Chemical Engineering


Professor Karen Coopman BSc PhD

Photo of Professor Karen Coopman

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.

In July 2008 Karen was appointed to a lectureship here at Loughborough, in support of the EPSRC-funded Doctoral Training Centre for Regenerative Medicine and she was promoted to Senior Lecturer in Biological Engineering in 2013 and Reader in 2018.

In addition to leading a research group focused on the manufacture of cell-based therapies, Karen is now the Director of the EPSRC/MRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Regenerative Medicine.


  • 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

Outline of main research interests:

Karen leads the Cell Technologies Research Group that is based at the Centre for Biological Engineering.  The overarching theme of her research is the manufacture of cellular therapies. Developing scalable systems for stem cell growth and improving methods of cell preservation are the current focus as the group works towards a viable stem cell bioprocess such that clinically relevant cell numbers can be generated whilst ensuring product potency, purity and safety. 

  • Stem cell bioprocessing
  • Preservation methods for cells (including cryopreservation and hypothermia)
  • Developing characterisation methods and tools to define cell therapy quality

Current school and departmental responsibilities:


Module organiser for:

  • CGC024 Biochemical Engineering
  • CGD069 Advanced Biochemical Engineering
  • CGP081 Planning and Communicating Research

Centre for Doctoral Training in Regenerative Medicine modules - induction, team-building and practical training.         

Contribute to:

  • CGA007 Process Balances
  • CGC054 Bioengineering Individual Project
  • CGD044/45 Final year design project
  • CGD069 and CGP069 Advanced Biochemical Engineering
  • CGP056 MSc project
  • CGP077 Drug Delivery


University HTA licence Designate Individual

Chair of the HTA licence subcommittee        


  • Leader of the Cell Technologies Research Group which is based in the Centre for Biological Engineering (LINK -
  • Theme leader for Healthcare related research in the School of Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering.  

Hanga, M.P., Murasiewicz, H., Pacek, A.W., Nienow, A.W., Coopman, K., Hewitt, C.J. (2017) Expansion of bone marrow-derived human mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (hMSCs) using a two-phase liquid/liquid system. Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology, 92(7).

Odeleye, A.O.O., Castillo-Avila, S., Boon, M., Martin, H., Coopman, K. (2017) Development of an optical system for the non-invasive tracking of stem cell growth on microcarriers. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 114(9).

Heathman, T.R.J., Rafiq, Q.A., Chan, A.K.C., Coopman, K., Nienow, A.W., Kara, B., Hewitt, C.J. (2016) Characterization of human mesenchymal stem cells from multiple donors and the implications for large scale bioprocess development. Biochemical Engineering Journal, 108.

Nienow, A.W., Hewitt, C.J., Heathman, T.R.J., Glyn, V.A.M., Fonte, G.N., Hanga, M.P., Coopman, K., Rafiq, Q.A. (2016) Agitation conditions for the culture and detachment of hMSCs from microcarriers in multiple bioreactor platforms. Biochemical Engineering Journal, 108.

Heathman, T.R.J., Glyn, V.A.M., Picken, A., Rafiq, Q.A., Coopman, K., Nienow, A.W., Kara, B., Hewitt, C.J. (2015) Expansion, harvest and cryopreservation of human mesenchymal stem cells in a serum-free microcarrier process. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 112(8).

Heathman, T.R.J., Stolzing, A., Fabian, C., Rafiq, Q.A., Coopman, K., Nienow, A.W., Kara, B., Hewitt, C.J. (2015) Serum-free process development: Improving the yield and consistency of human mesenchymal stromal cell production. Cytotherapy, 17(11).

Moutsatsou, P., Coopman, K., Smith, M.B., Georgiadou, S. (2015) Conductive PANI fibers and determining factors for the electrospinning window. Polymer, 77.

View central admin publications database

Link to Google Scholar 

External collabortors:

  • 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 – June 2016-present

- (BioProNET is a network that focuses on the use of cells and their components to produce biologics such as proteins, peptides, RNA, DNA and vaccines)

- BBSRC Bioprocessing Research Industry Club – June 2013-present

  • EPSRC:

- Member of Manufacturing the Future Theme Strategic Advisory Board (April 2014-Dec 2017)

- Member of Early Career Forum in Manufacturing Research (Aug 2012-April 2016)