Dr Umber Cheema


Personal Profile

Name: Umber Cheema Email: u.cheema@ucl.ac.uk
Title: Dr Tel:
Department: Inst of Orthopaedics & Musculosk Sci Fax: +44 208 954 8560
Position: Lecturer in In-Vitro Tissue Engineering Address: , , ,
Research Domain: Bioprocessing, Cancer, Materials, Personalised Medicine, Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine (Frontier Disciplines) Web Page:  


Research Description

Dr. Cheema's research interests include engineering oxygen-dependent angiogenesis in biomimetic 3D models. By creating biomimetic 3D models in vitro and controlling O2 perfusion, it is possible to study the mechanisms which regulate cell-generated angiogenic cascades, these in turn can be manipulated to form vascular networks in 3D. This knowledge will help create larger functionally viable tissue engineered constructs and enable control of this mechanism to induce host vascular infiltration when tissue engineered constructs are implanted in vivo to aid their survival and functional integration. 

Her research also focuses on controlling elements of collagen architecture to build biomimetic tissues in vitro. In particular mechanisms to control collagen fibril alignment, diameter and density. In addition to these elements work has also involved the introduction of architectural features, in particular channels to provide the basis of vascular networks.

Recent research projects include the development of a reproducible 3D in vitro model of tumour growth. Here the spatial architecture of a tumour and its surrounding stroma have been reproduced in vitro, with evidence of tumour invasion into surrounding 'normal' tissue.

Research Activities

Biomimetic Engineering & Cytomechanics

Biomimetic tissue enginering

Characterisation of hypoxia in 3D scaffolds

Engineered Oxygen-dependent angiogenesis in biomimetic 3D models

Musculoskeletal Engineering

Education Description

Dr Cheema lectures on the iBSc in Orthopaedic Science and the MSc in Musculoskeletal Science on the following topics:

Collagen, Tissue engineering strategies, Vascularisation and Neural integration of tissue engineered scaffolds and Skeletal muscle development

UCL Collaborators

Prof Robert Brown; Dr Gavin Jell; Professor Vivek Mudera

External Collaborators



    • Stamati K, Priestley JV, Mudera V, Cheema U (2014). Laminin promotes vascular network formation in 3D in vitro collagen scaffolds by regulating VEGF uptake.. Exp Cell Res, , - . doi:10.1016/j.yexcr.2014.05.012
    • Ardakani AG, Cheema U, Brown RA, Shipley RJ (2014). Quantifying the correlation between spatially defined oxygen gradients and cell fate in an engineered three-dimensional culture model.. J R Soc Interface, 11(98), - . doi:10.1098/rsif.2014.0501
    • Ricketts KP, Cheema U, Nyga A, Castoldi A, Guazzoni C, Magdeldin T, Emberton M, Gibson AP, Royle GJ, Loizidou M (2014). A 3D In Vitro Cancer Model as a Platform for Nanoparticle Uptake and Imaging Investigations.. Small, , - . doi:10.1002/smll.201400194
    • Deng D, Liu W, Cheema U, Mudera V, Hadjipanayi E, Brown RA (2014). Less is more: New biomimetic approach to control spatial and temporal cell loading for tissue engineering.. J Biomed Mater Res A, , - . doi:10.1002/jbm.a.35085
    • Rabadia H, Lopez-Devila V, Magdeldin T, Dashtarzheneh AK, Asger B, Kallis C, Dwek M, Welch H, Cheema U, Ramesh B, Loizidou M (2014). Testing the efficacy of targeted theranostic liposomes in in-vitro cancer models.


    • Cheema U, Brown RA (2013). Rapid Fabrication of Living Tissue Models by Collagen Plastic Compression: Understanding Three-Dimensional Cell Matrix Repair In Vitro.. Adv Wound Care (New Rochelle), 2(4), 176 - 184. doi:10.1089/wound.2012.0392
    • Cheema U (2013). Standardisation in Cell and Tissue Engineering: Methods and Protocols.
    • Rich H, Odlyha M, Cheema U, Mudera V, Bozec L (2013). Effects of photochemical riboflavin-mediated crosslinks on the physical properties of collagen constructs and fibrils.. J Mater Sci Mater Med, , - . doi:10.1007/s10856-013-5038-7
    • Magdeldin T, Nyga A, Loizidou M, Cheema U (2013). 3D in vitro cancer model: A tissue engineering approach to cancer research.
    • Magdeldin T, Nyga A, Asghari A, Welch H, Loizidou M, Cheema U, Ricketts K, Gibson A, Royle G, Guazzoni C, Castolidi A, Montemurro G (2013). Imaging gold nanoparticles in a novel tissue engineered 3d in vitro cancer model.
    • Nyga A, Loizidou M, Emberton M, Cheema U (2013). A novel tissue engineered three-dimensional in vitro colorectal cancer model.. Acta Biomater, 9(8), 7917 - 7926. doi:10.1016/j.actbio.2013.04.028
    • Stamati K, Priestley JV, Mudera V, Cheema U (2013). Environmental control of Endothelial Cell Morphology: Fine-tuning matrix composition for vascular engineering.
    • Wong JP, MacRobert AJ, Cheema U, Brown RA (2013). Mechanical anisotropy in compressed collagen produced by localised photodynamic cross-linking.. J Mech Behav Biomed Mater, 18, 132 - 139. doi:10.1016/j.jmbbm.2012.11.002


    • Wong JPF, MacRobert AJ, Cheema U, Brown RA (2012). Engineering anisotropy in mechanical properties by orientated collagen cross-linking. JOURNAL OF TISSUE ENGINEERING AND REGENERATIVE MEDICINE, 6, 162 - 163.
    • Ardakani A, Stamati K, Brown RA, Cheema U, Shipley RJ (2012). Quantifying Spatial and Temporal Variation in Cell Function in Collagen Constructs for Tissue Engineering Applications.
    • Hadjipanayi E, Cheema U, Hopfner U, Bauer AT, Machens HG, Schilling AF, Hadjipanayi E, Cheema U, Hopfner U, Bauer AT (2012). Injectable system for spatio-temporally controlled delivery of hypoxia-induced angiogenic signaling. JOURNAL OF TISSUE ENGINEERING AND REGENERATIVE MEDICINE, 6, 296 - 297.
    • Ricketts K, Nyga A, Guazzoni C, Castoldi A, Magdeldin T, Montemurro G, Welch H, Cheema U, Royle G, Loizidou M (2012). Imaging Gold Nanoparticles in a Novel Tissue Engineered 3D in Vitro Cancer Model.
    • Anandagoda N, Ezra DG, Cheema U, Bailly M, Brown RA (2012). Hyaluronan hydration generates three-dimensional meso-scale structure in engineered collagen tissues.. J R Soc Interface, 9(75), 2680 - 2687. doi:10.1098/rsif.2012.0164
    • Cheema U, Rong Z, Kirresh O, Macrobert AJ, Vadgama P, Brown RA (2012). Oxygen diffusion through collagen scaffolds at defined densities: implications for cell survival in tissue models.. J Tissue Eng Regen Med, 6(1), 77 - 84. doi:10.1002/term.402
    • Hadjipanayi E, Cheema U, Hopfner U, Bauer A, Machens HG, Schilling AF (2012). Injectable system for spatio-temporally controlled delivery of hypoxia-induced angiogenic signalling.. J Control Release, 161(3), 852 - 860. doi:10.1016/j.jconrel.2012.04.048
    • Shipley RJ, Ardakani A, Cheema U, Brown R (2012). Quantifying Spatial Variations in Cell Density in Collagen Scaffolds: a Combined Theoretical-Experimental Approach.


    • Hadjipanayi E, Cheema U, Mudera V, Deng D, Liu W, Brown RA (2011). First implantable device for hypoxia-mediated angiogenic induction.. J Control Release, 153(3), 217 - 224. doi:10.1016/j.jconrel.2011.03.029
    • Nyga A, Cheema U, Loizidou M (2011). 3D tumour models: novel in vitro approaches to cancer studies.. J Cell Commun Signal, 5(3), 239 - 248. doi:10.1007/s12079-011-0132-4
    • Streeter I, Cheema U (2011). Oxygen consumption rate of cells in 3D culture: the use of experiment and simulation to measure kinetic parameters and optimise culture conditions.. Analyst, 136(19), 4013 - 4019. doi:10.1039/c1an15249a
    • Cheema U, Alekseeva T, Kirresh O, Brown RA, MacRobert AJ, Rong Z, Vadgama P (2011). O diffusion through collagen scaffolds at defined densities: Implications for cell survival and angiogenic signalling in tissue models. IFMBE Proceedings, 30 IFMBE, 13 - 16. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-19044-5_4


    • Hadjipanayi E, Brown RA, Mudera V, Deng D, Liu W, Cheema U (2010). Controlling physiological angiogenesis by hypoxia-induced signaling.. J Control Release, 146(3), 309 - 317. doi:10.1016/j.jconrel.2010.05.037
    • Hadjipanayi E, Cheema U, Mudera V, Deng D, Liu W, Brown RA (2010). First implantable device for hypoxia-induced angiogenic engineering.
    • Kureshi A, Cheema U, Alekseeva T, Cambrey A, Brown R (2010). Alignment hierarchies: engineering architecture from the nanometre to the micrometre scale.. J R Soc Interface, 7 Suppl 6, S707 - S716. doi:10.1098/rsif.2010.0346.focus


    • Cheema U, Hadjipanayi E, Tammi N, Alp B, Mudera V, Brown RA (2009). Identification of key factors in deep O2 cell perfusion for vascular tissue engineering.. International Journal of Artificial Organs, 32, 318 - 328.


    • U Cheema TA, A J MacRobert BA, V Mudera RAB (2008). Effect of Hypoxia on Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Expression in an Engineered 3D Cell Model.
    • R A Brown UC, B Alp ZR, V Mudera AJM (2008). Perfusion and Tissue Engineering Scaffolds: Micro versus Nano Pores.
    • U Cheema EH, N Tamimi BA, V Mudera RAB (2008). Defining Physiological Parameters for Engineering a Vascular Media Model.
    • Cheema U, Brown RA, Alp B, MacRobert AJ (2008). Spatially defined oxygen gradients and vascular endothelial growth factor expression in an engineered 3D cell model. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, 65(1), 177 - 186.


    • Mudera V, Morgan M, Cheema U, Nazhat S, Brown RA (2007). Ultra-rapid engineered collagen constructs tested in an in vivo nursery site. Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, 1(3), 192 - 198. doi:10.1002/term.25
    • Cheema U, Chuo CB, Sarathchandra P, Nazhat SN, Brown RA (2007). Engineering functional collagen scaffolds by mechanical loading.
    • Cheema U, Nazhat NN, Alp A, Foroughi F, Anandagoda N, Mudera V, Brown RA (2007). Fabricating Tissues: Analysis of Farming versus Engineering Strategies. Biotechnology and Bioprocess Engineering, 12(1), 9 - 14.
    • Alp B, Rong Z, Cheema U, MacRobert AJ, Vadgama P, Brown RA (2007). Measurement of glucose and oxygen concentration in biomimetic constructs.
    • Cheema U, Chuo CB, Sarathchandra P, Nazhat SN, Brown RA (2007). Engineering functional collagen scaffolds: cyclical loading increases material strength and fibril aggregation. Advanced Functional Materials, 17(14), 2426 - 2431. doi:10.1002/adfm.200700116


    • Abou Neel E, Cheema U, Knowles JC, Brown RA, Nazhat SN (2006). Use of unconfined multiple compression for the control of collagen gel scaffold density and mechanical properties.. Soft Matter, , - . doi:10.1039/b609784g
    • Rong Z, Cheema U, Vadgama P (2006). Needle enzyme electrode based glucose diffusive transport measurement in a collagen gel and validation of a simulation model.. Analyst, 131(7), 816 - 821. doi:10.1039/b600334f


    • Cheema U, Brown R, Mudera V, Yang SY, McGrouther G, Goldspink G (2005). Mechanical signals and IGF-I gene splicing in vitro in relation to development of skeletal muscle. doi:10.1002/jcp.20107
    • Brown RA, Wiseman M, Chuo C-B, Cheema U, Nazhat SN (2005). Ultrarapid engineering of biomimetic materials and tissues: fabrication of nano- and microstructures by plastic compression. Advanced Functional Materials, 15(11), 1762 - 1770. doi:10.1002/adfm.200500042


    • (2003). 3-D in vitro model of early skeletal muscle development. Cell Motility and the Cytoskeleton, 54(3), 226 - 236.
    • Cheema U, Yang SY, Mudera V, Goldspink G, Brown RA (2003). 3-D in vitro model of early skeletal muscle development (vol 54, pg 226, 2003). CELL MOTIL CYTOSKEL, 55(4), 278 - 278. doi:10.1002/cm.10130

    • Mudera V, Stamati K, Cheema U (). Evolution of oxygen utilization in multicellular organisms and implications for cell signalling in tissue engineering. J Tissue Eng, 2(1), - . doi:10.1177/2041731411432365