Eastman Dental Institute


Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering

Our Biomaterials & Tissue Engineering Department carries out research into developing materials for hard and soft tissue reconstruction, but also with a need to understand the processes involved with cellular interaction with the materials surface. We also have a very broad range of analytical techniques and expertise at our disposal. We collaborate with a wide range of other academic and commercial groups both within UCL, nationally and also internationally.

Professor Jonathan Knowles

Professor Jonathan Knowles BSc(hons), PhD, FIMMM, CEng, FRSC, Csci

Head of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering

My research is mainly focussed on degradable materials to regenerate hard and soft tissues lost through disease or trauma. My work takes a multiprobe approach to understand structure-property relationships to optimise the endpoint requirements. Find out more

Recent paper: G. Owens, R.K. Singh, F. Foroutan, M. Alqaysi, E-J. Lee, C-M. Han, C. Mahapatra, H-W. Kim and J.C. Knowles (2016) “ Sol-gel Based Materials for Biomedical Applications” Progress in Materials Science, Vol.77C, p1-79.


Dr Laurent Bozec DUT, BSc(Hons), PhD

Head of Research, Director of Eastman Centre for Postgraduate Research, Senior Lecturer in Biophysics and Nanometrology

Areas of interest: the characterisation at the nanoscale of connective and mineralised tissues in view to improve both fundamental knowledge and diagnostic markers of diseases such as Scleroderma, Ehlers Danlos and Osteogenesis Imperfecta as well as ageing in collagen; the translation of SPM measurements to the field of conservation science; the use of Optical Coherence Tomography in the field of dentistry. Find out more

Recent paper: Baglioni M, Bartoletti A, Bozec L, Chelazzi D, Giorgi R, Odlyha M, Pianorsi D, Poggi G, Baglioni P. Nanomaterials for the cleaning and pH adjustment of vegetable-tanned leather Applied Physics A: Materials Science and Processing 122(2):1-11 01 Feb 2016 (Journal article)


Dr James B. Phillips BSc Biochemistry, PhD Pharmacology

Senior Lecturer

Areas of interest: Nervous system tissue engineering. Construction of living artificial nervous system tissue for use in vitro as models for neuroscience research or for use in regenerative medicine to repair peripheral nerve and spinal cord injuries. Find out more

Recent paper: K. Sanen, R. Paesen, S. Luyck, J.B. Phillips, I. Lambrichts, W. Martens & M. Ameloot (2015) Label-free mapping of microstructural organisation in self-aligning cellular collagen hydrogels using image correlation spectroscopy. Acta Biomaterialia doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2015.10.047


Professor Anne Young PhD Polymers, BSc Chemistry

Professor of Biomaterials

Areas of interest: (i) Therapeutic, Adhesive, Remineralising, Antibacterial Composites for Tooth and Vertebral Repair (ii) Drug-Releasing Degradable Calcium Phosphate Cements and Composites for Bone Repair. Find out more

Recent paper: Aljabo, A., Abou Neel, E. A., Knowles, J. C., & Young, A. M. (2016). Development of dental composites with reactive fillers that promote precipitation of antibacterial-hydroxyapatite layers. Materials Science and Engineering C, 60, 285-292. doi:10.1016/j.msec.2015.11.047


The BTE Department offers a wide range of materials and cell characterisation facilities. Staff are happy to discuss collaborative research measurements with both internal and external users. For further information contact Professor Jonathan Knowles.Facilities include:

  • Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy
  • Differential Scanning Calorimetry
  • Dynamic Mechanical Analysis
  • Fatigue Testing
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Goniometry
  • High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)
  • Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry ICP-MS
  • Ion Chromatography
  • Leica DMIRB Inverted Fluorescence Microscope
  • Raman And FTIR Mapping
  • Real time quantitative PCR and allele discrimination
  • Scanning Electron Microscope
  • Transmission Electron Microscope
  • UV-Visible Spectroscopy
  • X-Ray Diffraction

Find out more about the above.

Current PhD projects

 1. Biomaterials and composites for matrix tissue engineering

Supervisor: Professor Jonathan Knowles

Project titles:

  • Catalyst free synthesis of polyesters for tissue engineering
  • Neurogenic and Osteogenic peptide delivery via polymer matrices
  • Development of Degradable Fibres for Hard and Soft Tissue Engineering
  • Silk fibroin and degradable polyurethane composites with improved mechanical properties

2. Implant surface effects on human cells

Supervisor: Dr Peter Brett

Project titles:

  • The selection and expansion of osteogenic stem cell populations using novel surfaces - manipulation of cell populations to select and enrich for stem cells with an osteogenic potential
  • The manipulation of osteogenic stem cells using the Axl/Gas6 receptor pathway - manipulation of the Axl receptor pathway in adult stem cells in order to change/alter cells behaviour
  • Synthesis of hydrophilic Ti oxides for the manipulation of human bone marrow stem cells- implants, surfaces, TiO2 coatings, stem cell behaviour, differentiation
  • The development of TiO2 coated surfaces for the expansion of stem cell populations in bioreactors- stem cells, selection, expansion, cell therapy

3. Injectable, antibacterial, remineralising materials for tooth and bone repair

Project titles:

  • Self-adhesive, re-mineralising, antibacterial dental restorative materials dental restoration,  methacrylate, calcium phosphate, antibacterial release / action Supervisor: Professor Anne Young / Dr Paul Ashley
  • Replacement of PMMA bone cement with a modified dental composite  polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), bone cement, dental composite, strength, antibacterial Supervisor: Professor Anne Young / Dr Lambis Petridis
  • Degradable composite bone cement development calcium phosphate, degradable polymers, bone cement, drug release Supervisor: Professor Anne Young

4. Nanoscale properties of collagen in health, ageing and disease

Supervisor: Laurent Bozec, Susan Parekh

Project titles:

  • Collagen in ageing - what is the molecular source of ageing in collagen
  • Nano-Histology of connective and mineralised tissues affected by rare collagen syndromes or disorders
  • In-situ nanoscale orientation of collagen matrices for tissue repair
  • Impact of Advanced Glycation End products on the phyiscal and mechanical properties of collagen tissues (human and model) at the nanoscale

5. Photodynamic therapy and photochemical internalisation

Supervisor: Dr James Phillips

Project titles:

  • Investigating the effect of photodynamic therapy on the nervous system Foscan, cancer therapy, peripheral nerves, CNS
  • Investigating neurobiological effects of photochemical internalisation in order to minimise nerve damage cancer therapy, PCI, cell biology, electrophysiology, cell culture

6. Prosthodontics


Project titles:

In collaboration with the Prosthodontics Department [LINK] and the Microbial Diseases Department [LINK]

7. Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine

Supervisor: Dr James Phillips

Project titles:

  • Construction of artificial nervous system tissue for peripheral nerve repair engineered neural tissue, stem cells, Schwann cells, hydrogels
  • Controlling stem cell differentiation for the development of neural cell therapies neurons, glial cells, hydrogels, CNS, PNS, cell culture
  • Engineered tissue for modelling nervous system damage and disease neurodegeneration, neuropathy, pharmacology, electrophysiology, glial cells, myelin, neurons
  • Development of biohybrid interfaces between implantable electrodes and nerves tissue engineering, medical physics, motor and sensory nerves

8. Understanding tooth behaviour in health, ageing and disease

Supervisor: Laurent Bozec / Dr Ailbhe McDonald

Project titles:

  • Age related characterisation of dental cavities and cracks at the nanoscale enamel crack, penetration depth, biomechanics
  • Ageing and teeth – mapping teeth mechanical variability as a function of ageing and structural loss ageing, atomic force microscopy, speckle interferometry

9. Novel diagnostics for oral tissue defects and loss

Supervisors: Laurent Bozec, Susan Parekh, Dr Francesco D’Aiuto

Project titles:

  • Nano-Histology of collagen tissues affected by rare syndromes using atomic force microscopy
  • Evaluation of Optical Coherence Tomography as a diagnostics tool for dentistry and its applications to enamel and soft tissues  defects or loss