Dr Vanessa Hearnden

Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Lecturer in Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering

Dr Vanessa Hearnden
v.hearnden@sheffield.ac.uk
+44 114 215 7098

Full contact details

Dr Vanessa Hearnden
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
North Campus
Broad Lane
Sheffield
S3 7HQ
Profile

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.

Current projects:

  • 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.

Current projects:

  • 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.

Publications

Journal articles

Chapters

Conference proceedings papers

  • Samourides A, Browning L, Chen B & Hearnden V (2018) Porosity of poly(glycerol sebacate urethane) scaffolds controls angiogenic response and tissue ingrowth in vivo. eCM Online Periodical, 2018, RIS download Bibtex download
  • Roman S, Mangir N & Hearnden V (2016) 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 RIS download Bibtex download
  • Grayson A, Hearnden VL, Colley H, Bolt R, Jabreel A & Murdoch C (2016) 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. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Boadi J, Byers RA, Fernandes J, Mittar S, Hearnden V, Lu Z, MacNeil S, Thornhill M, Murdoch C, Hunter KD , McKechnie A et al (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. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Colley HE, Hearnden V, Wayakanon K, Cecchin D, Armes S, Battaglia G, Murdoch C & Thornhill MH (2012) Tissue engineered models of oral disease for the study of a novel drug delivery system. ORAL DISEASES, Vol. 18 (pp 7-7) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Murdoch C, Thornhill MH, Fang H-Y, Hearnden V & Colley HE (2012) CXCL12/CXCR4 axis mediates recruitment of monocytes to oral cancer spheroids. ORAL DISEASES, Vol. 18 (pp 8-8) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Hearnden V, Rehman IU, MacNeil S, Murdoch C, Thornhill MH, Hunter K & Colley HE (2012) Investigation of Raman Spectroscopy and Optical Coherence Tomography to Aid in Diagnosis of Oral Cancer. EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF CANCER, Vol. 48 (pp S287-S287) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Colley HE, Hearnden V, Cecchin D, Armes S, Battaglia G, Murdoch C & Thornhill MH (2012) 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) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Sorrell I, Webb SD, Shipley RJ, Hearnden VL, Colley HE & Murdoch C (2012) Abstract 4918: Modeling polymersome delivery of anticancer therapeutics. Molecular and Cellular Biology RIS download Bibtex download
  • Colley HE, Hearnden V, Murdoch C, Armes S, Battaglia G & Thornhill MH (2010) Using polymersomes to deliver chemotherapeutic agents to oral cancer cells. ORAL DISEASES, Vol. 16(6) (pp 527-527) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Hearnden V, Smith L, Colley H, Thornhill M, Murdoch C, Smallwood R, Matcher S & MacNeil S (2010) Using tissue-engineered oral cancer models to evaluate non-invasive diagnostic technologies. ORAL DIS, Vol. 16(6) (pp 518-518) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Hearnden V, Battaglia G, MacNeil S, Murdoch C & Thornhill M (2009) 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) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Hearnden V, Battaglia G, Murdoch C, Thornhill M & MacNeil S (2008) 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) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Workman V, Penuelas A, Higginbotham S, Roman S, Giblin V, MacNeil S, Green N & Hearnden V () 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) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bullock G, Miller C, McKechnie A & Hearnden V () 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) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Alvarez A, Shepherd J & Hearnden V () Using adipose-derived stromal cells and tissue to induce vascularization and soft tissue wound healing. eCM Online Periodical, 2018, Collection 4 (pp 129-129) RIS download Bibtex download
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)