Chemical Engineering


Dr Karen Coopman BSc PhD

Photo of Dr Karen Coopman

Reader in Biological Engineering

Director of Doctoral Programmes


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 mian 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:

  • CGA005 Chemical and Biochemical Processes 

Project work including MSc projects, PDP and design


  • Chair of the Dept. of Chemical Engineering Staff-student committee
  • School representative at University Senate             


  • 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.  

External activities:

  • Member of the EPSRC Manufacturing the Future Theme Strategy Advisory Team
  • Member of the BRIC Steering Committee
  • Affiliate member of the IChemE and member of its Biochemical Engineering Special Interest Group.
  • Member of the Society of Biology
  • Member of the editorial board of Biotechnology Letters
  • As the meetings secretary of ESACT-UK, the UK Society for Cell Culture Biotechnology Karen is heavily involved in organising ESACT-UK’s annual conference. For more information please see(LINK -

Outreach and media activities:

Karen is a STEM Ambassador and regularly visits schools in the local area to deliver talks on what regenerative medicine is, the manufacture of cell based therapies and careers in biochemical engineering.  In 2015 she also took part in the Rutherford Appleton Laboratories ‘Science Talks’ series.