Professor Karen Coopman


Pronouns: She/her
  • Professor in Biological Engineering
  • Associate Dean for Research and Innovation
  • Deputy Academic Lead Health and Wellbeing Global Research Challenge


Karen has had a long-standing interest in healthcare and after obtaining her 1st Class BSc (Hons) in Pharmacology from the University of Bristol (2002) went on to complete a PhD on the expression and role of cannabinoid receptors in T lymphocytes at the University of Bath (2006). This was followed by a 2-year Research Associate position at the University of Leicester (sponsored by AstraZeneca) where she worked on a project which focused on the molecular pharmacology and cellular signalling of the GLP-1R. She has been an academic at the University since July 2008 and was promoted to Professor of Biological Engineering in 2023. In addition to leading a research group focused on the manufacture of cell-based therapies, Karen is the Director of the EPSRC/MRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Regenerative Medicine and has held a variety of leadership roles within the Department and wider University including MSc programme lead and Director of Doctoral Programmes. She is currently the Associate Dean for Research and Innovation in the School of Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering and the University HTA licence Designate Individual. 


  • 2013: Institute of Leadership and Management
    • Level 3 award: Leadership and Management
  • 2008-2011: Loughborough University
    • Teaching qualification - New Lecturer’s Route, Accredited by the Higher Education Academy (currently a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy)
  • 2002-2006: University of Bath
    • Ph.D. Research in Pharmacology – An investigation into the expression and role of cannabinoid receptors in T lymphocytes
      Supervisor: Prof. S Ward
  • 1999-2002: University of Bristol
    • B.Sc. (Hons) in Pharmacology: First Class

Professional affiliations:

  • Fellow of HEA
  • Affiliate member of the IChemE

Outline of main research interests:

  • Stem cell bioprocessing
  • Preservation methods for cells (including cryopreservation and hypothermia)
  • Developing characterisation methods and tools to define cell therapy quality
  • Generation of 3D cell structures for use in drug discovery

Teaching responsibilities

Module organiser for:

  • CGP069 Advanced Biochemical Engineering
  • CGP084 Technological Entrepreneurship

Contribute to:

  • CGA007 Process Balances
  • CGC054 Bioengineering Individual Project
  • CGP056 MSc project
  • CGP077 Drug Delivery

Administrative responsibilities:

  • Associate Dean of Research and Innovation for AACME
  • Deputy Academic Lead Health and Wellbeing Global Research Challenge

External Collaborators:

  • AstraZeneca
  • UPM Biomedicals

Current external roles:

  • Member of EPSRC peer review college
  • Executive Editor Biotechnology Letters
  • Chair of ESACT-UK, the UK branch of the European Society for Animal Cell Technology)

Previous external roles have included:

Membership of External Steering Groups:

  • BBBSRC Network in Industrial Biotech – BioProNet –2016-2019
  • BBSRC Bioprocessing Research Industry Club – 2013-2017


  • Member of Manufacturing the Future Theme Strategic Advisory Board (2014-Dec 2017)
  • Member of Early Career Forum in Manufacturing Research (2012- 2016)