Welcome to our new PhD cohort!


We would like to warmly welcome our new cohort of PhD students and visiting researcher, Belen. We look forward to having you as part of the team and see you achieve great things with your research projects!

Belen Parra Torrejón, a visiting PhD student from University of Granada (Spain) is on an EMBO Fellowship and will be with us for a few months working with Prof Manuel Salmeron-Sanchez. She will be trying to integrate the genetically modified bacteria with osteogenic capabilities developed by Prof Salmeron-Sanchez’s group into a mineralized collagen matrix, recapitulating properties of biological tissues.


Xally Valencia, PhD student with Prof Massimo Vassalli and Dr Cristina Gonzalez-Garcia will be working on designing animal-free organoids based on engineered vegetables and protein crystals [VegFold]. By the decellularization of plant leaves, will aim to used them as a scaffold for seeding human stem cells.



Evangelia Bochti, PhD student with Dr Catherine Berry and Prof Matt Dalby will be working on stem cell communication for bone repair and regeneration.




Finlay Cunniffe, PhD student with Dr Marco Cantini will be working on continuing developing and characterising biomaterials (hydrogels and lipid bilayers) that can help model the viscoelastic nature of extracellular environments.




Justine Clarke, PhD student with Dr Catherine Berry will be working on engineering the next generation of biologically active vascular grafts.





Fiona Lawler, PhD student Prof Massimo Vassalli and Dr Kevin Parsons at SBOHVM to understand the mechanisms of anosteocytic bone remodelling in teleost fish and how mechanical stimuli and temperature affect these processes.



Ioanna Rigou, PhD student will be working with Prof Matt Dalby, on nanovibrational control of chondrogenic differentiation, trying to differentiate MSCs (using the NK bioreactor) into chondrocytes that produce the right phenotype of cartilage (collagen II high, collagen type I and X low) to form the smooth, articulating, cartilage of the joint. The differentiate cells then are going to be seeded in viscoelastic hydrogels, where the hydrogel environment will mimic the in vivo cartilage conditions.

Yusuf Ayten, PhD student, with Dr Catherine Berry and Prof Matt Dalby, working on EVs derived from stem cells such as MSCs and Dendritic Cells on leukaemia.




Emily Horsburgh, PhD student with Prof Massimo Vassalli.






Andrei Ligema, PhD student with Prof Delphine Gourdon.