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Niamh Nowlan, Principal Investigator

Niamh Nowlan

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.

Dr Nowlan holds an ERC Starting Grant (Project #336306, MechJointMorph), and is also PI on a Project Grant from Arthritis Research UK (with co-investigator Dr Andrew Phillips, Imperial College London), and PI on a Project Grant from the Leverhulme Trust (with co-investigators Prof James Iatridis, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York and Dr Michelle Oyen, Cambridge University).

Devi Bridglal, PhD Student

Devi Bridglal

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

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.

Samantha Martin, Research Technician

Samantha Martin

Samantha Martin is a Research Technician in the Department of Bioengineering. She provides support for molecular biology, imaging and histology techniques and for the coordination and maintenance of the laboratory. Previously she worked within the department for Dr Simon Schultz in the Neural Coding Laboratory, providing research expertise for the project to understand information processing in the mammalian cerebral cortical circuit and laboratory management. Before joining Imperial College Samantha worked as a Neuroscience Research Technician at King’s College London. Samantha holds a bachelor degree in Biochemistry.

Rebecca Rolfe, Postdoctoral Researcher

Rebecca Rolfe

Dr. Rebecca Rolfe joined the Department of Bioengineering in April 2015 as a postdoctoral Research Associate. Dr. Rolfe's research is focused on the importance of fetal movements for the development of the spine.This research is funded by a project grant from the Leverhulme Trust. Prior to joining the group at Imperial, Dr. Rolfe completed her interdisciplinary PhD research at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, which focused on the mechanical regulation of skeletal development, through the identification and characterisation of genes that respond to mechanical stimulation during bone and joint development. Dr. Rolfe obtained a MRes in Biomedicine from University College London (2010) and holds a B.A. moderatorship in Physiology from Trinity College Dublin (2008).

Paraskevi (Vivien) Sotirious, PhD Student

Vivien Sotiriou

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

Stefaan Verbruggen

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.


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"

Aidan Acquah, James Bezer, Jason Lee, Thisara Niriella & Sajni Shah, UROP Researchers (Summer 2015)

Mario Giorgi, PhD student (2011-2015), Project title: "Mechanobiological predictions of fetal joint morphogenesis".

Tyler Kim, UROP Researcher (2014-2015). Project title: "The effects of prenatal movement on development of the spine"

Cecilia Kan, Daniel Ko, Akajla Logeswaran & Jessica Loo, UROP Researchers (Summer 2014).

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?"

Pyry Helkkula, UROP Researcher (Summer 2013). Project title: "3D classification of joint shapes using computational methods"

Vikesh Chandaria, MRes Student (2012-2013). Project title: " The influence Of biophysical stimuli on joint morphogenesis"

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