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Stem Cell Research Hits the Road

last modified Feb 20, 2019 02:49 PM
Two PhD students from the Wellcome – MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute are embarking on a 6000km journey in a customised Renault 4L to support children and schools in Morocco, and to raise awareness of stem cell research at a global scale.

Daniel and Marion.

PhD students Daniel and Marion.

On Thursday 21 February, Marion Perrin and Daniel Bode will set off from Biarritz in their bespoke Renault 4L for a ten-day adventure across France, Spain and Morocco as part of the iconic 4L Trophy rally. With GPS technology forbidden, all teams must navigate the sandy off-road terrain using only a map and compass.

The main purpose of the rally is to support the charity Enfants du Désert. As part of the rally, all participating teams will bring school supplies to be delivered to remote areas along the route, helping to providing equal opportunities for education regardless of location. Each year, the money raised and supplies delivered during the 4L Trophy help to school 20,000 children in the southern regions of Morocco.

Alongside this charitable work, Marion and Daniel will use the rally to engage a very diverse group of people with key messages from their stem cell research. “The rally brings together young students from all disciplines, seasoned mechanics and many locals along the route. Success in the rally is purposely built upon cooperation and communication. This provides a unique opportunity to spark new conversations about stem cell research, hear global voices and opinions, and feel the impact our work is having beyond Cambridge” said Daniel.

The Wellcome - MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute will take over the bonnet of the car, inviting anyone to complete the statement “In the future, stem cells will…” in an exercise to stimulate ideas about stem cell research. “This provides a wonderful opportunity to discover what people know about stem cell research and how they feel about the prospect of stem cell research leading to future innovations in healthcare. We will share what we learn from people we meet along the route on social media, to continue the conversation” explained Marion.

You can find out more about the rally and the team on their website, and donate to support their journey at