Project Team

  • Prof Manuel Salmeron-Sanchez

    Principle Investigator and Chair of Biomedical Engineering


    Manuel is an ERC investigator, a UK EPSRC Programme Grant holder on advanced functional materials and has been awarded two ERC Proof of Concept Grants (2015 & 2018). He also led a translational grant funded by the charity The Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation and is working towards a first-human trial of an umbilical cord-MSC therapy for bone repair. His work is recognised globally for the engineering of synergistic growth factor cellular microenvironments. He is the Chair of Biomedical Engineering at UGLA and co-Director of the Centre for the Cellular Microenvironment, leading a large multidisciplinary group with >20 PhD students/postdocs. He was visiting Professor in Georgia Tech (Atlanta, USA) and Full Professor in Valencia, Spain, before moving to Glasgow in 2013. He has filed three patents and has authored over 150 papers (h-index 40, > 6000 cites) in major international journals including PNAS, Science Advances, Advanced Materials, ACS Nano and Biomaterials and a review in Nature Reviews Materials focussed on growth factor and physical approaches to cell engineering.

    Prof Jon Cooper

    Co-Investigator and Wolfson Chair of Bioengineering


    Jon’s research seeks to address major healthcare challenges with a particular focus on medical imaging, medical diagnostics and medical devices. He has also worked extensively in Eastern Africa on infectious diseases diagnostics in rural communities in Uganda and Tanzania. He is currently a Member of EPSRC Strategic Advisory Network, which provides the EPSRC Executive with advice and guidance on policy development at a cross-cutting level and makes appropriate recommendations to its Governing Council. He has published over 280 papers in peer-reviewed journals with an H index 57 (cited over 10,000 times in ISI Researcher ID, E-9000-2010, with average numbers of citations per article ~32). ORCID: He is External Examiner for the MRes in Medical Device Design and Entrepreneurship, Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College as well as being Chair of the International Advisory Panel for the Biomedical Engineering Bachelor Program at Hong Kong University and sits on the Chinese Academy of Sciences Innovation Cooperation Centre International Advisory Board and hold Visiting Professorships at OSCAR, Suzhou China (, and The School of Medical Science and Technology, IIT Kharagpur, India (

    Prof Massimo Vassalli

    Co-Investigator and Professor of Bioengineering


    Massimo graduated in Physics at the University of Florence (Italy) in 1999, including an instructive 1 year Erasmus experience at the University of Mainz (Germany). After the degree, he initially moved to the industry, working in the area of informatics and supporting the birth of a small company in the field, realizing quickly he would better enjoy the academic pathway and decided to enrol in a cross-disciplinary PhD program between physics, engineering and biology at the University of Florence, and working at the Biophotonics Lab of the National Institute of Applied Optics. He then spent few years as Research Fellow inside different Italian national research institutes, learning and exploiting advanced optical microscopy and force spectroscopy techniques for the study of biological systems (molecules and cells). During 2009 he moved to the Institute of Biophysics at the National Research Council in Genova, where he had the opportunity to cultivate his interest on “mechanics in biology”. With Massimo’s industrial experience, he has supported technology transfer and innovation, leading to an increased network of interactions with national and international companies. In October 2019, he joined the School of Engineering of the University of Glasgow.


    Prof Matt Dalby

    Co-Investigator and Professor of Cell Engineering


    Obtaining a PhD in Biomedical Materials from Queen Mary, University of London on osteoblast response to the topography and composition of hydroxyapatite containing composite materials, Matt moved to Glasgow to join Cell Engineering as a PDRA on EU grant Nanomed. Here he researched how cells interacted with nanoscale features producing early literature on cellular ability to respond to nanotopography. During this time he became focussed on dissecting how cells processed nanoscale information through mechanotransductive processes. Together, these interests in bone, nanotopography and mechanotransduction led him to apply for a BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship in 2003. During this fellowship he focussed on how mesenchymal stem cells were directed to differentiate and to self-renew by nanotopography and this led to a lectureship in Cell Engineering  in 2008. Now, as Professor of Cell Engineering, his is still fascinated by the nanoscale and mechanotransductive processes, but his interests have broadened to include metabolomics-based research and a growing interest in how growth factors can be controlled at the nanoscale to direct stem cell fate. He is also the Director of Innovation, Engagement and Enterprise in the School of Molecular Biosciences.


    Dr Catherine Berry

    Co-Investigator and Reader


    Catherine is a Reader in the Centre for Cellular Microenvironment (CeMi) in the University of Glasgow. A range of her current projects focus on using human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) cultured within 3D hydrogel bone marrow models, providing a platform to study cellular processes such as osteogenesis within magnetic hydrogels, cancer dormancy and recurrence, as well as leukaemic stem cell invasion. More recently, Catherine has become interested in stem cell-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs), which hold great potential in tissue repair and regeneration, including projects on osteogenesis and vascular grafts.

    Prof Helen Wheadon

    Co-Investigator and Professor of Stem Cell Regulation


    Helen is stem cell biologist and translational cancer research scientist with a successfully funded portfolio of multi-disciplinary peer-reviewed research, which spans over 30 years. In this time, she has developed model systems to investigate the initiating steps involved in leukaemia development and how the bone marrow microenvironment confers chemo-resistance. She is involved in several multidisciplinary projects and collaborate with scientists, industry, NHS, engineers and clinicians. She plays an active role in training the next generation of scientists, directing post graduate teaching and research activities and is also passionate about science communication and the 3R’s.

    Prof Mhairi Copland

    Co-Investigator and Professor of Translational Haematology


    Mhairi currently splits her time between the Paul O’Gorman Leukaemia Research Centre, where she is Director, and the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, Glasgow. She has clinical and research interests in chronic myeloid leukaemia and acute leukaemias and was chair of the UK NCRI CML Subgroup (2013-2019). She is now the deputy chair for the Haemato-oncology Clinical Study Group (since 2022). Specific areas of research interest are leukaemia stem cells, novel, stem-cell directed therapies, treatment resistance and studies of the leukaemic microenvironment. She was Chief Investigator for the Phase 1 MATCHPOINT and Phase 2 TASTER clinical trials; co-chief investigator for LI-1, and local principal investigator for several acute leukaemia and CML trials, and leads the ACT Trials Acceleration Programme at the Beatson.

    Dr Oana Dobre

    Co-Investigator and Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering


    Oana holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering (Tribology) from Imperial College London. After her doctoral studies, she worked as a Research Associate at the University of Manchester for two years, where she became fascinated by mechanobiological research and developed an expertise in biology to complement her extensive engineering background. From 2017 to 2022, Oana was a Research Associate at the Centre for the Cellular Microenvironment (CeMi) at the University of Glasgow. Her research focused on developing and characterizing full length protein-based hydrogels for efficient growth factor delivery for tissue engineering applications, with a particular emphasis on bone tissue regeneration, spinal cord injuries, and vascularization. She started a Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering position at the University of Glasgow in 2022. Her current research is focused on the development a biomaterial platform using piezoelectric constructs for applications in regenerative medicine, particularly muscle regeneration, in vitro tissue models for drug testing, and new therapies using additive manufacturing techniques. Oana’s work combines a strong engineering foundation with deep knowledge of stem cell biology and extracellular matrix dynamics.

    Dr Michele Zagnoni

    Co-Investigator and Reader in Electronic and Electrical Engineering


    Michele has 20 years’ interdisciplinary research expertise in the development of lab-on-a-chip methodologies for fundamental biological investigation, compound screening, in vitro diagnostics and treatment of disease. He is CEO and co-founder of ScreenIn3D Limited, a start-up dedicated to revolutionizing drug discovery and precision medicine.

    Dr Peter Childs

    Co-Investigator and Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering


    Peter is a Chancellors Fellow within the Department of Biomedical Engineering. His research interests include the control of cell function/fate through applied mechanical stimulation and development of materials for tissue regeneration (cellular and acellular). Since 2012 he has been involved with a multidisciplinary collaboration using nano amplitude vibration to stimulate stem cell osteogenesis (‘nanokicking’). This technology is now being translated towards clinic as an osteogenic cell therapy for orthopaedic repair. He has also been involved in the translation of implantable bioactive polymers for growth factor delivery (‘HealiOst’). Previously, he was awarded a Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellowship and has a keen interest in the clinical/commercial translation of cell engineering technologies.

    Dr Paolo Paoletti

    Co-Investigator and Senior Lecturer


    Paolo received the Graduate degree in Automation Engineering in 2006 and the PhD degree in Nonlinear Dynamics and Complex Systems in 2010 from the University of Florence, Italy. He is a Senior Lecturer in Control with the University of Liverpool,  UK, where he leads the @LERT (@Liverpool Engineering Robotics Technology) lab. Since 2020, he is also co-founder and CTO of the spin-off company Robotiz3d Ltd which aims to introduce autonomous systems in the road maintenance industry. Previously, he worked as an Research Assistant with the Italian Institute for Complex Systems (2010), and as a Postdoctoral Fellow with the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Harvard University (2010–2012). His research interests include nonlinear dynamics and control, with a special focus on problems that sit at the boundary between different traditional disciplines such as biology, robotics, computer science, mathematics, and physics. In 2014, he was a recipient of the “Rising Star” award from the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.