Meet our team at the National Horizon Centre who come from a wide range of research and industry backgrounds.

Recognised as internationally excellent* our current research teams support basic and applied research across disciplinary boundaries, with a particular focus on disease-specific research, biomanufacturing and digital analytics and machine learning.

Management Team

Dr Jen Vanderhoven

Dr Jen Vanderhoven

Director

Jen is responsible for leading the NHC's development as a centre of excellence for the biosciences and healthcare sector, working with industry to ensure that provision is driven by current and planned needs for research, innovation, skills and talent.

Dr Safwan Akram

Dr Safwan Akram

Principal Lecturer, Enterprise and Business Engagement

Safwan is responsible for the NHC's enterprise and business engagement activities, linking academics with external organisations. Safwan's current research is working towards the development of low-cost diagnostics for point of care, working in collaboration with local pharmaceutical companies to bring down the cost of biopharmaceuticals.

Dr Gillian Taylor

Dr Gillian Taylor

Principal Lecturer, Operational Management

Gillian is responsible for the day-to-day running of the NHC, ensuring its smooth operation. Gillian's own research has a focus on the development of analytical techniques, specifically mass spectrometry towards forensic and archaeological applications.

Professor Vikki Rand

Professor Vikki Rand

Biosciences Research Director

Vikki leads the multi-disciplinary biosciences and healthcare research teams, bringing industry, healthcare organisations and academia together. Vikki's own research has a focus on applying cutting-edge approaches to understand the biology of paediatric and adult cancers in order to identify biomarkers and develop new, kinder treatment strategies.

 Steve  Bagshaw

Steve Bagshaw

CBE – Chief Industry Advisor

As Chief Industry Advisor, Steve helps the National Horizons Centre keep abreast of latest developments in the life sciences field, ensuring its training and research meet the needs of business. Steve is the Manufacturing Lead on the UK Vaccines Taskforce and a former chief executive of FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies. In January 2021, he was made a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in recognition of his services to the UK Manufacturing and Biotechnology Sector.

Our Researchers

Dr Safwan Akram

Biomanufacturing

Safwan is responsible for the NHC's enterprise and business engagement activities, linking academics with external organisations. Safwan's current research is working towards the development of low-cost diagnostics for point of care, working in collaboration with local pharmaceutical companies to bring down the cost of biopharmaceuticals.

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Dr Ambroise Baker

Sustainable Planet

Ambroise' research focusses on how plants, biodiversity and complex ecosystems respond to environmental change.

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Dr Lisa Baldini

Sustainable Planet

Lisa's research interests span palaeoclimate reconstruction using biogenic and inorganic carbonates, modern stable isotope systematics in meteoric precipitation and groundwater, and using geochemical fingerprinting to trace human impacts on the environment.

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Dr Jamie Bojko

Sustainable Planet

Jamie's research involves screening for and systematically identifying the symbionts of animal hosts; primarily including Crustacea and Mollusca

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Dr Helen Carney

Sustainable Planet

Helen's research interests are in molecular biology, microbiology and the environment.

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Dr Amber Collings

Digital Analytics and Machine Learning
Sustainable Planet

Amber's current research areas include integration of 3D imaging and printing in forensic investigations and evidence presentation​, use of 3D models for effective osteology training and application of 3D imaging and printing to the reconstruction of human remains​.

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Professor Stephen Cummings

Disease specific research

Steve's research studies how complex microbial communities are implicated in a number of diseases, so called polymicrobial infections.

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Dr Paul Dean

Disease specific research

Paul's research centres around the mechanisms of pathogen evolution, how they infect us and how our cells respond to them. He has extensive experience with medically-important bacterial and fungal pathogens – such as E.coli, Microsporidia and Salmonella​

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Dr Priyanka Dey

Biomanufacturing

Priyanka's research focusses on ways to further the potential of nano-gold bio-imaging agents and Raman spectroscopy for clincially-relevant cancer diagnosis.

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Dr Nick Duggett

Disease specific research

Nick's research focusses on antimicrobial resistance, whole gneome sequencing of microbes and investigating detection of human pathogens in livestock.

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Dr Pei San (Sharel) E

Biomanufacturing

Peisan's research focuses on areas of nanoscale/microscale electrochemistry, electroanalysis, electrocatalysis, development of electrochemical sensor (biosensor and environmental sensor) and electrochemical energy storage.

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Dr Godwin Ebiloma

Biomanufacturing

Godwin's research focuses on identifying parasite-specific molecular targets for drug and vaccine development against neglected tropical diseases.

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Dr Chris Ennis

Biomanufacturing
Sustainable Planet

Chris' research interests are in sustainable technology, especially related to carbon mitigation, utilisation of biochar and environmental protection.

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Dr Hong Gao

Disease specific research

Hong's research focusses on synthetic biology, natural products and bioproduction optimisation.

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Mahmudal Hassan

Biomanufacturing

Mahmudal's research focusses on the development of new approaches in bioprocessing training andn processes using virtual reality.

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Dr Rochelle Hockney

Disease specific research

Rochelle's research focusses on women's health, neonates and the microbiome.

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Dr Jens Holtvoeth

Sustainable Planet

Jens is a geoscientist, specialising in (paleo)environmental research, biogeochemistry and geobiology, with experience in environmental geoscience.

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Dr Graeme Horsman

Digital Analytics and Machine Learning

Graeme's research focusses on digital and computer forensics and application of emerging technologies.

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Professor Meez Islam

Biomanufacturing

Meez's research focusses on the development and application of novel optical spectroscopy based techniques, in particular liquid-phase broadband cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy (BBCEAS) and hyperspectral imaging in a forensic context.​

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Dr Md Nazmul Islam

Biomanufacturing

Nazmul's research mainly focuses on developing novel biosensor based platforms for personalised diagnostics of diseases.

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Dr Maria Angeles Juanes Ortiz

Disease specific research

Maria's main research interests are to understand how cytoskeleton networks coordinate cell migration and division and how their dysfunction leads to human diseases. Her goal is to discover novel biomarkers for early diagnosis and identify new molecules to personalise therapies for diseases including Cancer.

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Dr Ahmad Khundakar

Disease specific research

Ahmad's research focuses on investigating the molecular and pathological mechanisms behind neurodegenerative illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s, dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson's disease, as well as depression.

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Dr Vasileios Panagiotis Lenis

Digital Analytics and Machine Learning

Vasileios' research interests lie in a wide range of fields in biological and biomedical sciences, from comparative genomics and evolutionary studies to neuroscience research and personalised medicine.

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Dr Xinzhong Li

Digital Analytics and Machine Learning

Xinzhong's research interests lies in system biology and bioinformatics, including machine learning and next-generation sequencing.

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Dr John Mina

Biomanufacturing

John's research mainly focuses on developing novel platforms for the study of biomolecular interactions at organellar membranes using chemical probes, directly impacting on the development of new therapeutics, especially in the field of coccidian parasitic infections.

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Dr Fatemeh Moheimani

Disease specific research

Fatemeh's research interests are to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying Respiratory diseases (e.g. asthma), with the goal to provide novel and more effective interventions.

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Professor Gary Montague

Biomanufacturing

Gary's research focusses on the development and application of systems techniques to make a practical difference to the process and bioprocess industrial sectors.

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Dr Jackie Mosely

Biomanufacturing

Jackie applies mass spectrometry to small molecule characterisation, identification of novel chemical protein modifications, lipid analyses and synthetic polymer analysis. Her work also includes the development of transportable mass spectrometry for real-time analyses for forensic and pharmaceutical applications.

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Dr Alexander Newman

Disease specific research

Alex's research focusses on the application of state-of-the-art technology and integrated multi-omics data analysis to understand cancer relapse in order to identify prognostic biomarkers.

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Dr Caroline Orr

Disease specific research
Sustainable Planet

Caroline uses techniques such as next generation sequencing and quantitative PCR to study microbial function and response to change in environmental, industrial and medical samples.​

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Helen Page

Sustainable Planet

Helen's research interests include the recovery of biological evidence from unusual samples including from bathwater and personal cleaning implements.

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Dr Panagiota Philippou

Disease specific research

Giota's research focusses include Cancer biomarker discovery for early diagnosis and monitoring, the identification of new targets in Cancer therapeutics and the patient’s response to Cancer therapy.

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Nanda Puspita

Biomanufacturing

Nanda's research focusses on testing methods of making mycoprotein, the main ingredient in all Quorn products, that would lead to an even more sustainable production methodology and enhancements to product quality.

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Professor Vikki Rand

Disease specific research

Vikki leads the multi-disciplinary biosciences and healthcare research teams, bringing industry, healthcare organisations and academia together. Vikki's own research has a focus on applying cutting-edge approaches to understand the biology of paediatric and adult cancers in order to identify biomarkers and develop new, kinder treatment strategies.

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Dr Edward Rollason

Sustainable Planet

Ed's research interests focus on the nature of catchments and their communities as connected socio-ecological systems, and how we can develop and promote integrated approaches to management that embed resilience into everyday management activities.

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Dr Mosharraf Sarker

Disease specific research

Mosharraf is a human biologist whose research interests lie in the understanding of mammalian cell signalling mechanism to inflammation and oxidative stress.

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Professor James Scrivens

Biomanufacturing

" Jim's research focuses on biological applications of mass spectrometry and encompasses proteomics, diagnostics, imaging and particularly shape selective studies. Current projects include point of care diagnostics, optimisation of Biologics production and acrylamide monitoring in food production."

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Dr Tora Smulders-Srinivasan

Disease specific research

Tora's current research is exploring the possible roles of mitochondrial defects in Parkinson’s disease, using Drosophila (fruit fly) models.

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Dr Gillian Taylor

Biomanufacturing
Sustainable Planet

Gillian is responsible for the day-to-day running of the NHC, ensuring its smooth operation. Gillian's own research has a focus on the development of analytical techniques, specifically mass spectrometry towards forensic and archaeological applications.

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Professor Tim Thompson

Digital Analytics and Machine Learning

Tim's main areas of research focus on the human body and how it changes, particularly in the modern context.

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Dr Helen Tidy

Sustainable Planet

Helen’s research mainly focusses on the use of fibres as a forensic evidence type, looking at aspects such as how the transfer and retention of fibres or the photodegradation of them affects the evidential interpretation for the court of law. She also researches other areas within the forensic field as well as Learning and Teaching techniques.

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Dr Chibuzo Uzoigwe

Biomanufacturing

Chibuzo's reseach focusses on the application of mass spectrometry to analyse different samples, such as assessing acrylamide levels in food.

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Dr Rhys Williams

Digital Analytics and Machine Learning

Rhys's research focusses on imaging in archaeology, including digitalising Vindolanda.

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Dr David Wright

Sustainable Planet

David's research interests are in microbiology, specifically, relating to how an ecological perspective can be used to inform both medically and environmentally focused research projects

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Masood Zaka

Digital Analytics and Machine Learning

Masood's research interests are in bioinformatics and computer biology to understand complex diseases and improve patient outcome.

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Dr Peixun Zhou

Disease specific research

Peixun's research interests include next-generation sequencing analysis of aggressive cancers and the application of cutting-edge lab techniques (such as CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing) to understand the biology of cancer and response to therapy.

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POSTGRADUATE STUDENTS

Bello Abubakar

Biomanufacturing

Genetic modification of pseudomonas putida (XylM, xylS and xylR) genes for effective bioremediation of oil spill

Kent Adamson

Digital Analytics and Machine Learning

Degraded and degrading: Understanding diagenetic processes in commingled graves from contexts of mass violence

Ahmad Alkawi

Biomanufacturing

The development of mass spectrometry based diagnosis

Amy Burgess

Sustainable Planet

Tracking a demon virus: Exploring viral evolution along the invasion route of the demon shrimp, dikerogammarus haemobaphes

Lucy Butler

Biomanufacturing

Production and characterisation of normal compounds for use in haemostasis testing

Popi Chrysostomou

Digital Analytics and Machine Learning

Morphoscopic and morphometric methodological approaches for segregating commingled human remains

Libby Clements

Disease specific research

Impact of NICU treatment on health outcomes for preterm infants

Nathan Coles

Disease specific research

Understanding the pathology underpinning dementia through the examination of phosphorylation patterns

Matthew Crowther

Digital Analytics and Machine Learning

Non-contact light and hyperspectral scanning of biological and chemical samples for forensic analysis

Priscilla Ferreira Ulguim

Digital Analytics and Machine Learning

The fire, the body and the people: The funerary practice of cremation in the southern Brazilian Highlands

Dom Gilchrist

Disease specific research

Characterisation and identification of human pathogen and parasite transporter proteins

Hrafnhildur Halldorsdottir

Biomanufacturing

Multidisciplinary approaches to the investigation of preservation processes at the Roman Site of Vindolanda, Northumberland, UK

Md Islam

Disease specific research

Health policy and hospital wastage management: Perspective of Bangladesh

Anthony Jackson

Digital Analytics and Machine Learning

Vehicle telematics data: The forensic implications of legally obtaining data from vehicles and the applicable procedures for doing so

Gemma Jeffries

Biomanufacturing

Investigation of the role of microbiota in wound healing process

Javeria Mehboob

Biomanufacturing

Share selective characterisation of complex formulations using ion mobility based mass spectrometry approaches

Maria O'Hanlon

Disease specific research

The roles of mitochondrial proteins in Parkinson's disease

David Oluwadare

Biomanufacturing

Evaluation of uptake and utilization of soil available zinc in spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) from seaweed fertilizer application: Employment of isotopic technique

Birbal Prasad

Digital Analytics and Machine Learning

System analysis and biomarker discovery for gliomas in silico study

Agatha Quesnel

Disease specific research

Deciphering the potential interplay between matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and the mucin 4 (MUC 4) in glioblastoma molecular mechanisms and diagnostics

Janice Rafraf

Digital Analytics and Machine Learning

Regulation of illegal imagery

Chris Robinson

Biomanufacturing

The development of phosphine/phosphine oxide redox-based organocatalyst

Cassy Ross

Disease specific research

Using ‘omic’ approaches for better understanding of microbial mediated disease in mothers and preterm Infants

Nafeesa Shahdab

Disease specific research

Novel approaches to target airway epithelium remodelling in asthmatics

Anirudh Sharma

Biomanufacturing

Applications of shape selective mass spectrometry

Rebecca Strong

Digital Analytics and Machine Learning

Application of geometric morphometric analysis to the identification process of unknown individuals

Muta Tah Hira

Disease specific research

An integrated experimental modelling and machine learning framework for poly-omic characterisation of ovarian cancer

Aboli Valve

Biomanufacturing

A study on transfer and persistence of textiles in the archaeological environment

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