Prof Hazel Screen
BEng MRes PhD(Lond) CEng

 
 
 

Research Funding

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Current Funded Research Projects

Organ-on-a-chip Centre of Excellence

Funding source: Emulate Inc.
Start: 20-08-2019  /  End: 19-09-2023
Amount: £525375

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/

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

Funding source: MRC Medical Research Council
Start: 24-08-2020  /  End: 23-08-2023
Amount: £504557

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

Modulating tendon micromechanics for injury prevention or management

Funding source: EPSRC & TRB Chemedica
Start: 02-10-2017  /  End: 01-10-2021
Amount: £140000

We are working with TRB Chemedica to understand how bio-lubricants may modulate local tendon mechanics and help manage or prevent tendon injury

Organ-on-a-Chip Technologies Network

Funding source: MRC Medical Research Council
Start: 01-08-2018  /  End: 31-07-2021
Amount: £479339

We are excited to host the UKRI Technology Touching Life funded Organ-on-a-Chip Network out of QMUL. The network aims to bring together the vibrant, multidisciplinary UK research community interested in developing and using organ-on-a-chip models and support the on going exciting research activity in this field.

Identifying the causes of age-related tendon injury

Funding source: DMT Dunhill Medical Trust, The
Start: 01-10-2018  /  End: 31-03-2021
Amount: £190374

The primary goal of this project is to establish how and where in tendon tendinopathy originates, and to define how the age-related changes in tendon accelerate progression to tendinopathy. Our goal is to identify the specific IFM changes that drive increased injury risk with ageing. This is exciting as we can then continue, in future studies, to develop treatments specifically aimed at preventing, reversing, or mitigating the effects of these changes.

Previous Funded Research Projects

THaCH - The effects of hypercholesterolemia on tendon health

Funding source: Commission of the European Community / Commission of the European Community
Start: 31-08-2016  /  End: 21-08-2020

Musculoskeletal diseases cause pain and suffering to millions of people worldwide. This proposal aims to significantly enhance our understanding of hypercholesterolemia on aspects of tendon health, a highly under-researched area and one of significant clinical importance. The findings from the proposed research are likely to have major implications for orthopedic sciences and preventative medicine as well as rehabilitation services, strategies and technology. Such knowledge has the potential to improve quality of life and reduce socio-economic costs associated with the disability resulting from orthopedic and musculoskeletal diseases.

Development of a synovium-chondrocyte organ-on-a-chip model with integrated biomechanical stimulation

Funding source: EPSRC OA Tech Network plus Pump-Priming Project Grant
Start: 01-07-2019  /  End: 31-12-2019

We plan to develop an organ-on-a chip microfluidic model to investigate the effects of mechanical stimulation on the interaction between musculoskeletal cells within the joint. This chip will incorporate the multiple cell types seen in cartilage and the surrounding synovial environment to mimic human tissue architecture, cellular microenvironment and signalling.

Measuring local strain distributions through the equine SDFT as a novel indicator of injury risk: effective injury management and prevention

Funding source: Horserace Betting Levy Board
Start: 01-07-2016  /  End: 10-05-2019

In this project we are developing novel uses of ultrasound imaging, to investigate the strains in the equine SDFT during use. We think that alterations in strain fields in the tendon occur during injury and by finding methods to measure these we can more easily manage tendon health

The inter-fascicular matrix mediates tendon fatigue resistance: Do age related changes lead to tendinopathy?

Funding source: Arthritis Research UK
Start: 06-01-2014  /  End: 05-06-2017

This project investigates three functionally distinct human tendons, in order to establish the differences in structure, composition and mechanics that facilitate tendon healthy function. This allows us to probe the key factors that lead to tendon injury and establish why some individuals have such injury prone tendons.

Tendon Inter-fascicular Matrix for Long-term Tendon Health

Funding source: Horserace Betting Levy Board
Start: 01-04-2015  /  End: 31-03-2017

We are looking to understand the development of the interfascicular matrix (IFM) in the horse to establish how this critical structure develops. This opens up exciting opportunities to develop approaches, such as training or conditioning, to manage IFM development or repair from injury, to maintain tendon health

Age Related Deterioration of Tendon Mechanical Function

Funding source: B.B.S.R.C.
Start: 01-05-2013  /  End: 11-11-2016

We have been showing how ageing influences the mechanics and function of the tendon matrix, particularly altering the interfascicular matrix. These changes are likely associated with the increased risk of tendon injury with ageing, providing insights into the process of tendon degeneration

The role of high frequency loading in the treatment of tendinopathy.

Funding source: ORTHOPAEDIC RESEARCH UK
Start: 01-10-2012  /  End: 30-09-2015

This project focused on the effects of 10Hz loading on tendon cells, hypothesising improved tendon repair under such higher frequency loading. Data has demonstrated increased matrix turnover when tenocytes are exposed to loading at 10Hz relative to 1Hz

A platform to study tenocyte mechanotransduction

Funding source: National Institutes of Health R21
Start: 01-06-2012  /  End: 31-05-2014

Investigating cell mechanotransduction requires a highly controlled cell environment within which the effects of mechanical stimuli can be characterised. This project developed a hydrogel scaffold material able to apply physiologically relevant strains to tenocytes and specifically investigated the effects of different peptides for cell attachment, their effects of integrin binding. We showed how altering the integrins linking cell and matrix influenced cell metabolism and matrix turnover.

Tendon ageing and implications for mechanics and injury

Funding source: Horserace Betting Levy Board
Start: 01-10-2010  /  End: 01-10-2013

This Horse Race Betting Levy Board funded grant has a focus on improving quality of life for race horses, and understanding why some horses are susceptible to chronic tendinopathy, the incidence of which increases wigh ageing. We are looking at degeneration in the core of the equine superficial digital flexor ...

Fatigue Damage in tendon tissue

Funding source: Wellcome Trust
Start: 01-04-2009  /  End: 31-03-2013

This Wellcome funded project is interested in how fatigue accumulates in our tissues, and how overloading can lead to localised structural damage. We are interested in characterising this damage and the effect is has on cell mechanics in order to determine how fatigue may accumulate in different tendons, and its ...

Mechanics and Biology of Human Tendinopathy

Funding source: Arthritis Research UK
Start: 12-01-2009  /  End: 11-01-2013

This ARC funded grant aims to increase our understanding of tendinopathy in human tissues, to determine how and why it develops in different tendons, and why some people seem more susceptible to damage. We are hypothesising that the development of the condition is driven by microdamage in the tissue combined ...

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy for Achilles Tendinopathy

Funding source: KTA Scheme 3
Start: 01-05-2011  /  End: 30-04-2012

Shockwave therapy has been reported to be successful in the treatment of tendinopathy. However, there is little information concerning how it may treat the condition. This project used microdialysis to investigate the cellular response to shockwave therapy in healthy and tendinopathic tendons, highlighting how the treatment initiates an inflammatory response, which may be critical for tendon repair

Previous PhD Studentship Projects

The role of elastin in tendon function

Funding source: Institute of Bioengineering - Bonfield Studentship
Start: 14-09-2014  /  End: 13-09-2017

Some tendons work to store energy and release it during use, significantly improving the energetic cost of locomotion. There is currently little understanding of how these tendons function, but they are know to contain a small amount of elastin and our preliminary data suggests this is critical to tendon mechanics, This project investigates the organisation and function of elastin in tendon mechanical behaviour, hypothesising that it is ciritical for healthy tendon function.

The role of primary cilia in tendinopathy

Funding source: Institute of Bioengineering EPSRC PhD Studentship
Start: 10-10-2013  /  End: 20-06-2017

Tendon is mechanosensitive, maintaining tissue health in response to applied loads. Overload is a key contributor to the development of tendon pathologies, know as tendinopathies; a range of highly debilitating and increasingly prevalent conditions2-3. However, the mechanisms associated with tendinopathy development remain unclear. Current evidence supports a combined mechanical ...

Heart Valve Structure and Mechanics

Funding source: China Scholarship
Start: 30-09-2010  /  End: 01-10-2015

The EPSRC funded PhD project is interested in the mechanics of the aortic valve, as we try to determine how the structure tolerates extremely high deformations and rapid loading rates. By understanding the tissue structure throughout the hierarchy, we hope to establish the role of each structural component and how ...

Fibre composite materials for tendon tissue engineering

Funding source: Arthritis Research UK
Start: 01-09-2011  /  End: 31-08-2014

We have developed a novel fibre composite hydrogel material for investigating mechanotransduction processes in soft fibrous tissues. In this AR UK funded grant, we are looking at how the cells help produce new matrix,and how to optimise this process. This has exciting implcations for the development of new tissue ...

Other Research Projects

The use of Traumeel in treating muscle injury

Traumeel® is a combination formulation of 12 botanical substances and 1 mineral substance used as an anti-inflammatory. It is officially classified as a homeopathic combination remedy, and is gaining popularity as a treatment for injection into damaged muscle, to stimulate rapid repair. Whilst there have been one or two...

The role of Eccentric Loading in Tendon Rehabilitation (PhD Studentship)

Eccentric loading involves working muscles as they are extending in length. It is the most effective non-surgical treatment for Achilles tendinopathy, but the mechanisms through which is facilitates tendon repair remain unknown. This project is an in vivo analysis of tendon mechanics during eccentric loading, to determine how the loading ...