UCL Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering


Matthew Chin

CNIE Postdoctoral Researcher


Email: matthew.chin.15@ucl.ac.uk

Future Plans:

October 2023: Matthew will attend the TERMIS-AP tissue-engineering conference in Hong Kong, and make a poster presentation)
November 2023: Matthew will give an oral presentation at AIChE Annual Meeting in Orlando USA


The immune system is a complex system where billions of cells constantly interact with each other and their environment to collectively “compute” robust decisions. As it can be trained to target, kill and memorise, this complex system has increasingly been exploited to tackle one of the grand challenges humans have faced throughout recorded history – cancer. However, establishing durable antitumour immunity in patients remains a major obstacle. To overcome this, current efforts in cancer immunotherapy have focused on understanding various biochemical signals and manipulating immune cells (e.g. T cells) via molecular approaches. Yet, our work, along with studies by others, have demonstrated that immune cell functions are also physically influenced by the environment. For instance, information exchange between immune cells is guided and constrained by structural networks in lymphoid organs. Thus, we hypothesise that immune cell decision-making requires the interaction of different kinds of networks (structural networks, cellular networks and molecular signalling networks). Matthew’s research involves using 3D-microprinted biomaterials to investigate how the organisation of structural networks influence T cell communication and decisions, such as differentiation. Insights gained from this research could inform the design of new biomaterials that promote the generation of long-lasting, functional T cells for immunotherapies. From a broader perspective, this work could also shed light on how self-organised geometries in nature influence biological computation.


PhD, Biomedical Engineering, University College London, 2020

MSc & DIC, Biomedical Engineering, Imperial College London, 2014

BEng (Hons) & ACGI, Biomedical Engineering, Imperial College London, 2013


Matthew published an opinion article (2023), “Nature-inspired sustainable medical materials”, in Current Opinion in Biomedical Engineering, co-authored with Prof Marc-Olivier Coppens and Julia Linke. The article discusses how inspiration can be taken from nature and combined with state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies – such as high-resolution 3D printing and microfluidics – to create medical materials that are environmentally friendly, while reducing time, cost and animal use.

  1. M.H.W.Chin, J.Linke, M.-O.Coppens, 2023, Nature-inspired Sustainable Medical Materials, Biomedical Engineering, Current Opinion 100499, DOI:10.1016/j.cobme.2023.100499 [Link]

  2. M.H.W. Chin, M.D.A. Norman, E. Gentleman, M.-O. Coppens, R.M. Day, 2020, A hydrogel-integrated culture device to interrogate T cell activation with physicochemical cues. ACS Appl. Mat. Int. 12(42), 47355-47367. [Link]

  3. M.H.W. Chin, E. Gentleman, M.-O. Coppens and R.M. Day, 2020, Rethinking cancer immunotherapy by embracing and engineering complexity. Trends in Biotechnology. 38(10), 1054-1065. [Link]

  4. P. Sofokleous, M.H.W. Chin, R.M. Day, 2018, Phase-Separation Technologies for 3D Scaffold Engineering. In Functional 3D Tissue Engineering Scaffolds: Materials, Technologies, and Applications, Elsevier, 101–126. [Link]

  5. R. Kelwick, M. Kopniczky, I. Bower, W. Chi, M.H.W. Chin, S. Fan, J. Pilcher, J. Strutt, A.J. Webb, K. Jensen, G.-B. Stan, R. Kitney, P. Freemont, 2015, A Forward-Design Approach to Increase the Production of Poly-3-Hydroxybutyrate in Genetically Engineered Escherichia Coli. PLoS One, 10 (2), e0117202. [Link]