Dr Richard Balint

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Job title: Research Fellow
Division: School of Materials
Organisation: University of Manchester
Tags: Engineering, Fellowship: Postdoctoral, Researcher, The University of Manchester
Related theme: Engineering


Richard is a research fellow working at the University of Manchester. His work aims to combine synthetic biology with tissue engineering in order to create drug testing tools that are accurate, cheap and high-throughput.

My Fellowship

Pharmaceutical drug development is becoming increasingly more expensive and time consuming due to the lack of effective laboratory tissue/disease models that accurately predict drug efficacy and safety. In this fellowship Richard will address this challenge by combining synthetic biology with tissue engineering. Focusing on cardiac drug testing, Richard will re-programme stem cells through synthetic biology to automatically self-assemble into small, 0.5-1 mm diameter spherical heart tissue constructs (i.e. micro-hearts). Synthetic biologically engineered micro-hearts satisfy all the requirements of an effective cardiac drug testing tool, and are cheaper than currently used methodologies. As an effective and inexpensive drug testing tool they will help reduce the cost of drug development, helping the pharmaceutical industry, an £8.8 billion UK sector, survive and thrive. Cheaper and more effective cardiac drugs will lessen the £11 billion burden of cardiovascular diseases on the NHS, and improve the quality of life of the 7 million people living with these diseases today in the UK.

Career benefit of Fellowship

Richard’s career benefits from this fellowship greatly. It allows him to make a "discipline hop" into synthetic biology, that he believes would not have been possible otherwise. Synthetic biology as a scientific field has developed some impressive capabilities in the last decade. Through applying these to tissue engineering Richard will be able develop some revolutionary new techniques and technologies, and he now has the chance to explore these.