Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering core theme

Key biomaterials focussed activities in the Department of Materials include the development of new scaffolds for regenerative medicine, biomaterials characterisation, stem cell therapy, cell-materials interface engineering, self-assembled biomimetic copolymers and nanomaterials for biosensing applications. A large proportion of our work focuses on materials that can stimulate beneficial biological responses from the body, such as the stimulation of tissue repair.

Tissue engineering has the potential to achieve this by combining materials design and engineering with cell therapy. Biomaterials can provide physical supports for engineered tissues and powerful topographical and chemical cues to guide cells. Biomaterials engineering involves synthesis, processing, and characterisation of novel materials, including polymers, proteins, glasses, cements, composites and hybrids. Introducing nanoscale cues such as nanotopography or nanoparticles as therapeutic agents provide an exciting approach to modulate cell behaviour. In order to probe the cell-material interface, we are pioneering new analytical and non-invasive techniques such as high resolution electron microscopy and live cell bio-Raman micro-spectroscopy. We are developing new synthetic biocompatible polymeric materials with unprecedented function and probing their biological efficacy.

Another area in which our biomaterials activities are particularly exciting is the tailoring of inorganic nanoparticles such as gold and quantum dots with bioactive peptides so that they can act as reporters for the detection of enzyme activity. Ultrasensitive detection of enzymes related diseases such as cancer or infectious diseases is of huge global impact.

Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Staff

Dr Iain Dunlop

Dr Iain Dunlop is a Senior Lecturer in Biomaterials in the Department of Materials at Imperial College London. He is also the Undergraduate Admissions Tutor. 

His scientific background is in soft matter, with my doctoral work focusing on the fundamental physics of electrically-charged polymers at the solid-liquid interface.

Iain's research group exploits the full range of modern soft matter science, from functional nanoparticles to polymer gels to this purpose. Producing precisely defined biomaterials requires advanced characterization and we use methodologies including X-ray and neutron scattering and advanced optical and mechanical measurements. Applications span the full range from fundamental cell biology to applied clinical projects..

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Dr Theoni Georgiou

Dr Theoni Georgiou is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Materials at Imperial College London.

Her research interests involve synthesis and characterisation of polymers and their evaluation in a variety of applications like drug delivery, gene delivery, photothermal therapy etc. She is also interested in the self-assembly of multiblock copolymers, gels and stabilising dispersions or particles by using polymeric macrosurfactants.

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Research project titleFunding bodyStart date
Holistic integration of technology, design and policy for a greener plastic future Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) Jan 2019
Professor Julian Jones active research porfolio

Professor Julian Jones

Julian Jones is a Professor of Biomaterials and the Departmental Champion for Societal Engagement in the Department of Materials.

His research interests are in biomaterials for regenerative medicine. His work on process development of foamed gel-derived bioactive glass (the first 3D porous scaffold made from bioactive glass) and inorganic/ organic hybrids has produced tough and flexible bioactive scaffolds suitable for tissue engineering applications.

His research group consists of 18 PhD students and 5 PDRAs. The group's research interests involve the development of porous scaffolds for tissue engineering; novel 3D characterisation techniques of porous materials; the development of novel nanocomposite materials; therapeutic nanoparticles; processing of glasses, bioactive materials; sol-gel chemistry; protein adsoption to nanotextured materials; cell responses to biomaterials and non-invasive cell-material interaction analysis techniques.

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>> Watch Julian's Inaugural Lecture

Research project titleFunding bodyStart date
Production of high-quality, medical and pharmaceutical chitin and chitosan from squid pens Innovate UK Dec 2018
Additive manufacturing of advanced medical devices for cartilage regeneration: minimally invasive early intervention Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) Jul 2016
Advanced Acrylate Based Hybrid Materials for Osteochondral Regeneration -1 Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) Apr 2015
Professor Julian Jones active research porfolio

Professor Molly Stevens FREng

Professor Molly Stevens FREng is currently Professor of Biomedical Materials and Regenerative Medicine and the Research Director for Biomedical Material Sciences in the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College London.

Molly heads an extremely multidisciplinary research group of students and postdocs/fellows. The group is focused on both high quality fundamental science and translation for human health. Research in regenerative medicine within her group includes the directed differentiation of stem cells, the design of novel bioactive scaffolds and new approaches towards tissue regeneration.

She has developed novel approaches to tissue engineering that are likely to prove very powerful in the engineering of large quantities of human mature bone for autologous transplantation as well as other vital organs such as liver and pancreas, which have proven elusive with other approaches.

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Research project titleFunding bodyStart date
Exosomal lipidome as diagnostic proxy for early detection and phenotyping of solid tumours (Subproject of) Cancer Research UK Jun 2019
IRC Next Steps Plus: A Smartphone Powered miRNA Sequence Detector Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) Mar 2018
Conductive Polymer-based Materials for Cardiac Applications and Regenerative Medicine Rosetrees Trust Oct 2017
MyoGel: Developing a fibrosis therapy to treat myocardial infarct via an injectable functionalized extracellular matrix hydrogel Rosetrees Trust Aug 2017
qBioNano - Quantifying bio-nano interactions of nanoparticles through microfluidic live cell Raman spectroscopy Commission of the European Communities Aug 2017
Photosense - Photoacoustic and fluorescence imaging platform for biosensing applications: An innovative approach for the study of disease-related biomarkers Commission of the European Communities Aug 2017
Developing a Fibrosis Targeting and Tissue Reparative Therapy in the Infarcted Myocardium via an Injectable Functionalized Extracellular Matrix Hydrogel - FiTTeR Commission of the European Communities Aug 2017
Global Health; HEALTH AND SAFETY/MEDICAL SCIENCES/BIOMEDICAL; Health; Safety; Trauma National Institute for Health Research Aug 2017
Tissue Engineering of Ligament - IC Trust Imperial College Trust Jun 2017
EPSRC IRC in Early-Warning Sensing Systems for Infectious Diseases Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) Jan 2017
m-Africa: Building mobile phone-connected diagnostics and online care pathways to support HIV prevention and management in decentralised settings Medical Research Council (MRC) Apr 2017
Remote-Activated Delivery of Therapeutic Exosomes (RADoTE) via an Injectable PEG Hydrogel Carrier Commission of the European Communities Nov 2016
Engineering Growth Factor Microenvironments:  A New Therapeutic Paradigm For Regenerative Medicine Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) Oct 2016
Smartphone-based Point-of-Care Lateral Flow test for Whole Blood-based Detection of Ebola virus Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) Aug 2016
Widefield Raman imaging probe for intraoperative margin assessment of cancers Commission of the European Communities Apr 2016
Nanomedicine: An Integrative Approach Commission of the European Communities Jan 2016
Professor Molly Stevens active research porfolio

Professor Alexandra Porter

Professor Alexandra Porter is a Professor of Bioimaging and Analysis in the Department of Materials at Imperial College London

Her current interest is in correlating how corrosion and transformation of nano- and biomaterials in complex biological environments can be linked to their mechanisms of bioreactivity.  She also develops analytical TEM methods to detect low contrast, radiation sensitive materials in tissues (ERC starting grant to AP) and to enhance contrast from organic materials (BP-ICAM project).

Alexandra's research group uses analytical and 3-D electron microscopy techniques to elucidate of how bio or nanomaterials interact with cells and tissues. This analysis is used to inform on toxicology, cellular uptake and targeting of engineered nanoparticles for applications in nanomedicine and bone regeneration.

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Research project titleFunding bodyStart date
Nanopeptides for Treatment of Parkinson's Disease Michael J Fox Foundation Apr 2016
Multimodal Characterisation of Nanomaterials in the Environment NERC Dec 2015