measurements across the UK – particularly for imaging and flow cell cytometry – which are complementary to NML’s cell metrology research strengths. In addition, the presence of a highly skilled pool of graduates in biological sciences in the region makes it easy to contemplate future plans for growth and engagement with other leading research groups at the university and beyond.” 

In addition to the University as partner, the new hub has local support from the Mayor of West Yorkshire, as well as the Yorkshire & Humberside Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) and Leeds NHS Trust.

West Yorkshire Mayor, Tracey Brabin, visited Nexus - the innovation community at the University of Leeds - as the new hub was launched on 31 March. 

Dr Martin Stow, Chair and Director at Nexus, said: “This is yet another huge accolade for Leeds City Region as a centre of excellence and innovation in healthcare and life sciences. As part of the Leeds Innovation Arc – the innovation neighbourhoods formed around our universities and the proposed new adult and children’s hospitals in the city – the new hub confirms Leeds’ status as a welcoming and thriving location for businesses and organisations which have a positive impact on people’s health and society’s wellbeing.” 

Innovative technology

The hub, which represents a new centre for the NML’s existing cell metrology capabilities in the UK, will support health and life science industries achieve safe, reliable, and productive solutions through innovative technology and will focus on the standardisation of cell measurements, using flow cytometry and bio-imaging techniques, for analysis of single cells. 

Professor Julian Braybrook, UK Government Chemist and Director of Science & Partnerships of National Laboratories, LGC, said: “Cells provide the structure and function for all living things. However, they are particularly complex to characterise robustly. Whilst the partnership coming together through this hub represents significant progress in our collaboration, I most look forward to our working together to develop new internationally leading approaches that support the greater understanding of biological measurement.” 

The Leeds hub is the first location in the North of England. It houses equipment including an Attune CytPix Flow Cytometer, which contains a microscope inside of the machine to enhance images of the cells, and a state-of-the art ultra-low freezer that is used for the long-term storage of cells and cell banks, keeping them at a temperature of -150degrees.  

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Picture Credit: National Measurement Laboratory.  

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