The University of Birmingham’s liver transplant research has been included in the UK’s 100 best breakthroughs for the significant impact it has had on people’s everyday lives.

The UK’s Best Breakthroughs list: ‘100+ Ways Universities Have Improved Everyday Life’, was compiled by Universities UK - the umbrella group for UK universities - as part of its MadeAtUni campaign which aims to change public perceptions of universities and bring to life the difference they make to people, lives and communities across the UK.

The University of Birmingham’s liver transplantation research has been included in the list, which also aims to demonstrate how UK universities are at the forefront of some of the world’s most important discoveries, innovations and social initiatives, including the discovery of penicillin and ultrasound scans to check the health of unborn babies.

The University of Birmingham has been at the forefront of liver transplantation since the pioneering work of Sir Peter Medawar who was awarded a Nobel Prize for his tissue grafting work.

Home to the largest liver transplant programme in Europe, last year saw the 5,000th liver transplant being performed across Birmingham Health Partners, a strategic alliance between the University of Birmingham, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust. 2017 also marked the 30th anniversary of the Centre for Liver Research at the University of Birmingham.

Researchers at the University of Birmingham are currently carrying out ground-breaking research using perfusion machines, which act like a life support machine for donor livers. This technology allows medics to assess whether an organ, once deemed too high risk for transplant, would function if it were to be transplanted. It comes as latest figures show that around 20 per cent of patients die whilst awaiting a liver transplant, while 400 livers donated each year are rejected as too high risk for transplantation.

Professor David Adams, Head of the College of Medical and Dental Sciences at the University of Birmingham and Director of Birmingham Health Partners, said: “It is a fantastic achievement for the university to be featured in the UK’s Best Breakthrough list.

“We’re extremely proud of the work of our academics and the difference they are making to people, lives and communities.

“The MadeAtUni campaign is an incredibly important initiative for the University of Birmingham as it allows students, alumni, the local community and the wider population to understand the work that we do and the impact it has.

“The liver transplantation research and work is the result of a 30-year collaboration between the University of Birmingham and our NHS partners and shows the power that close working between universities and the NHS brings to addressing major health problems.”

Professor Dame Janet Beer, President of Universities UK, said: “Universities really do transform lives. The technology we use every day, the medicines that save lives, the teachers who inspire – all come from UK universities and the important work being done by academics.

“The UK’s Best Breakthroughs list is a testament to the difference that universities make to people’s lives and we want everyone to join us in celebrating the work they do.”

For more information or to arrange interviews with the researchers please contact Emma McKinney, Communications Manager (Health Sciences), University of Birmingham, or call on +44 (0) 121 414 6681, or contact the press office out of hours on +44 (0) 7789 921 165.

  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries.