Niamh Nowlan, Principal Investigator
Dr Niamh Nowlan is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Bioengineering of Imperial College London, UK. The research focus of her group is in the area of developmental biomechanics, with particular focus on fetal movements. There are two key research areas of interest; how mechanical forces induced by prenatal movements affect bone and joint formation before birth, and how fetal movements may be used as an indicator of fetal health and function. Prior to joining Imperial College, Dr Nowlan held two postdoctoral fellowships in Trinity College Dublin, Ireland and in the Centre for Genomic Research, Barcelona, Spain. In 2009, she travelled to the USA as a Fulbright scholar, and spent six months working in Boston University. Dr Nowlan obtained a PhD in Bioengineering from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland in 2007, and holds a degree in Computer Engineering.
Devi Bridglal, PhD Student
Devi Bridglal is an PhD student in the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College. She previously completed an MRes in Bioengineering in the Developmental Biomechanics group, during which her project focussed on the effect of movement on joint morphogenesis in the chick embryo model system. Prior to joining the Developmental Mechanics Lab, Devi graduated from the University of York with an BSc in Biology.
Vikesh Chandaria, PhD Student
Vikesh Chandaria is a PhD student in the Department of Bioengineering. His current research is in the area of skeletogenesis, in particular the influence of biophysical stimuli on embryonic joint development. Before joining the Developmental Biomechanics Lab, Vikesh graduated from Imperial College London with a Masters in Biomedical Engineering in 2012. Vikesh also completed an MRes in Biomedical Research at Imperial College London, with one of his two research projects completed in the Developmental Biomechanics Lab.
Aurelie Levillain, Postdoctoral Researcher
Dr. Aurélie Levillain is a postdoctoral Research Associate in the department of Bioengineering. Her current research is on the effect of foetal movements on the development of the spine. Prior to joining the Developmental Biomechanics Lab, Aurélie completed her PhD in Biomechanics at Ecole Centrale Lyon (France) in 2016, where her research focused on the effect of osteoarthritis on the mechanical and microstructural properties of the knee menisci. She also holds an Engineering degree from Ecole Centrale Lyon and a master degree in Biomechanics from University of Lyon.
Cristian Parisi, Postdoctoral Researcher
Dr Cristian Parisi is a postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Bioengineering of Imperial College London, UK. His main research interests are in the area of developmental biomechanics, focusing on the role of mechanical forces induced by prenatal movements in joint morphogenesis by using a mechanostimulation bioreactor for in vitro culture of an experimental model of prenatal limb explants. Prior to joining Imperial College, Dr Parisi graduated with honours in Materials Engineering at the University of Salento (Lecce, Italy) in 2012, and he will obtain his PhD in Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering from King’s College London (UK) in 2017. His PhD research project concerned the design and development of a novel composite scaffold for the regeneration of cartilage and underlying bone tissue in joint.
Paraskevi (Vivien) Sotiriou, PhD Student
Paraskevi (Vivien) Sotiriou is a PhD student in the department of Bioengineering. Her current research is on the effects of passive movement on abnormal joint morphogenesis. Before joining the group as a PhD student she completed her MSc in Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College London in 2015. Her diploma thesis was on the development of the spinal column of embryos both in the absence and presence of foetal movements. In 2014, she graduated from the School of Applied Mathematical and Physical Sciences of the National Technical University of Athens.
Stefaan Verbruggen, Postdoctoral Researcher
Dr. Stefaan Verbruggen is a postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Bioengineering of Imperial College London, UK. Dr. Verbruggen’s research is in the area of developmental biomechanics, focusing on how the prenatal biomechanical environment affects the development of musculoskeletal diseases in later life. The project is funded by Arthritis Research UK. Prior to joining the Developmental Biomechanics Lab at Imperial College, Dr. Verbruggen conducted postdoctoral research in the Biomechanics Research Centre at the National University of Ireland Galway. Dr. Verbruggen holds a bachelor degree and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the National University of Ireland Galway in 2013, where his research focused on the mechanobiology of bone cells in both health and disease.
Alumni & Former team members
Dr Rebecca Rolfe, Postdoctoral research associate (2015-16), Project title: "Developmental biomechanics of the spine". Now Postdoctoral fellow at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.
Ms Samantha Martin, Research Technician (2014-2016)
Devi Bridglal, MRes students (2014-15), Project title: "Rescuing joint shape after immobility"
Zuheir Zaidon, MRes student (2014-15), Project title: "The effects of short and long-term flaccid paralyses on the chick hip joint"
Mario Giorgi, PhD student (2011-2015), Project title: "Mechanobiological predictions of fetal joint morphogenesis".
Susana Ramos, MRes student (2013-2014). Project title: "Characterisation of mechanical properties of developing skeletal tissues"
Hannah Thompson, MRes student (2013-2014). Project title: "How does movement affect embryonic skeletal development?"
Vikesh Chandaria, MRes Student (2012-2013). Project title: " The influence Of biophysical stimuli on joint morphogenesis"