Dr Vanessa Hearnden
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Lecturer in Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering
+44 114 215 7098
Full contact details
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Vanessa Hearnden joined the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in 2015 as Lecturer in Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering.
Vanessa’s undergraduate degree was in Biomedical Science; she then obtained her PhD in Tissue Engineering from the University of Sheffield in 2011
Dr Hearnden previously worked as a post doc in the Medical School and School of Clinical Dentistry, gaining experience of both lab-based studies and clinical research.
- Research interests
Dr Hearnden’s research focuses on tissue engineering as a tool to both understand the fundamentals of disease processes and to develop novel diagnostic and treatment strategies. With expertise in primary cell biology and three-dimensional cell biology Dr Hearnden’s work focuses on developing regenerative medicine strategies to improve soft tissue wound healing.
Adipose derived therapies for soft tissue wound healing
Adipose tissues contain a rich source of stem cells, regenerative progenitor cells and stimulatory proteins. The use of adipose-derived therapies in plastic surgery has grown in popularity in recent years which has demonstrated its safety and use in a range of applications, however, a basic science understanding of these therapies is currently lacking. Dr Hearnden’s research group are working with human adipose tissue and its components to understand the role fat can play in soft tissue wound healing.
- Preventing skin contraction in adult and paediatric burns patients using autologous fat. (Funded by Sheffield Hospitals Charity)
- Fat for scars: How does adipose tissue reduce skin stiffness? (Funded by EPSRC)
- Adipose therapies for angiogenesis in soft tissue wound healing. (Funded by CONACyT and the University of Sheffield)
Three dimensional in vitro models of oral cancer
Dr Hearnden, along with colleagues in the School of Clinical Dentistry, developed a series of tissue-engineered models ranging from healthy oral epithelium to precancerous dysplastic lesions and invasive squamous cell carcinoma. These three dimensional in vitro models provide a valuable tool for studying many aspects of oral biology including cancer, infection and soft tissue disease.
- Characterisation of the factors that underpin the success of emergent group A Streptococcus variants using novel human tonsil infection models. (Funded by Wellcome Trust - PI Dr Claire Turner)
- Tissue engineering for the treatment of medicines related osteonecrosis of the jaw (MRONJ). (Funded by EPSRC)
Novel diagnostic technologies for oral cancers
Quick, non-invasive and accurate diagnosis of suspicious oral lesions is a key priority in oral medicine. Vanessa has worked on a number of projects which focus on developing new technologies to address this need, including a multi-centre international study investigating a novel microfluidic device which could produce fast diagnoses of potentially malignant oral lesions.
- Synthetic hydroxyapatite inhibits bisphosphonate toxicity to the oral mucosa in vitro. Materials, 13(9). View this article in WRRO
- The effect of porous structure on the cell proliferation, tissue ingrowth and angiogenic properties of poly(glycerol sebacate urethane) scaffolds. Materials Science and Engineering: C, 108. View this article in WRRO
- Fucoidan inhibition of osteosarcoma cells is species and molecular weight dependent. Marine Drugs, 18(2). View this article in WRRO
- Synergistic effect of bovine platelet lysate and various polysaccharides on the biological properties of collagen-based scaffolds for tissue engineering : scaffold preparation, chemo-physical characterization, in vitro and ex ovo evaluation. Materials Science and Engineering: C, 100, 236-246. View this article in WRRO
- Hybrid hydrogels based on polysaccharide gum karaya, poly(vinyl alcohol) and silk fibroin. Materials Research Express, 6(3). View this article in WRRO
- Oral human papillomavirus infection in England and associated risk factors: a case-control study.. BMJ Open, 8(8). View this article in WRRO
- Methyl-donor depletion of head and neck cancer cells in vitro establishes a less aggressive tumour cell phenotype. European Journal of Nutrition, 57(4), 1321-1332. View this article in WRRO
- Use of a Rho kinase inhibitor to increase human tonsil keratinocyte longevity for three-dimensional, tissue engineered tonsil epithelium equivalents. Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, 12(3), e1636-e1646. View this article in WRRO
- Imaging of 3D Tissue-Engineered Models of Oral Cancer Using 890 and 1300 nm Optical Coherence Tomography. Sovremennye tehnologii v medicine, 7(1), 60-68. View this article in WRRO
- Use of electrical impedance spectroscopy to detect malignant and potentially malignant oral lesions. International Journal of Nanomedicine, 9, 4521-4532. View this article in WRRO
- Polymersome-mediated delivery of combination anticancer therapy to head and neck cancer cells: 2D and 3D in vitro evaluation.. Mol Pharm, 11(4), 1176-1188.
- Combined mathematical modelling and experimentation to predict polymersome uptake by oral cancer cells. Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine, 10(2), 339-348. View this article in WRRO
- Use of Impedance Spectroscopy to Detect Potentially Malignant Oral Lesions. Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology and Oral Radiology, 116(3), e201-e201.
- Tissue-engineered oral mucosa.. J Dent Res, 91(7), 642-650.
- New developments and opportunities in oral mucosal drug delivery for local and systemic disease. Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews, 64(1), 16-28.
- Evaluating the use of optical coherence tomography for the detection of epithelial cancers in vitro.. J Biomed Opt, 16(11), 116015. View this article in WRRO
- Local drug delivery for oral mucosal diseases: challenges and opportunities.. Oral Dis, 17 Suppl 1, 73-84.
- Development of tissue-engineered models of oral dysplasia and early invasive oral squamous cell carcinoma. British Journal of Cancer, 105(10), 1582-1592. View this article in WRRO
- Internalization and biodistribution of polymersomes into oral squamous cell carcinoma cells in vitro and in vivo.. Nanomedicine (Lond), 5(7), 1025-1036.
- Enhanced fluorescence imaging of live cells by effective cytosolic delivery of probes.. PLoS One, 5(5), e10459. View this article in WRRO
- A micro-incubator for cell and tissue imaging. BioTechniques, 48(2), 135-138.
- Diffusion studies of nanometer polymersomes across tissue engineered human oral mucosa.. Pharm Res, 26(7), 1718-1728.
- Tissue-engineered models of oral soft tissue diseases, Biomaterials for Oral and Dental Tissue Engineering (pp. 245-255). Elsevier
- List of contributors, Biomaterials for Oral and Dental Tissue Engineering (pp. xiii-xvii). Elsevier
- Tracking nanoparticles in three-dimensional tissue-engineered models using confocal laser scanning microscopy. (pp. 41-51).
Conference proceedings papers
- Porosity of poly(glycerol sebacate urethane) scaffolds controls angiogenic response and tissue ingrowth in vivo. eCM Online Periodical, 2018,
- View this article in WRRO Angiogenic potential of adipose derived stem cells compared to the stromal vascular fraction. European Cells and Materials, Vol. 32(Supp 4) (pp 40-40)
- View this article in WRRO Isolation and immortalisation of tonsillar keratinocytes for three-dimensional tissue engineered tonsil mucosal models. European Cells and Materials, Vol. 31(Suppl 1) (pp 20-20), 28 June 2016 - 1 July 2016.
- 1300 nm and 890 nm OCT images of oral cancer tissue engineered models and biopsy samples offer complimentary performance (Conference Presentation). Photonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics XII, 13 February 2016 - 18 February 2016.
- Tissue engineered models of oral disease for the study of a novel drug delivery system. ORAL DISEASES, Vol. 18 (pp 7-7)
- CXCL12/CXCR4 axis mediates recruitment of monocytes to oral cancer spheroids. ORAL DISEASES, Vol. 18 (pp 8-8)
- Investigation of Raman Spectroscopy and Optical Coherence Tomography to Aid in Diagnosis of Oral Cancer. EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF CANCER, Vol. 48 (pp S287-S287)
- Polymersomes - a Novel Drug Delivery System for the Delivery of Chemotherapeutic Agents to Oral Cancer Cells. EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF CANCER, Vol. 48 (pp S254-S254)
- Abstract 4918: Modeling polymersome delivery of anticancer therapeutics. Molecular and Cellular Biology
- Using polymersomes to deliver chemotherapeutic agents to oral cancer cells. ORAL DISEASES, Vol. 16(6) (pp 527-527)
- Using tissue-engineered oral cancer models to evaluate non-invasive diagnostic technologies. ORAL DIS, Vol. 16(6) (pp 518-518)
- Penetration of polymersome drug and gene delivery nanoparticles into in vitro models of head and neck cancer and tissue engineered oral mucosa. ORAL ONCOLOGY (pp 66-66)
- Imaging of polymersome penetration into 3D tissue engineered models of oral mucosa and head and neck cancer. European Cells and Materials, Vol. 16(SUPPL. 3) (pp 58)
- There’s more to fat than stem cells, characterising fat graft materials to understand the regenerative properties of adipose tissues. eCM Meeting Abstracts 2020, Collection 1, Vol. Collection 1(2020 TERMIS EU) (pp 158-158)
- Bisphosphonates prevent the formation and re-epithelialisation of the oral mucosa in vitro in 3D. eCM Online Periodical, 2018, Collection 4, Vol. Collection 4 (pp 8-8)
- Using adipose-derived stromal cells and tissue to induce vascularization and soft tissue wound healing. eCM Online Periodical, 2018, Collection 4 (pp 129-129)
- Teaching activities
Dr Hearnden is Course Director for the MEng Biomaterials Science and Engineering degree and teaches on the following degree courses:
- BEng and MEng Bioengineering
- BEng and MEng Biomaterials Science and Engineering
- MSc Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine
She teaches on modules including: "Tissue structure and function", "The Biology and Chemistry of Living Systems" and "Tissue Engineering Approaches to Failure in Living Systems". Dr Hearnden also delivers sessions in which students develop transferable skills such as scientific writing, statistics and ethical decision making. Dr Hearnden is a personal tutor for Bioengineering students in all years.
- Professional activities
Chair of the White Rose Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Group (BiTEG) and on the committee for the Tissue and Cell Engineering Society (TCES)