Photo of Dr Jude Curran

Dr Jude Curran BEng (Hons) PhD

Lecturer Mechanical, Materials & Aerospace Eng


Novel Material Production for Control of Biological Responses for Tissue Engineering Applications

We are an ageing population and there is an increasing demand for a better quality of life for longer. Realistically intervention therapies and novel materials used in the production of tissue and joint replacements, need to be manufactured more cost effectively and work significantly better and for longer if the fields of biomaterials and tissue engineering are to reach their full potential benefit to society. To achieve this we need to increase our understanding of how specific material properties interact within the body and then exploit this knowledge to develop directly implantable materials/scaffolds that can induce a patient’s own cells (stem cells) to produce new tissue. These advances in material development will replace the need for expensive drug therapies and treatments that rely on the limited supply or autograft and allograft derived scaffolds.
A fundamental research hypothesis that has transcended the majority of my current, and previous, projects is that cell function can be directly related to, and controlled by, initial interactions with the underlying surface. This has led to the development of systems that can be used to isolate specific material variables and understand the exact mechanisms of cellular responses to well characterised stimuli. In addition to developing technologies that are integral to model surface production, for gathering fundamental data, my research also focuses on successful translation of data from model systems to usable therapies in cell contacting applications.
Research into model surface production has included novel techniques such as Dip Pen Nanolithography (DPN), Polymer Pen Lithography and resulted in the identification of synthetic material parameters, controllable at the sub-micron scale, that can be used to control initial cell adhesion and subsequent function. These materials are stable and require no supplementation with exogenous biological factors, the materials control initial integrin binding and subsequent mechanotransduction events.

Translation and Production of Three Dimensional Cost Effective Materials for Tissue Engineering Applications

Any materials developed for use within the field of Tissue Engineering must be cost effective, stable and able to withstand mechanical, physical and biological stresses that are prevalent within the body. Based on the identification of specific material parameters that can be used to control biological responses we are actively utilizing these design criteria in collaboration with an array of additive manufacturing techniques to produce directly implantable, off the shelf degradable scaffolds that can be used as tissue replacement vehicles.

Research Grants
  • Novel nanoscale osteoinductive coating for dental implants
  • Novel nanoscale definition materials for stem cells therapeutics and bone regenerative medicine
  • Control of Biological Responses by Isolated Synthetic Material Variables.
Research Collaborations

Dr Lu Shin Wong

Project: Polymer Pen Lithography (PPL)
External: Manchester University

The design and production of chemical nano-arrays utilisng PPL systems for the effective control of protein and stem cell responses on model surfaces in vitro.

Ocular Biomaterials and Biomechanics


Optimising surface modifications to control cell responses, designing cost effective and clinically relevant solutions.

Dr Heike Arnolds Surface Science


Incorporation of novel techniques to detrmine the orientation/availability of a group of interest on a surafce. Derivation of data required to enhance the performance of materials in cell contacting applications.

Professor Peter Myers


Development of novel techniques for enhnaced surface modification of substrates to control cell interactions

Dr Rui Chen


This has been a continuous collaboration that has transgressed through numerous other internal/external projects. The main research ethos is to understand how material parameters can be used to dictate cellular responses, this has been investigated in an array of different bulk materials and forms i.e. bioglass scaffolds and gels. The success of this relationship has lead to numerous papers and conference abstracts and has been used to underpin a lot of our current research activities.

Prof John Hunt


Prof Hunt was my PhD supervisor and we have worked together from this point to develop systems that can be used to evaluate specific cell material interactions, the role of inflammatory cells in determining the efficency of novel therapies and how these factors can be manipulated by presenting cells with the correct spatial cues both from a material and a stimulated medium. As the research has progressed the numbers of cell types, sources and are knowledge of the heterogenous nature of our starting populations has helped to refine our in vitro models and the development of a new generation of "smart" materials that cen be used both in vitro and in vivo.

Duncan Graham

External: Strathclyde University

Developing model surfaces that can be used to define the correct combination of parameters including surface energy, nanotopography and surface chemistry to produce homogenous cell responses. A parallel developmental aspect of the colllaboration is to use novel technologies to identify exactly where the cell is interacting with a modified (nano-patterned) surface and how the presence of a specified modification i.e. chemical group, peptide or DNA controls intergrin clustering, focal contat formation and subsequent cell signalling.

Prof Brian Meenan

External: The University of Ulster

Prof Kevin Shakesheff Advanced Drug Delivery and Tissue Engineering

External: The University of Nottingham

Within the REMEDI Grand Challenges in regenerative medicine programme I have been acting in a PI role on a project focused on enhancing the efficency of an injectable system for bone healing, combining expertise in material production, modification, cell isolation and infiltration into a three dimensional scaffold, cell culture and analysis. This project focused on introducing chemical groups to PLGA particles and quantifying how the introduction of these groups not only changed eth physical and mechanical properties on teh injectable system, but also cintrolled the cell response in vitro. the success of this project lead to additional funding for a PhD student to continue and develop the work.

Dr Stephen Richardson

External: The University of Manchester

Developing PLGA scaffolds that could be used in IVD. Optimising cell seeding and culture conditions for efficient population of the scaffolds with stem cells prior to introducing the scaffolds in vivo.

Prof Jim Gallagher


Evaluating how changes in bulk chemistry, more specificaly changing the TCP/HA content of bone contacting materials designed for impaction grafting affected human osteoblast/osteoclast and inflammatory cell responses. This involved identifying products produced in single culture systems to develop co-culture models that could be used to mimick in vivo environments and provide evidence regarding cell attachment, viability and function.