Professor Ipsita Roy

Professor Ipsita RoyPhD in Biochemistry (University of Cambridge),MSc Biotechnology, BSc (Hons) Chemistry

Professor of Biomaterials

Telephone: +44 (0) 114 222 5962
Twitter: @ipsita2015
LinkedIn: Ipsita Roy

Address: Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Kroto Innovation Centre, Broad Lane, Sheffield, S3 7HQ

Professor Ipsita Roy is an expert in microbial biotechnology, natural biomaterials and their biomedical applications. She has recently joined the Department of Material Science and Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, at the University of Sheffield as Professor of Biomaterials. Previously she was Professor at the School of Life Sciences, University of Westminster, London. She is also Visiting Professor at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London. Professor Roy was awarded the prestigious Inlaks Scholarship and the Overseas Research Students Award to study for her PhD at the University of Cambridge.

During her time at Cambridge she was awarded the Churchill College Scholarship, the Lundgren Scholarship, Leche Trust Scholarship and the Cambridge University Philosophical Society Fellowship Award. Her PhD at the Department of Biochemistry was on a B12-dependent enzyme, methylmalonyl-CoA mutase. Her postdoctoral work was at the University of Minnesota, USA, at the Bioprocess Technology Institute, where she worked on fatty acid biosynthesis.

Subsequently, Professor Roy taught at the Indian Institute of Technology, India, for four years as an Assistant Professor. During this time she worked actively on the production of biodegradable polymers from Streptomyces. Professor Roy was at the University of Westminster since 2000 until August 2019, where she was the Research Director of the School of Life Sciences and lead the Applied Biotechnology Research Group. She has published over 100 papers in high ‘Impact Factor’ journals such as Biomaterials, Biomacromolecules, Journal of Royal Society Interface, Acta Biomaterialia and ACS Applied Materials Interfaces. She has presented her work at numerous international conferences.

Research interests and current research

Natural Polymers of bacterial origin and their use in medical and environmentally friendly applications.

Her group is currently focussed on the production of novel Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), a group of FDA-approved natural polymers and their characterisation. She has pioneered the production of PHAs from Gram positive bacteria which lack immunogenic properties and hence are excellent materials for medical applications. Her group is involved in the application of PHAs in the area of hard tissue engineering, soft tissue engineering, wound healing, drug delivery and medical device development. She has also initiated work with bacterial cellulose and γ-polyglutamic acid, as natural polymers for biomedical applications. PHAs are also environmentally friendly polymers that are biodegradable both in the soil and in the sea. She has recently initiated work related to this aspect of PHAs.

Her work has been funded by the EPSRC, BHF, EU, DuPont, 3D BIONET (MRC), CYCLOPS (EPSRC) and WESTFOCUS, London. Professor Roy has been the scientific coordinator of two large EU projects REBIOSTENT, worth 4.9 million Euros with 14 consortium members and HYMEDPOLY, worth 3.5 million Euros with 12 consortium members. She was also the work package leader of another large EU FP7 project, NEURIMP, worth 4.4 million Euros with 8 consortium members. Currently she is work package leader in the H2020: BBI/JU project POLYBIOSKIN worth 3 million Euros with 12 consortium members. All four projects involve the use of PHAs for medical applications, drug eluting biodegradable stents, nerve guidance conduits, antibacterial polymers and wound healing. She is co-PI in the BHF funded Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine Centre led by Imperial College London. She has received EPSRC funding for the development of smart wound healing patches (CYCLOPS) and drug eluting biodegradable stents. She was awarded the ICURe, Innovation to Commercialisation, grant worth £34,905 from Innovate UK for exploring the commercial potential of Biobased Plastics for Medical Applications. She has an ongoing UKERI project on the development of a 3D disease model for cancer. She has been awarded a H2020: BBI/JU grant, ECOAT, where for the first time she will be exploring the green and environmentally friendly aspect of the PHAs and bacterial cellulose for the development of eco-sustainable multifunctional bio-based coatings with enhanced performance and end of life options. This project is worth 4.6 million and includes 16 partners. Finally, her most recent grant is from the 3D BIONET and involves the development of 3D cardiac tissue model and includes mathematical modelling in collaboration with the University of Oxford and Imperial College London.

Research group PhD students:
  • Isabel Orlando (submitted) Novel hydrogel-based hybrid antibacterial polymers for wound healing applications (University of Westminster)
  • Sheila Piarali (submitted) Novel Antibacterial Agents for Innovative Antibacterial Polymers (University of Westminster)
  • Alexandra Paxinou (in progress) Novel Antibacterial Polymers of Natural Origin (University of Westminster)
  • Elena Marcello (in progress) PHA based Antibacterial Polymers for Tissue Engineering (University of Westminster)
  • Qasim Majid (in progress) PHA based regeneration of cardiac tissue (Second Supervisor, in collaboration with Professor Sian Harding, Imperial College London)
  • Maria Leite (in progress) The Biology of the surface of Mars (Second Supervisor, in collaboration with Professor Lewis Dartnell, University of Westminster)
  • Rebecca Barthenilla Garcia (in progress) Production of PHAs using sustainable biomass (Second Supervisor, in collaboration with Professor Lewis Dartnell, University of Westminster)
  • Anabelle Fricker (University of Sheffield)
  • Emmanuel Asare (University of Sheffield)

Teaching and learning interests

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biomaterials
  • Bioengineering
  • Tissue Engineering
  • Regenerative Medicine
  • Biotechnology
  • Drug Delivery
Professional activities and recognition
  • Editor of the Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology (JCTB)
  • Previously special editor of two In Focus Issues of JCTB on Biodegradable polymers and Controlled Drug Delivery
  • Grant reviewing panels for:
    • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
    • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
    • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
    • Austrian Science Fund (Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung, FWF), Austria
    • National Natural Science Foundation of China
    • European Social Fund
    • MUIR
  • Best Chemistry Undergraduate Student Award, St. Stephen's College, 1984, 1985, 1986
  • Professor Seshadri Prize for being the best candidate in the BSc (Hons) Chemistry, University of Delhi, 1986
  • Best Biotechnology Masters Student Award, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, 1988
  • Overseas Research Studentship from the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals, UK, 1989-1991
  • The Inlaks Scholarship, India, for doctoral studies at Cambridge, 1989-1990
  • Churchill College Scholarship, University of Cambridge, UK, 1991
  • Lundgren Scholarship, University of Cambridge, UK, 1992
  • Leche Trust Scholarship, London, UK, 1992
  • Cambridge University Philosophical Society Fellowship Award, Cambridge, UK, 1992
  • Nominated member of the New York Academy of Sciences in recognition of research activities, 1997
Media and public engagement

Tate Modern: The talk, entitled ‘A bug’s life, how plastics producing bacteria can save your life!’, was part of the Tate Exchange series, organised at the Tate Modern, enabling people to collaborate, test ideas and discover new perspectives on life, through art. Professor Roy explained how bacteria, mainly associated with infections, could actually be used as tiny factories for the production of useful bio-products including plastics.

Key publications

Ipsita has published over 100 papers in high ‘Impact Factor’ journals such as Biomaterials, Biomacromolecules, Journal of Royal Society Interface, Acta Biomaterialia and ACS Applied Materials Interfaces. She has presented her work at numerous international conferences.

Google Scholar

Research Gate