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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 Reader in Biomaterials in the Department of Materials at Imperial College London. 

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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Professor Theoni Georgiou

Professor Theoni Georgiou is a Professor 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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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

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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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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Dr Alessandra Pinna

Dr Alessandra Pinna is a Imperial College Research Fellow in the Department of Materials.

Her research interests focus on the design, synthesis and characterization of inorganic nanoparticles and nanocomposites (silica, ceria, SPION and gold) for biomedical applications with a particular interest in drug delivery and antioxidant system. The nanocomposite particles are used for the treatment of neuro-degenerative diseases, osteoporosis, cancer and tuberculous meningitis. 

Find out more about Alessandra.