Cardiff Met academic, Dr Barry Bentley, receives prestigious Fulbright Award

An academic from Cardiff Metropolitan University, Dr Barry Bentley, has received a Fulbright Award to enable him to research at Harvard University and Mass General Hospital, on one of the most well-regarded and impactful scholarship programmes in the world.

As a participant, Dr Bentley has been selected from a strong applicant pool to research new technologies to preserve cells, tissues, and organs by “freezing biological time”. With the chronic shortage of organs for transplantation in the UK, improving the ability to store organs could by some estimates prevent or delay up to 35% of all deaths annually.

The research, to be conducted at the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Advanced Technologies for the Preservation of Biological Systems (ATP-Bio), aims to revolutionise how biological systems are stored.

Professor Mehmet Toner, deputy director of ATP-Bio, and professor of surgery at Mass General and Harvard Medical School, added: “Given recent advances in cell and gene therapy as well as in whole organ transplantation, it has become paramount to store these living ‘products’ for efficient distribution across the globe to save lives.”

Commenting on receiving the Award, Dr Bentley said: “For a number of years, I have been concerned by the lack of mature technologies for storing tissues and organs, and the real consequences this has for patients and their families. I was elated on receiving news of the award, and am extremely grateful to the Fulbright Commission for the opportunity to contribute to this important research. I hope this will be the start of a long-term partnership between Harvard, Mass General, and Cardiff Met, that may eventually contribute to improving the health of people in the UK, US, and globally.”

Professor Jon Platts, Dean of Cardiff School of Technologies at Cardiff Metropolitan University was delighted with Dr Bentley’s news. “Barry’s achievements help to put Cardiff School of Technologies on the research map. Since our launch in February of 2018, we have managed to attract talented researchers like Barry to help us build our reputation. Seeing success like Barry’s gives everybody a lift and the whole school is delighted. We hope Barry has a really fruitful Fellowship”.

Maria Balinska, Executive Director, US-UK Fulbright Commission said: “Our vision is a world where there are no obstacles to learning, understanding and collaboration. Today there are many global challenges to overcome, and the world needs compassionate leaders to tackle them. This cohort of awardees will be placing cultural engagement at the heart of their experiences as they undertake ambitious study and research programmes in the US: I am filled with hope for the wonderful collaborations that will ensue.”

Scholar Bio:
Barry Bentley received his Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Cambridge, where he worked at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology. He now leads the Bioengineering Research Group at Cardiff Metropolitan University, and serves as Deputy Director of the EUREKA Robotics Centre.

Having worked across multiple disciplines, Barry has a diverse set of interests and a passion for problem solving and continuous learning. For a long time, Barry has been particularly interested in the prospect of long-term banking of biological materials, and its potential to increase the supply and accessibility of cells, tissues, and organs for human transplantation.

During the visit, Barry is looking forward to exploring the rich and charming history of Cambridge and Boston, and experiencing their thriving academic culture. Schedule permitting, whilst in the US he is also hoping to fulfil a lifelong dream of seeing a rocket launch from Kennedy Space Center.


About the US-UK Fulbright Commission:
The US-UK Fulbright Commission works to advance knowledge, promote civic engagement and develop compassionate leaders through education exchange between the peoples of the US and the UK. It is the only academic awards programme that operates on both sides of the Atlantic, providing grants for postgraduate study, research and teaching. Since 1948, tens of thousands of British and American citizens have participated in our programmes, enriching their educations, developing relationships, advancing their careers and making a difference in their communities, at home and abroad. The Fulbright Program of awards is now considered amongst the most prestigious scholarship awards globally, with 60 Nobel Laureates and 39 Heads of State/Government within its 390,000 global alumni.