Cell models and biotechnology


The Cell Models and Biotechnology group focuses on the application of the life sciences to the fields of engineering, medicine and technology - with particular emphasis on their use in regenerative medicine and drug formulation, manufacture and delivery.

The group primarily develops accurate and biosensitive, in-vitro-in vivo-like, models of human tissues and organs through the use of cells, materials and growth factors to understand the underlying biological mechanisms involved. Specialist expertise within the group centres on the development of alternative models of the skin, eye, lung and liver. In addition, the group also considers the exploitation of novel drug delivery vehicles to enhance the therapeutic efficacy of a drug, as well as innovative techniques to aid the modulation of the biological characteristics of the cells themselves.

Ultimately, the development of these more accurate and predictive cell models play a pivotal role in the translation and assessment of drugs for safety and use in clinical practice.

What the group does

The Cell Models and Biotechnology group focuses on the in vitro model design, characterisation and validation of tissues and/or organs of interest. In addition, exploitation of these engineered models are used to assess toxicity and efficacy characteristics of novel compounds or therapeutics.  Specific research interests include:

  • Development of advanced 3D cell culture models of (human) skin, eye, lung and liver for toxicity testing i.e. environmental and pharmaceutical
  • Incorporation and characterisation of stimuli-responsive cell culture models e.g. immuno-competent, perfusion-based
  • Characterisation and development of novel biomaterials and drug delivery carriers
  • Development of a desiccation-tolerant cell lines and/or addressing challenges associated with long-term storage of (human/mammalian/stem) cell lines
  • Optimisation of processing parameters for (large-scale) cell generation and manufacture
  • Development of alternative scientific methods and techniques for 3Rs research

Services offered

  • 2D and 3D toxicity screening using advanced ocular, airway, GI and skin cell models
  • Development of new screening platforms and cultures that are more biologically relevant and with desired/specific endpoint parameters
  • Permeability modelling including transporter-mediated drug trafficking (including radiolabelled compounds)
  • Cell surface marker and cytokine/chemokine expression i.e. ELISA and flow cytometry
  • Long term cell viability assessment, characterisation and validation
  • Biomaterial characterisation and assessment i.e. physical/biological/rheological