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Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

 

People in the BEST group

Group Leader

Professor Róisín M. Owens received her BA in Natural Sciences (Mod. Biochemistry) at Trinity College Dublin, and her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Southampton University. She carried out two postdoc fellowships at Cornell University, on host-pathogen interactions of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the dept. of Microbiology and Immunology with Prof. David Russell, and on rhinovirus therapeutics in the dept. of Biomedical Engineering with Prof. Moonsoo Jin. From 2009-2017 she was a group leader in the dept. of bioelectronics at Ecole des Mines de St. Etienne, on the microelectronics campus in Provence. Her current research centers on application of organic electronic materials for monitoring biological systems in vitro, with a specific interest in studying the gut-brain-microbiome axis. She has received several awards including the European Research Council starting (2011), proof of concept grant (2014) and consolidator (2016) grants, a Marie Curie fellowship, and an EMBO fellowship. She is a 2018 laureate of the Suffrage Science award. From 2014 to 2020, she was principle editor for biomaterials for MRS communications (Cambridge University Press). She became Scientific Editor for Materials Horizons (Royal Society of Chemistry) in 2020 and she serves on the advisory board of Advanced BioSystems, Journal of Applied Polymer Science (Wiley), Trends in Biotechnology and APL Materials. She is author of 70+ publications. Office: room 1.04;  E-mail: rmo37

 

Postdocs

Dr. Charalampos Pitsalidis is a research associate in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, in the BioElectronic Systems and Technologies group. With a PhD degree in organic electronics, during his postdoctoral research he focused on bridging novel organic electronic devices with biological systems toward next generation in vitro cell culture platforms. In Cambridge, his research involves the development of a 3D gut-on-a-chip device to study the microbiome-gut-brain-axis. Office: room 1.07;  E-mail:

 

 

Dr. Anna-Maria Pappa is an Oppenheimer Research Fellow in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, in the BioElectronic Systems and Technologies group. She holds a PhD degree in bioelectronics with a focus on biosensing. Her current research interests include the development of in vitro electronic platforms for drug testing, focusing on antibiotics. You can find her in her office (room 1.07) or somewhere in the labs making her microscopic devices! (E-mail: )


Dr. Janire Saez is a Marie Curie Fellow  in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, in the BioElectronic Systems and Technologies group. She has a Chemistry degree and she holds a PhD in the integration of smart materials into microfluidic devices for fluidic control and sensing. Her current research interests include the development of “organ-on-a-chip” platforms, focusing in the gut-brain axis. Office: room 1.07; E-mail: js2409@cam.ac.uk

 


Dr. Alexander J. Boys is a postdoctoral researcher in the BioElectronic Systems and Technologies group in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. He received his PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from Cornell University, working on biomechanical interfaces. His research interests include tissue engineering and biological interfacing. He is currently working on electrically monitored platforms for mimicking the blood brain barrier. Office: Room 1.07 Email: ab2661@cam.ac.uk


Dr. 

Achilleas Savva is a postdoctoral researcher in the BioElectronic Systems and Technologies group in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. He is a Chemical Engineer with a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering. His background is in organic electronic devices for microelectronic and bioelectronic applications. He is currently studying the interface between electronic materials and cell membranes, aiming to develop bioelectronic platforms to monitor native membrane interactions with viruses and drugs.Office: Room 1.07; Email: as3024@cam.ac.uk


Dr. Ying Fu

 is a research associate in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, in the BioElectronic Systems and Technologies group. She holds a PhD degree in Analytical Chemistry, and her research interests include on novel biosensor development and application. She is currently working on highly sensitive organic electronics integrated with microfluidics for stem cell real time monitoring, aiming at early diagnosis and effective therapy for various diseases. Office: room 1.07;  E-mail: yf306@cam.ac.uk

 

Postgraduate students


Aimie Pavia 

is a 3rd year PhD student at the department of Bioelectronics at the Ecole des Mines de St. Etienne co-funded by Panaxium. Aimie is working on development of novel methods for fabrication of organic bioelectronic devices for interfacing with biological tissues in vitro and in vivo. Email:

 

 


Chrysanthi (Anthie) Moysidou

is a 3rd year PhD student, in the  Bioelectronic Systems Technologies group and her research will focus on developing in vitro models of the gut and brain with integrated monitoring, and studying the way these organs communicate. Office: room 1.07; Email: cmm202@cam.ac.uk

 

 

Yash Mishra is a Biochemical Engineering graduate from University College London with 3 years of research experience, which includes 2 years as a Scientist at UCB Celltech, receiving various synthetic biology honours at iGEM, and working at the Surfaces and Particle Engineering Laboratory of Imperial College London. In the BioElectronic Systems and Technologies group at the University of Cambridge Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Yash will be developing dynamic, bio-mimetic, in-vitro models of the gut-brain axis with in-line bioelectronic analytics to study the effects of the microbiome on Alzheimer’s Disease. Office: Room 1.07; Email: y

 


Walther Traberg-Christensen

is a PhD student in the Bioelectronic System Technologies group at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. He received his MSc in Advanced Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology from Imperial College London and his MEng in Chemical Engineering from Lancaster University. Walther is interested in cancer therapeutics research and is using biophysical techniques to study exosomes/oncosomes in a joint project between the BEST group and the BioScience Engineering group. Office: Room 1.07; Email: wt267@cam.ac.uk

 


Chiara Barberio

is a PhD student in the Bioelectronic System Technologies Group at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. She holds BSc and MSc Degrees in Biological Science and Biology from University of Milano-Bicocca. She obtained an MRes in Sensor Technologies and Applications from the University of Cambridge in 2019. Prior to her master’s degree she worked for a privately held contract research corporation focussed on in vivo models’ management (e.g. rodents).  Chiara’s research focuses on the development of a 3D model of the neurovascular unit (NVU) integrated with a conducting polymer device for continuous monitoring. Office: Room 1.07; E-mail: cb997@cam.ac.uk

 


Sarah Barron

is is a PhD student in the Bioelectronic System Technologies Group at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. She holds a BSc in Neuroscience and an MSc in Brain Imaging, from the University of Nottingham, and an MRes in Sensor Technologies and Applications from the University of Cambridge. Sarah's research is focused on better understanding the pathology and toxicology of barrier systems, including the Blood-Brain-Barrier, Intestinal-Epithelial-Barrier and the Pulmonary-Epithelial-barrier. She is currently working on developing flexible electronic devices  to monitor complex 3D cellular models of such barrier systems, in collaboration with AstraZeneca. Office: Room 1.07; Email: slb222@cam.ac.uk 

 


Zixuan Henry Lu

 Is a PhD student in the Bioelectronic System Technologies Group at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. He received his MRes Degree in Nanomaterials from Imperial College London and his BSc in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He is currently developing organic electronic devices to integrate with lipid bilayer and native cell membranes for drug screening purposes.Office: Room 1.07; Email: zl422@cam.ac.uk 

 

 


Karan Bali

is a 1st year PhD student in the Bioelectronic System Technologies group at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. He holds a BA and MSc in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry from the University of Oxford. Karan’s research is focused on integrating bioelectronic devices with bacterial membranes in order to investigate phage interactions and antimicrobial compound screening. He is also interested in extending this research to integrate photosynthetic membranes for the development of biophotovoltaic devices. Office: room 1.07; Email: kb690@cam.ac.uk


Suraj Pavagada

is a joint PhD student at the MRC Cancer Unit, School of Clinical Medicine, and the Department of Chemical Engineering & Biotechnology. He holds a BEng in Biotechnology from PES University, Bangalore, an MRes in Medical Device Design & Entrepreneurship from Imperial College London, and an MRes in Sensor Technologies and Applications from the University of Cambridge. His current research as part of the Bioelectronic Systems Technology (BEST) group and the BioNano Engineering group, involves the development of nano-enabled point-of-care (POC) electrochemical biosensors for early detection of oesophageal adenocarcinoma. Office: room 1.07; Email: ssp29@cam.ac.uk

 


Kumar Thurimella

is a first year Gates Cambridge PhD scholar in the Bioelectronic System Technologies Group at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. He is also advised by Sergio Bacallado in the Statistical Laboratory. He has finished his pre-clinical years for his MD Degree at the University of Colorado, School of Medicine and finished his MPhil from the Sanger Institute and his BSc in Applied Mathematics from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He previously worked as a Software Engineer at Uber in San Francisco. He is currently developing mathematical models and software to understand host-microbe-immune interactions of the human gut via bioelectronic gut models. Office: Room 1.07 Email: kkt22@cam.ac.uk

Masters Students


Vladimir Shapovalov

is a Master’s student in the Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology department. Prior to joining the group, he has worked as a Research Scientist, where he focused on the analysis of drug targets for glioblastoma treatment. He has also led a team of undergraduate students to the finals of Judge Business School MedTech Innovation programme, with the device dedicated to provide a cheap device for detection of early-stage stenosis at home. Current research is focused on in silico and in vitro analysis of antibiotic interactions with bacterial outer membranes.  Email: vs447@cam.ac.uk


Julia Yan

is in her 4th year of the Cambridge Chemical Engineering via Natural Sciences degree. Her research project for Part IIB is on in silico and in vitro analysis of antibiotic interactions with bacterial outer membranes. Email: qy230@cam.ac.uk

 

 

 

Technical support 

 


Aimee With

ers is a research laboratory technician.Prior to joining the BEST group she worked as a media technician at CRUK Cambridge Institute. She has joined the BEST group to support cell culture activities. Office: room 1.07; Email: 

 

Visiting students

 


Eleonora Martinelli

 is a Master's student in Bioengineering at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland. She is currently a visitor in the BEST group until October 2020. Her research focuses on the development of a biologically accurate mimic of the neuronal synapse on top of an organic electronic device. Office: room 1.07; E-mail: em816@cam.ac.uk

 

 

Visiting Scientists 

 

Dr. Donata Iandolo was a Marie-Sklodowska Curie postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. She received her master’s degree in Industrial Biotechnologies at the University of Naples “Federico II” (Italy) and a PhD thesis in Industrial Biotechnologies. She then joined the Soft Matter Nanotechnology Group at the National Nanotechnology Laboratory (CNR-NANO) (Lecce, Italy) and subsequently worked with Prof. Magnus Berggren at the Laboratory of Organic Electronics. Her research focus is mainly on the integration of electroactive biomimetic 3D scaffolds with human stem cells to develop implantable devices for complete bone defects filling. Since completing her Marie Curie Fellowship she has moved to an independent position at the Ecole des Mines de St. Etienne in France.

 

 

 

Former Members

Mercedes Cornelius was a research assistant in the BEST group. She is a biophysics, biochemistry, and applied mathematics graduate from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). Prior to joining the BEST group she was an advanced masters fellow at Peking University Health Science Center in the pharmaceutical analysis of traditional Chinese medicines metabolites. She is now doing a PhD in Physics at Cambridge. 

Maite Garcia-Hernando was a visiting student from Spain. She studied Biotechnology at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) and obtained her degree in 2015. Now she is doing her PhD at the Microfluidics Cluster UPV/EHU, working in the development of integrated microfluidic devices for biomedical applications.

Romane Vallet is a student in the French engineering school Mines de Saint-Étienne specialized in microelectronics and computer sciences, studying biotechnology, she was a visitor in the BEST group in 2019. 

 Priscila Cavassin was a Master's student in Applied Physics at University of São Paulo while visiting  the BEST group in 2019. She is now doing a PhD in Switzerland with Professor Natalie Banerjee.

Pablo Rioboó is a Master's student in Translational Research and Personalized Medicine at University of Granada in Spain. He was a visitor in the BEST group until April 2019. His research focused on the design and characterization of conductive scaffolds and hydrogels for mimicking different tissues and their integration within microfluidic devices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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