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School of Engineering and Materials Science

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Prof Martin Knight BEng, MSc, PhD, FHEA

 
Prof Knight
Position: Professor of Mechanobiology
Director of Research, School Executive Team
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8868
Location: 303b, Eng, Mile End
Email: m.m.knight@qmul.ac.uk
Websites: » UK Cilia Network
» QMUL Institute of Bioengineering
Networks:
Expertise: My research is focussed on 'mechanobiology' or how living cells and tissues respond to physical forces. In particular I am interested in the mechanical properties of living cells and tissues and the role of the fascinating cellular structure known as the primary cilium (cilia in plural). I work with a variety of different cell types including cartilage cells, tendon cells, cancer cells and stem cells helping to understand important diseases such as osteoarthritis, tendonopathy and cancer.
Research keywords: Primary cilia, Mechanosignalling, Cell and Tissue Biomechanics, Cartilage, Osteoarthritis, Inflammation, Tendonopathy, Cancer, Ageing, Confocal and Super Resolution Microscopy.
Affiliations: Fellow of the Higher Education Authority
EPSRC OATech Network - Theme lead for Biomechanics
Cilia Network UK coordinator
Journal Editor - Scientific Reports, Cilia
EPSRC engineering panel member
British Society for Cell Biology Ambassador

Brief Biography

Martin Knight is a Professor of Mechanobiology and a Bioengineer based at Queen Mary University of London. His research examines how living cells and tissues within our bodies ?sense and respond? to mechanical forces. This includes understanding the biological response as well as the biomechanical properties of cells and tissues and how these change with ageing and disease. We know that mechanical forces are essential for the health of our tissues and yet we don't properly understand how the cells and tissues sense and respond to these mechanical forces. This area of mechanobiology has exciting potential application in various medical therapies from regenerative medicine to pharmaceuticals.

Prof Knight's research group are examining the role of mechanobiology in a variety of conditions including ageing, cancer, tendonopathy, inflammation and osteoarthritis. A particular focus of their research involves the role of 'primary cilia' in mechanobiology. These fascinating hair-like cellular structures have been largely ignored since their discovery a 100 years ago. However, Prof Knight's group have now shown that primary cilia are involved in mechanobiology and inflammation in the articular cartilage present within our joints. His group are now investigating the role of primary cilia in other tissues and diseases.

Prof Knight has always been interested in biomedical engineering but his first degree was in mechanical engineering. He then progressed to an MSc and then a PhD specialising in bioengineering. In 2000 he was awarded a prestigeous EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship in cartilage mechanobiology and tissue engineering and was promoted to Reader in 2009 and Professor in 2012. He has published over 80 papers and attracted over £5M of research funding including project grants from all three UK research councils (EPSRC, BBSRC and MRC) as well as EU, Wellcome Trust and other charities.

Prof Knight is now the Director of Research at the School of Engineering and Materials Science at Queen Mary University of London and a member of the Senior Executive Team for the School. He is also actively involved in teaching biomedical engineering. Prof Knight has a strong interest in promoting the public understanding of science and has led a wide range of science communication activities including the development of several interactive games at the Centre of the Cell science education centre.

Outside work Martin enjoys the 'great outdoors' and has had many enjoyable expeditions to wilderness areas including Alpine treks, canoeing in the Everglades, cycling in the Hebrides and others, many of these with his family. He is interested in wildlife and environmental issues and is also a potter and a fly fisherman and grows the best runner beans!
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