Dr. Michelle Janas from GE Healthcare Life Sciences recently swapped a lab coat for legislation, when she visited Jenny Willott MP at the House of Commons for a “Week in Westminster” as part of a unique ‘pairing’ scheme run by the Royal Society – the UK’s national academy of science.
Dr. Janas is a Lead Scientist at GE Healthcare’s laboratories in Cardiff, Wales, where she is part of the team pioneering new technologies for cell therapy. During her visit, she shadowed Ms Willott MP to learn about her work. She also attended a House of Commons Science and Technology Committee meeting and Prime Minister’s Question Time, and met with Professor Sir John Beddington, Government Chief Scientific Advisor. The visit provided Dr. Janas with a behind-the-scenes insight into how science policy is formed as well as an understanding of the working life of an MP. Under the pairing scheme, Ms Willott will make a reciprocal visit to GE Healthcare.
Cell therapy, the use of cells to replace damaged tissue or treat disease, has the potential to help millions of patients suffering from life-threatening and life-limiting diseases like cancer and heart disease. Very much at the cutting edge of medicine, the UK Government recently announced a £50m investment into a new cell therapy technology innovation centre. GE Healthcare has established a global Centre of Excellence for Cell Technology Research at its facility in Cardiff, Wales.
Dr. Janas said: “I believe scientists have a role to play in helping to make innovations like cell therapy a reality through engagement with politicians and policy makers. It is exciting to be sharing my scientific experience with Ms Willott MP and I’m keen to further my understanding of how science policy is developed and communicated to the wider community.”
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