CDT Student Testimonials

  • While the lifETIME CDT has not yet started and is recruiting its first students this year, we provide some testimonial from some of our existing PhD students.

    Alvaro

    Driven by a desire to shape the current state of medicine, I saw the PhD as the opportunity to learn and focus on biomaterials and regenerative medicine, getting involved in the field and meeting other professionals with similar interests and motivations.

    My research goal is to understand how biomaterials can be integrated with different cell types to be used in a fabrication process called bioprinting. In my programme,we work closely with a Biotech company, BiogelXLtd., on developing novel Bioinks for 3D printed bone grafts.Bioprinting is an amazing technique,that ultimately takes us one step closer to printing artificial tissues or organs, bringing sci-fi into the real life.

    For everyone who might be interested, I have 3 key aspects for which I think CEMI is the perfect place to do a PhD: ability to produce and work on state-of-the-art science, highly regarded university with close industrial partnerships and research networks, and an international, helpful and healthy lab environment.

    Katie

    Cancer research has always been of interest to me, and my PhD in the Centre for the Cellular Microenvironment is allowing me to contribute to this field from an engineering perspective.My research focusses on the investigation of dormancy and progression in pancreatic cancer.I produce hydrogels that are controllable in terms of protein incorporation, mechanical properties, and degradability. With these biomaterials, I am working to recapitulate certain aspects of the pancreatic cancer microenvironment.

    I work between the University of Glasgow and the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research; our department here in Glasgow University has many links with research institutes across the country, and the world, as well as strong connections with industry. Carrying out a PhD in this centre has allowed me to meet many like-minded people and make many friends, with the opportunity to partake in internships in other labs worldwide

    Laila

    I am Laila Damiati; a research student at the Centre for the Cellular Microenvironment at the University of Glasgow. I received my bachelor’s degree in Microbiology, a master’s degree in Immunology, and a master’s degree in business administration (MBA).During my current PhD research, I have been studying the ability of bioactive coating and nanotopographies fabricated into 2D/ 3D titanium lattices to support mesenchymal stem cell growth and differentiation to osteoblasts. I have also been examining the response of biofilm-forming bacteria to the patterns as a potential bone implant which can promote bone fixation and prevent the biofilm formation.

    It’s my pleasure to be in warm, and scientific environment with all CeMi members which breakout the Glasgow’s cold weather.

    Michaela

    Hi, I am Michaela, a second year PhD student in the Centre for the Cellular Microenvironment (CeMi) at the University of Glasgow. My research focus is based on the design of an artificial microenvironment based on biointerfaces for theex-vivoexpansion of Hematopoietic Stem Cells for clinical applications. This project attracted my interest because it combines the complexity of stem cell biology with the creative nature of engineering.

    Having the opportunity to do research as a part of an interdisciplinary team, has enabled me to develop my own ideas as well as collaborate and exchange knowledge with more senior researchers. My project has given me the freedom to explore new methods of research, challenge myself and develop new skills in an inclusive and innovative environment. Choosing to do a PhD has been a truly rewarding experience in my journey of self-development and a great start to my scientific career.

    Alexandre

    3rd year PhD student at CÚRAM.

    I have always been passionate by the neurosciences, the human brain development, its functions but also its dysregulation when arise neurodegenerative diseases. My research project deals with the understanding of the tissue reaction happening at the interface of the brain and neuroelectrodes used to treat Parkinson’s patients. For this I’m developing an in vitro model of this tissue reaction named “glial scar” which can be used to characterize the biological mechanisms and causes of its appearance. This model can also serve as a platform to screen and test new therapeutics that could improve the integration of any brain implants that undergo a glial scarring process.My PhD is a great way to deepen my knowledge in this field as well with getting expertise in research techniques and methodologies.

    Augusto

    2nd year PhD student at CÚRAM.

    Studying biomedical devices development not only gives me the urge of advance current medicine state-of-art, but also makes me feel curious about all interactions that our body can have with different materials and stimuli. Everyday I learn how delicate and fabulous are these different types of interactions and how the crudest of its features can influence a cell down to the molecular level.

    In our group, due to the large spectrum of specialities and approaches, I found myself immerse in a multimodal project towards the same goals as my brilliant colleagues: to improve the current interaction between neuroelectrodes and host tissue. We are looking into the development of a “living electrode”, an electrode containing cells on it, involving photolithography processes that can create 3D structures down do the nanoscale!

    Doing PhD here its not only giving me the technical knowledge and support I must learn for my career, but also the opportunity to interact with people from all around the world, learning how we can all work together towards advance the incredible world around biomedical sciences.

    Sarah

    1st year PhD student, Aston University.

    I was attracted to my PhD project mainly because of its potential for clinical impact. While basic science is important in developing novel therapies, we lack the means to translate laboratory findings into affordable and scalable therapies. It is frustrating to see the therapeutic benefits that T-cell therapies can bring, but also the barriers to providing it routinely due to its tremendous cost. My PhD aims to improve manufacturing of T-cell immunotherapies using microfluidic technology, in order to make them safer and more cost effective than they currently are. Furthermore, I am also looking forward to working with experts from other universities, as I have very little experience in nanopatterning and its influence on biologic responses of cells. I am thrilled to learn a wide range of skills and techniques.Being exposed to such interdisciplinary environment will be really valuable for learning and for networking.

    Wich

    In our centre, we are developing Nanokick bioreactor to stimulate human mesenchymal stem cells for growing bone cells with nanoscale vibration. I’m developing “hydrogel-sponge composite” which is suitable for nanovibrational stimulation and can be delivered to clinics in a handleable manner. I am also investigating biological mechanisms of nanovibration related to free radical signalling for further understanding of the stimulation effects.

    It’s a great experience working in CeMi. Prof Dalby and Dr Tsimbouri provide great supports and supervisions. I can fully immerse myself in tissue engineering and gain more understand the process of how to drive researches in lab to the bedside for clinical application.

    Sophie

    I am a second year Engineering Doctoral Student in the Formulation Engineering CDT at the University of Birmingham. I chose my project because it gave me an opportunity to continue working in medical engineering – specifically orthopaedic implant development, while changing my focus to custom implants, which are of great interest to me. While working here I have been able to learn skills in new areas such as characterising bone cements. Another benefit has been meeting new interesting people both in my field and tangential to it.

    My research focusses on using additive manufacture (metal 3D printing) to create new hip replacements. The technique enables the creation of complex structures such as lattices which cannot be built by conventional means. These allow me to tailor properties of the devices, for example how stiff they are. I can also create cavities for antibiotics and tailor their release to fight infection.

    Working in the Healthcare Technologies Institute in Birmingham has enabled me to work with many experts in different fields of medicine. I believe this enables us to create the best solutions of patients. It also makes for a stimulating and enjoyable work environment.

    Sofía

    I am second year PhD student in Glasgow with the research objective to engineer different biologically inspired 3D microenvironments to study cell behaviour and, in turn, mimic the process of vascularization that occurs naturally in living bone tissue. To achieve this, I am working with different proteins, gels and polymers to couple angiogenesis with osteogenesis. I am also using a new technology developed in our lab, known as ‘nanokicking’, which has been shown to provide cells with mechanical nanostimulation to guide their differentiation toward osteogenic linage. The understanding of the mechanotransduction processes within 3D environments is an additional key goal during this project.

    I really believe that doing my PhD in an interdisciplinary group like CEMI gives me the opportunity not only to learn more about other fields but also to meet fantastic people with similar interests to mine and with whom I can share my experiences during all these years!