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Prof Martin Knight
BEng, MSc, PhD, FHEA

Prof Knight
Position: Professor of Mechanobiology, Director of Research
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8868
Location: 338, Engineering, Mile End
Feedback /
support hours:
(Please make an appointment as I may not always be available)
Websites: UK Cilia Network
Centre for Predictive in vitro Models
Networks: ORCiD Google Scholar LinkedIn
Expertise: My research is focussed on 'mechanobiology' or how living cells and tissues respond to physical forces. In particular I am interested in the role of the fascinating cellular structure known as the primary cilium (cilia in plural). My work also explores the development of organ-on-a-chip models incorporating biomechanical stimulation for predicting the performance of pharmaceuticals. I work on a variety of different diseases including osteoarthritis, tendonopathy and cancer and the development of novel therapeutics.
Research keywords: Primary cilia, Mechanosignalling, organ-on-a-chip, Biomechanics, Cartilage, Osteoarthritis, Inflammation, Cancer, Confocal and Super Resolution Microscopy.
SEMS Research Division:
Affiliations: Queen Mary & Emulate Organs-on-Chips Centre (Co-Director)
Centre for Predictive in vitro Models (Management Team)
Organ-on-a-chip Technologies Network (Co-Director)
Cilia Network UK (Management Team)
OATech Network (Theme lead for Biomechanics)
Fellow of the Higher Education Authority
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 the mechanisms involved. This area of mechanobiology has exciting potential application in medical therapeutics 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 100 papers and attracted over £8M of research funding including project grants from three UK research councils (EPSRC, BBSRC and MRC) as well as EU, Wellcome Trust and other charities.

Prof Knight is 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!