Chemistry

Department staff

Dr Paul Roach

Photo of Dr Paul Roach

Senior Lecturer in Biomaterials and Interface Science

Dr Paul Roach was appointed as a senior lecturer at Loughborough University in Dec 2016 after spending 7 years developing his group at Keele University. He was appointed as a lecturer in Cell and Tissue Engineering at Keele University in November 2009 and promoted to Senior lecturer in Feb 2016.

His research interests build upon his interdisciplinary background spanning synthetic organic chemistry, materials science, experimental physics and instrumentation, and biological response to surface cues.

In 2005 Dr Roach received a Ph.D. in Chemistry for his investigation of protein-surface interactions, providing new challenges in materials chemistry and biological sensing. Dr Roach was then appointed as a research fellow in the physics team at Nottingham Trent University to design and fabricate "Next Generation Love Waves". These acoustic sensors can be designed to support bulk shear or surface waves, used to detect surface binding events. Surface modification, both during fabrication processes and final construction, therefore gives rise to enhancement in signal allowing analytes to be detected at lower levels. Micro-patterning of such devices also leads to enhancement of signal, along with fundamentally different modes also being generated.

In 2008 Dr Roach broadened his understanding within the biological discipline, taking an MRC funded postdoctoral research position at the University of Nottingham, working between the Schools of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, using a combinatorial approach to examine the effects of surface cues on cell interaction. Gaining experience of low pressure plasma polymer systems for the modification of cell culture substrates, this project also allowed him to combine interests of materials science and biological-surface interaction, developing skills in cell culture methodology with a particular interest in neural biology. 

Dr Roach has also been involved with several projects involving the design and fabrication of novel materials and surface coatings, also being incorporated into microfluidic devices. These surfaces have either been investigated for use as biomaterials or created for the investigation of superhydrophobicity on protein adsorption. 

My overall research aim is to combine my knowledge of chemical and bio‑surface engineering and development of novel instrumentation to revolutionise materials/ devices used in healthcare. This project utilises my experience in these areas to develop complex cellular models for use within tissue engineering of neural architecture. With a formal education in fundamental chemistry, I am internationally recognised for multidisciplinary research in particular advanced materials, biomaterial interface science, nano-bio-interactions and micro-fabrication, as evidenced by publications and invited talks. Drawing on my expertise I am able to engineer materials which can then be used to control biological responses, manipulating biology in vitro to achieve my aims and aspirations.

Building on the fundamental chemical principles of surface engineering and biological control at interfaces, I am leading an area within the biomaterials / biofabrication field focussing on the control of cellular organisation and function through the presentation of engineered materials and structures. Much of my current work is directed to the control of neural cells with several publications on the use of surface cues and nanoparticle interactions with neural sub-populations. In preliminary studies I have been able to steer neural stem cell (NSC) differentiation using advanced materials and am currently supervising a PhD student to investigate computational modelling methods to optimise engineering of surfaces by the correlation of material chemistry parameters and desired NSC responses

The main areas in which I work are:

  • Micro-/nano-fabrication
  • Designer biomaterials
  • Tissue Engineering
  • Neural Engineering

Being very active in research, learning and teaching activities, Dr Roach has been elected to the UK Society for Biomaterials council and sits on the executive Committee for the Royal Society of chemistry Biomaterials Chemistry special interest group. Dr Roach sits on the steering group for the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) for Regenerative Medicine (Loughborough-Nottingham-Keele), having been the Deputy Director and Operations Manager for Keele. 

As an ESPRC college member, Dr Roach also sits on the EPSRC Early Career Forum for Manufacturing, allowing engagement with industry and other academics to drive the research agenda in this area.

Dr Roach has established international links for research and teaching, with experience of establishing Medical Research Training programmes with links in Saudi Arabia.  Dr Roach was also appointed to an adjunct position within the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands to facilitate networking and collaborative research activities.

Dr Roach was previously Director for the Cell and Tissue Engineering MSc course and co-director and founder of an MSc in Oncology at Keele University, where he now holds an honorary lecturer status. As a visiting lecturer position at Rhein-Waal University of Applied Sciences in Kleve, Germany where he teaches clinical aspects of Tissue Engineering. 

  • Programme Director for Natural Sciences
  • Module lead for CMC010 – Environmental Chemistry
  • Lecturer on CMB018 - Cell Structure and Biochemistry