Professor Sheila MacNeil

BSc, PhD
Professor of Tissue Engineering
Director, Interdisciplinary Programmes, Faculty of Engineering 

Telephone: +44 (0) 114 222 5995
Fax: +44 (0) 114 222 5943

Address: The Kroto Research Institute
North Campus, University of Sheffield, Broad Lane, Sheffield, S3 7HQ

Prof S Macneil

Sheila MacNeil is Professor of Tissue Engineering in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, joining the department in 2000. She has an undergraduate degree in physiology from the University of Aberdeen and a doctorate on the endocrinology of manic depression from the Medical School of the University of Sheffield. She is Director of the Interdisciplinary Programmes Office for the Faculty of Engineering (from February 2010) and Director of the Faculty degree of Bioengineering (launched September 2010).

She has previously been Deputy Director of the Kroto Research Institute (from 2005 to 2009) and Director of the University Centre for Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering from 2002 to 2009, promoting interdisciplinary research between engineering, physical sciences and life sciences (see She was also a founding Director of the University of Sheffield spin-out company, CellTran Limited from 2000 to 2007. She was the Sheffield lead for an EPSRC Doctoral Training Centre in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (a DTC held between three Universities, Leeds, Sheffield and York) from 2008 to 2011.

Research interests

Her research focuses on developing tissue engineering which will benefit patients, alongside fundamental work to develop new understanding and tools in the area of tissue engineering. Her primary research interests are in tissue engineering of soft tissues – skin, oral mucosa, urethra and cornea, with a strong focus on translating research for clinical benefit. Her group have a long history of working with clinical NHS colleagues using tissue engineered skin to benefit burns patients (from 1992) and more recently patients with chronic ulcers (2004) and patients requiring reconstructive surgery of the urethra (from 2007). She has developed the product Myskin™ which was clinically evaluated and developed commercially and has been available in the UK for patients with extensive skin loss due to burns injuries and to chronic non-healing ulcers from 2005, currently available through the company Altrika. Additionally she has developed 3D tissue engineered models used to study a wide range of normal and abnormal conditions spanning wound healing, skin contracture, pigmentation, melanoma invasion, angiogenesis, bacterial infection and skin sensitisation.

Key projects

Development of biodegradable electrospun carriers for delivery of corneal cells for treatment of diseases of scarring cornea (in collaboration with LVPEI, Hyderabad, India).
Development of a polymer for specifically recognising and binding bacteria (in collaboration with Dr Steve Rimmer, Chemistry and Professor Ian Douglas, Dental School). These polymers are now being developed in collaboration with Smith & Nephew (TSB funding) for detecting infection in chronic wounds and with Wellcome funding for detecting the source of infection of ulceration of the cornea (in collaboration with LVPEI, Hyderabad, India).
Development of biodegradable electrospun scaffolds for use in tissue engineering of skin and oral mucosa. Applications - reconstructive surgery for burns contractures, replacement of scarred tissue of the urethra and more recently for repair of the weakened tissues of the human pelvic floors.

Professional activities and recognition

  • Awarded the President's Prize from UK Society for Biomaterials in recognition of long standing service to biomaterials science both in the UK and internationally (2014)
  • Member of EPSRC Peer Review College (2010 onwards)
  • Member of UK Tissue and Cell Engineering Society (TCES) (2009 onwards)
  • Member of Swiss National Science Foundation NRP 63 - Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine (2008 onwards)
  • NC3R Grant Reviewing Panel (2008 onwards)
  • MRC Small Grant Reviewing Panel (2006-2007)
  • Member of EPSRC Grant Reviewing College (2003-2006)
  • Member of BBSRC Engineering and Biological Systems Panel (2000-2003)
  • Member of MRC Regenerative Medicine Research Committee


MAT206 (10 credits) – Physiology of Neural and Endocrine System
MAT300 (20 credits) – Tissue Engineering
FCE101 (20 credits) - An Introduction to Bioengineering.
FCE201 - 10 credits - Advanced Bioengineering Topics

Supervision of 2 to 3 honours project students per year for 30 credit BEng (MAT356) and 60 credit (MAT404) research projects.

Key publications

  • Walker NG, Mistry AR, Smith LE, Eves PC, Tsaknakis G, Forster S, Watt SM, MacNeil S. A Chemically-defined Carrier for the Delivery of Human Mesenchymal Stem/Stromal Cells to Skin Wounds. Tissue Engineering. 18(2):143-55 (2012)
  • Sangwan VS, Basu S, MacNeil S, Balasubramanian D. Simple limbal epithelial transplantation (SLET): a novel surgical technique for the treatment of unilateral limbal stem cell deficiency. British Journal of Ophthalmology. 96(7):931-4. (2012)
  • Bye FJ, Wang L, Bullock AJ, Blackwood KA, Ryan AJ, MacNeil S. Postproduction Processing of Electrospun Fibres for Tissue Engineering. Journal of Visualized Experiments: JoVE. (66), e4172, DOI: 10.3791/4172 (2012). (
  • Chapple CR, MacNeil S. Tissue engineered oral mucosa for urethroplasty: Past experience and future directions. Journal of Urology. 187(5):1533-1534 (2012)
  • Gilmore L, Rimmer S, McArthur SL, Mittar S, Sun D, MacNeil S. Arginine functionalisation of hydrogels for heparin binding – a supramolecular approach to developing a pro-angiogenic biomaterial Biotechnol Bioeng. 110(1):296-317 (2013)
  • Jiang D, Qi Y, Walker NG, Sindrilaru A, Hainzl A, Wlaschek M, MacNeil S, Scharffetter-Kochanek K. The effect of adipose tissue derived MSCs delivered by a chemically defined carrier on full-thickness cutaneous wound healing. Biomaterials. 34(10):2501-15 (2013)
  • Mangera A, Bullock AJ, Roman S, Chapple CR, MacNeil S. A comparison of candidate scaffolds for tissue engineering for stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse repair. BJU International. (In press).
    Deshpande P, Ramachandran C, Sefat F, Mariappan I, Johnson C, McKean R, Hannah M, Sangwan VS, Claeyssens F, Ryan AJ, MacNeil S. Simplifying corneal surface regeneration using a biodegradable synthetic membrane and limbal tissue explants. Biomaterials. 34(21): 5088-5106 (2013)
  • Ortega I, Deshpande P, Gill A, MacNeil S, Claeyssens F. Development of a microfabricated artificial limbus with micropockets for cell delivery to the cornea. Biofabrication. 5(2):025008 (2013).
  • Ortega I, Ryan AJ, Deshpande P, MacNeil S, Claeyssens F. Combined microfabrication and electrospinning to produce 3-D architectures for corneal repair. Acta Biomaterialia. 9(3):5511-5520 (2013)
  • Li X, Upadhyay AK, Bullock AJ, Dicolandrea T, Xu J, Binder RL, Robinson MK, Finlay DR, Mills KJ, Bascom CC, Kelling CK, Isfort RJ, Haycock JW, MacNeil S, Smallwood R. Skin stem cell hypotheses and long term clone survival – explored using agent based modelling. Scientific Reports. 3. 1904 (2013).
  • Roman S, Mangera A, Osman NI, Bullock AJ, Chapple CR, Macneil S. Developing a tissue engineered repair material for treatment of stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse-which cell source? Neurourol Urodyn. 2013 Jul 19. doi: 10.1002/nau.22443. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Bye FJ, Bissola J, Black L, Bullock AJ, Puwanun S, Moharamzadeh K, Reilly GC, Ryan AJ, MacNeil S. Development of bilayer and trilayer nanofibrous/microfibrous scaffolds for regenerative medicine. Biomater. Sci. 1:942-951 (2013)
  • Sun T, Adra S, Smallwood R, Holcombe M and MacNeil S. Exploring Hypotheses of the Actions of TGF-β1 in Epidermal Wound Healing Using a 3D Computational Multiscale Model of the Human Epidermis.  PloS One. Available Online. (2009).
  • Canton I, McKean R, Charnley M, Blackwood KA, Fiorica C, Ryan AJ and MacNeil S.  Development of an ibuprofen-releasing biodegradable PLA/PGA electrospun scaffold for tissue regeneration.  Biotechnology & Bioengineering 105(2): 396-408. (2010).
  • Deshpande P, McKean R, Blackwood KA, Senior RA, Ogunbanjo A, Ryan AJ, MacNeil S. Using poly(lactide-co-glycolide) electrospun scaffolds to deliver cultured epithelial cells to the cornea. Regen Med. 5(3):395-401. (2010).
  • Krajewsak E, Lewis C, Staton C, MacGowan A and MacNeil S.  New insights into induction of early-stage neovascularization in an improved tissue-engineered model of psoriasis.  Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine.  Available Online. (2010).
  • Shepherd J, Sarker P, Rimmer S, Swanson L, MacNeil S and Douglas I. Hyperbranched poly(NIPAM) polymers modified with antibiotics can both bind bacteria and reduce Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacterial burden in infected human tissue engineered skin. Biomaterials. 32:258-267 (2011).

Publications 2005 onwards (pdf, 75kb)

Research group

Centre for Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering

Postdoctoral Research Assistants

Dr Anthony Bullock
Dr Pallavi Deshpande
Dr Farshid Sefat
Dr Ilida Ortega
Dr Luciana Bostan
Dr Joey Shepherd

Clinical Research Fellows

Mr Nadir Osman
Ms Naside Mangir
Mr Chris Hillary

PhD Students

Mrs Munira Shahbuddin (co-supervised with Chemistry)
Miss Annika Clifton (co-supervised with Chemistry)
Miss Amanda Harvey (co-supervised with Chemistry)
Miss Enas Hassan (co-supervised with Chemistry)
Mr Sabiniano Roman (co-supervised with Mr Chris Chapple, Consultant Urologist, Royal Hallamshire Hospital).
Miss Ceyla Yorucu (co-supervised with Dr I Rehman)
Mr Christopher Tse (co-supervised with Dr P Smith & Prof J Haycock)
Mr Daniel Cozens (co-supervised with the Medical School)
Miss Giulia Gigliobianco (co-supervised with Dr CK Chong)
Miss Jenny Ventress (co-supervised with the Medical School)
Mr Joseph Boadi (co-supervised with Dr S Matcher)
Miss Lindsey Dew (co-supervised with Drs CK Chong and F Claeyssens)
Mr Sam Beckett (co-supervised with Dr S Matcher)
Mr Samand Pashneh-Tala (co-supervised with Dr CK Chong)
Miss Sasima Puwanun (co-supervised with Dr G Reilly)