Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering

Understanding how materials interact with the human body and what we can do to develop new materials to improve quality of life is what drives our research into biomaterials and tissue engineering.

Fractured glass surface. Glass investigated for its potential to immobilise irradiated graphite.

Our biomaterials research is divided into four sub-themes:


Biomaterials are being developed in response to clinical need. Research includes work on new biomaterials for cell culture and tissue engineering, drug release, transfection, prosthetics and enhanced implant biocompatibility.

Key contacts for biomaterials:

Tissue engineering

Tissue engineering research at Sheffield is working towards a number of targets including skin, nerve, cartilage, bone, cornea, urethra and oral mucosa. These are important for clinical applications, as well as providing proof-of-concept for engineering more complex tissues.

Key contacts for tissue engineering:

Stem cell research

Stem cell research at Sheffield includes directing adult-derived cell properties towards bone, nerve, tendon and cartilage cells and includes bioreactor scale-up approaches for therapeutic applications. Considerable excitement and potential surrounds stem cells as they can be grown and transformed into specialised cells such as muscle, bone or nerve by routine cell culture. It is therefore thought that stem cell therapy might be able to dramatically change how we treat human disease.

Key contacts for stem cell research:


Nature produces amazing mineral composites such as bones, teeth and shells and is generally far more specific, efficient, environmental-friendly and cheaper than modern industrial processes. We are using computer simulations to understand the mechanisms used by nature to grow mineral structures and how they modify the properties of materials via molecular additives. Our work also explores molecular-mineral interfaces in organisms, sensors and biofilms.

Key contacts for biominerals:

Centres of excellence

The University's cross-faculty research centres harness our interdisciplinary expertise to solve the world's most pressing challenges.