Current research funding in Bioengineering
£12,583,262

Bioengineering

Funded Research Projects

The following are current externally funded research projects taking place within the Division of Bioengineering at Queen Mary University of London. (The funding values represents the QMUL portion in multi centre grants)

Mapping populations to patients
Mapping populations to patients: designing optimal ablation therapy for atrial fibrillation through simulation and deep learning of digital twin


Principal Investigator: Caroline RONEY
Funding source: UKRI Medical Research Council
Start: 01-11-2022  /  End: 31-10-2026

We will combine biophysical simulation and deep learning methods with a longitudinal digital twin approach to optimise risk prediction and choice of therapy for atrial fibrillation. We aim to move predictions from the acute response to the long-term response; from the average patient to an individual patient; from standard treatments to any treatment approach; from small patient cohorts to large virtual trials; and from long simulation times to short clinical timescales.

Tomo-SAXS: Imaging full-field molecular-to-macroscale biophysics of fibrous tissues


Principal Investigator: Himadri GUPTA
Funding source: EPSRC Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Start: 01-01-2021  /  End: 25-10-2025
Amount: £451,556

This project will combine X-ray phase-contrast tomographic imaging and small-angle X-ray scattering to develop a path-breaking new technique - TomoSAXS – for the multiscale biophysics of tissues. We will develop advanced reconstruction algorithms to generate full-field 3D images of molecular to macroscale soft tissue structure, using the intervertebral disc as a prototypical organ.

logo for versus arthritis
Human synovium-cartilage organ-chip for personalised surgical screening


Principal Investigator: Timothy HOPKINS
Co-investigator(s): Martin KNIGHT
Funding source: Versus Arthritis
Start: 01-04-2022  /  End: 31-03-2025
Amount: £311,203

Scientists at Queen Mary University of London are creating a human knee-on-a-chip device to understand how arthritis develops in individual patients and to test treatment strategies. The so-called organ-on-a-chip will consist of living cells taken from the knee joints of patients with osteoarthritis. The cells from patient’s cartilage and other tissues within the knee, will be grown within the laboratory in a carefully bioengineering organ-on-a-chip and used to understand which patients respond well to treatment. This will ultimately allow clinicians to optimise therapies to individual patients in an approach known as precision medicine or personalised medicine.

British Heart Foundation – 4 year Doctoral Training Programme


Principal Investigator: Amrita Ahluwalia
Co-investigator(s): David LEE
Funding source: British Heart Foundation
Start: 01-09-2017  /  End: 31-08-2024
Amount: £2,300,000

Led by Professors Amrita Ahluwalia and Tim Warner and involving 23 named researchers, the BHF DTP Programme provides cohort training leading to a PhD in cardiovascular research.

KTP with Lucideon:  Cell testing to assist development of novel biomaterials
KTP with Lucideon: Cell testing to assist development of novel biomaterials


Principal Investigator: Karin HING
Co-investigator(s): Simon RAWLINSON
Funding source: Innovate UK
Start: 17-02-2021  /  End: 17-02-2024
Amount: £249,854

The aim of this programme is to transfer and embed knowledge of in vitro cell testing from QMUL to Lucideon to enable them to offer clients integrated physico-chemical and biological characterisation of materials used in medical devices & implants to improve the safety & efficacy of healthcare treatments.

An Emulate microfluidic organ-chip
Organ-on-a-chip Centre of Excellence


Principal Investigator: Martin KNIGHT
Co-investigator(s): Hazel SCREEN and Clare THOMPSON
Funding source: Emulate Inc.
Start: 20-08-2019  /  End: 31-12-2023
Amount: £525,375

The QM-Emulate Organs-on-Chips Centre provides access to Emulate’s Organs-on-Chips technology to enable researchers to develop organ models of their design to expedite their experiments. Expert staff are on hand to support with training and use of the platform as well as pushing forward new organ-on-a-chip research projects led by Knight and Screen. The Centre also provides opportunities for collaboration with Emulate and support for commercialisation and translational impact. The centre is part of the new Centre for Predictive in vitro Models (CPM). Visit the web site to see full details of this and the new Emulate centre: https://www.cpm.qmul.ac.uk/emulate/

The regulation of mechanosensing in healthy and atherosclerotic VSMC
The regulation of mechanosensing in healthy and atherosclerotic VSMC


Principal Investigator: Thomas ISKRATSCH
Funding source: BHF British Heart Foundation
Start: 01-12-2020  /  End: 30-11-2023
Amount: £238,021

Vascular smooth muscle cellsplay a central role in the onset and progression of many cardiovascular diseases, from atherosclerosis to vascular injury, where their migration, matrix secretion, or degradation functions are deregulated. Here we are investigating how the phenotypic switch is regulated through physical/mechanical stimuli.

A Biophysical Model of Gum Reintegration on enamel


Principal Investigator: Julien GAUTROT
Funding source: GSK GlaxoSmithKline UK Ltd
Start: 01-10-2019  /  End: 30-09-2023
Amount: £32,000

Diagram showing omental metastasis in high grade serous ovarian cancer
Targeting the innate immune system in high grade serous ovarian cancer


Principal Investigator: Fran Balkwill
Co-investigator(s): Olive Pearce, Daniellea Loessner, Michel Lockley, R Manchanda, Quezada S and Martin KNIGHT
Funding source: CRUK
Start: 01-10-2018  /  End: 01-09-2023
Amount: £2,028,756

This 5-year CRUK Programme Grant is led by Prof Fran Balkwill from Barts Cancer Institute with a multidisciplinary team of co-investigators including Prof Martin Knight representing cancer bioengineering and mechanobiology.

Bottom up structuring of liquids without external fields or molds.
Manufacturing of anisotropic nano and micro- particles.
Molecular Manufacturing of Macroscopic Objects - fellowship Stoyan Smoukov


Principal Investigator: Stoyan SMOUKOV
Funding source: EPSRC Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Start: 01-09-2018  /  End: 31-08-2023
Amount: £1,180,624

This interdisciplinary proposal proposes a molecular basis for Manufacturing for the Future,[a1] to grow many types of particles in a nature-inspired way. It offers scalability, near-full utilization of the material, and the ability to carry out transformations at near ambient conditions. Manufacturing in nature spans the scales from intricate ...

Cells growing at the surface of oil droplets
Engineered Protein Nanosheets at Liquid-Liquid Interfaces for Stem Cell Expansion, Sorting and Tissue Engineering


Principal Investigator: Julien GAUTROT
Funding source: EU Commission - Horizon 2020
Start: 01-09-2018  /  End: 31-08-2023
Amount: £2,011,161

ProLiCell will design the biochemical and mechanical properties of extracellular matrix (ECM) protein nanosheets that can sustain the formation of adhesion protein complexes and support cell proliferation and culture on materials with very weak bulk mechanical properties (liquids).

MICA: Organ-on-a-chip models for safety testing of regenerative medicine products
MICA: Organ-on-a-chip models for safety testing of regenerative medicine products


Principal Investigator: Hazel SCREEN
Co-investigator(s): Martin KNIGHT
Funding source: MRC Medical Research Council
Start: 24-08-2020  /  End: 23-08-2023
Amount: £504,557

We are building novel organ-on-a-chip models of our musculoskeletal tissues, to learn more about disease processes and how this might be managed with regenerative medicine approaches

Fibrillar level mechanisms underlying transient change in pre-strain in cartilage: Under loading, loss of water molecules and structural collapse in the proteoglycan network lead a transient reduction of pre-strain (reduction in D-period) in the collagen
The mechanics of the collagen fibrillar network in ageing cartilage


Principal Investigator: Himadri GUPTA
Co-investigator(s): Martin KNIGHT
Funding source: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Start: 01-10-2017  /  End: 24-07-2023
Amount: £371,095

We seek to understand how age-related changes in articular cartilage link to alterations in its nanoscale mechanics – and eventually to joint breakdown. We use high-brilliance synchrotron X-ray scattering to track fibrillar deformation dynamics in the matrix (hydrated proteoglycans restrained by collagen fibrils), combined with proteomics to assess compositional changes. https://gtr.ukri.org/projects?ref=BB%2FR003610%2F1

Proposed Emulate bone metastasis organ-chip
Organ-on-a-chip model of breast cancer bone metastases


Principal Investigator: Martin KNIGHT
Co-investigator(s): Oliver PEARCE
Funding source: CR-UK Cancer Research UK
Start: 01-12-2020  /  End: 31-05-2023
Amount: £268,711

Background A common site for invasive ductal carcinomas (IDC) metastasis is bone, affecting about 70% of patients. Once metastasis to bone has occurred the five-year survival rate drops from 99% to 29%.  How breast cancer metastasises to bone is poorly understood, partly because of the lack of appropriate models. Organ-on-a-chip technology is …

3D-photoelectrochemical imaging will be implemented using porous light-addressable semiconductors on FTO coated glass.
3D Photoelectrochemical Imaging in Porous Light-Addressable Structures


Principal Investigator: Steffi KRAUSE
Co-investigator(s): Joe BRISCOE, Thomas ISKRATSCH and Bo ZHOU
Funding source: EPSRC Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Start: 04-01-2021  /  End: 30-04-2023
Amount: £202,248

The project aims to develop a photoelectrochemical imaging system for mapping of electrochemical processes in three dimensions within porous electrode structures. The new technology will aid the development of novel electrode materials for energy harvesting devices and be suitable for in-situ 3D functional imaging in 3D tissue culture.

UKRMP2 Acellular / Smart Materials


Principal Investigator:
Funding source: MRC Medical Research Council
Start: 06-04-2018  /  End: 15-04-2023
Amount: £40,983

Cardiomyocyte on PDMS nanopillar
Investigating the cardiomyocyte rigidity sensing mechanism with micro patterned surfaces and nanopil


Principal Investigator: Thomas ISKRATSCH
Funding source: BBSRC Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Start: 01-02-2019  /  End: 31-03-2023
Amount: £490,545

The composition and the stiffness of the cardiac extracellular matrix change during development or in heart disease. Cardiomyocytes and their progenitors sense these changes, which decides over Cardiomyocyte fate. Our preliminary data suggested a cardiomyocyte specific rigidity sensing mechanism which we will investigate here in detail.

Graphene layer (Getty Image)
Graphene Flagship Core Project 3


Principal Investigator: James BUSFIELD
Co-investigator(s): Nick DUGGAN, Yang HAO, , Dimitrios PAPAGEORGIOU, Wei TAN, Colin CRICK, Han ZHANG, Himadri GUPTA and Nicola PUGNO
Funding source: EU Commission - Horizon 2020
Start: 01-04-2020  /  End: 31-03-2023
Amount: £376,501

This grant will cofund the establishing of a mini-CDT with 5 PhD studentships in Graphene materials at QMUL.

The instrument will combine two electrochemical imaging techniques which measure cell responses apically and basally.
Combined LAPS and SICM for multimodal live cell imaging


Principal Investigator: Steffi KRAUSE
Co-investigator(s): Wen WANG and Jon GORECKI
Funding source: EPSRC Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Start: 01-09-2018  /  End: 28-02-2023
Amount: £571,839

A novel instrument will be developed that will revolutionise the ability to monitor cellular processes and cell communication in polarised cells by simultaneously imaging cells apically and basally. This will provide information about apical cell morphology and basal ion concentrations and electrical signals such as cell surface charge and impedance.

Emulate Organs-on-Chips Centre Technician


Principal Investigator: Martin KNIGHT
Co-investigator(s): Hazel SCREEN and Clare THOMPSON
Funding source: Emulate Inc.
Start: 01-01-2021  /  End: 31-12-2022
Amount: £49,584

Body-worn sensor
Body-Worn Sensor for Point-of-Care Vascular Access Monitoring


Principal Investigator: Lei SU
Funding source: EPSRC Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Start: 01-10-2021  /  End: 31-12-2022
Amount: £378,651

In this project, we will develop a body-worn sensor for cardiovascular monitoring, particularly to address a long-standing clinical challenge in vascular access health surveillance.