Imperial College London


Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Bioengineering

Reader in Biological Design



n.nakayama Website




B303ABessemer BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Naomi leads Biological Form and Function Lab in the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College London. Her group investigates 'How' and 'Why' living organisms have the shape and body plan they have and explores the application of such knowledge to solving knotted and wicked problems in our daily life, from sustainable agriculture to green technology.

Her research is highly interdisciplinary and collaborative, incorporating methods and concepts from multiple disciplines of biology and engineering, such as cell and developmental biology, synthetic biology, biomechanics, and material sciences. In particular, her group studies the design principles of biological structure and architecture, such as slender bodies, at multi-scales from cells to organ systems (e.g. hairs, fibres, shoots). They test key determinants of functional forms by the fabrication of artificial models and bio-fabrication via synthetic biology. 

To find more about her group and research, please visit the group website and her Google Scholar profile.

Prior to joining Imperial College in 2019 as a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor), Naomi was a group leader at the University of Edinburgh, first as a Chancellor's Fellow and then as a Royal Society University Research Fellow. She received a PhD in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from Yale University (USA) for molecular dissection of organ-identity-dependent differentiation in Arabidopsis petals and stamens. As a postdoctoral fellow at University of Bern (Switzerland) and École Normale Supérieure de Lyon (France), Naomi developed new methods for mechanical treatment and characterization of living tissues. 



Kocaoglan EG, Radhakrishnan D, Nakayama N, 2023, Synthetic developmental biology: molecular tools to re-design plant shoots and roots, Journal of Experimental Botany, Vol:74, ISSN:0022-0957, Pages:3864-3876

Mason SE, Nakayama N, 2023, Self-burying robot morphs wood to sow seeds, Nature, Vol:614, ISSN:0028-0836, Pages:415-416

Ohlendorf R, Tan NY-H, Nakayama N, 2023, Engineering Themes in Plant Forms and Functions, Annual Review of Plant Biology, Vol:74, ISSN:1543-5008, Pages:777-801

Seale M, Zhdanov O, Soons M, et al., 2022, Environmental morphing enables informed dispersal of the dandelion diaspore, Elife, Vol:11, ISSN:2050-084X

Nakayama N, Seale M, Kiss A, et al., 2022, Dandelion pappus morphing is actuated by radially patterned material swelling, Nature Communications, Vol:13, ISSN:2041-1723, Pages:1-13

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