School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering


Dr Samantha Wilson BSc, PhD, QTS, PGCE, FHEA

Photo of Dr Samantha Wilson

Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering and Manufacturing

I graduated from Keele University with a Bachelor's degree in Biological and Medicinal Chemistry and Biology in 2006. Following my degree I remained at Keele and went on the complete a Post Graduate Certificate in Education. I obtained my Qualified Teacher status at Thomas Alleyes High School in Uttoxeter in 2008 where I taught pupils aged 13-18 biology, chemistry, physics and rural science. 

Following teaching I was a successful applicant to the EPSRC Doctoral Training Centre scheme which is a 4 year multidisciplinary programme that allowed me to utilise both my biological & chemistry background. During the first year of this programme I trained at Loughborough, Keele and the University of Nottingham. Through this programme I completed my PhD at the Institute for Science and Technology in Medicine, Keele University; my project was focussed on the development and characterisation of human corneal stromal models. In particular, I investigated the influence of chemical, topographical and cellular cues in order to more closely mimic the in vivo environment with the aim to restore cultured corneal stromal cells to their native cell lineage. 

Following my PhD I secured an EPSRC E-TERM fellowship and moved to the University of Nottingham in 2013. I remained in the field of corneal tissue engineering with the aim to develop a functional corneal replacement by utilising corneas deemed unsuitable for transplantation. The construct was developed for use in both in vitro toxicity testing & as an effective substitute for transplantation. 

In 2015 I became involved on a Loughborough-led Traumatic Brain Injury Pilot project in collaboration with the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Birmingham. The project aimeds to scope a programme of work and a subsequent proposal on the opportunities to improve and apply technologies from stroke rehabilitation and other areas to the rehabilitation of traumatic brain injury, taking into account defence specific issues including blast.  I determined the clinical needs and requirements related to military traumatic brain injury; identifying technology opportunities driven by the clinical requirements and the opportunities to transfer technology from adjacent fields; and identifying research and development requirements for these opportunities both technological and scientific, and to permit adoption.  A strong underlying focus is establishing areas of work in traumatic brain injury which will allow for the transfer of medical innovations from military and civilian settings. 

In 2016 I became a part of the UKRMP Pluripotent Stem Cell Platform where I worked as part of a strong, international multidisciplinary team (Centre for Stem Cell Biology, Sheffield University, the WellcomeTrust/MRC Stem Cell Institute, University of Cambridge, the Centre for Biological Engineering, Loughborough University, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, the Babraham Institute and the National Institute of Biological Standards and Control, Lund Univeristy). The aim is to develop and improve scalable bio-processes for pluripotent stem cell manufacture, including consideration of product and process-release criteria, cost-effective scalable banking and automation. 

Appointed to a lectureship in 2017.


  • 2018:Institute of Leadership and Management Certificate (ILM), Level 4
  • 2018: Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in recognition of attainment against the UK Professional Standards Framework, Recognition Reference: PR148753
  • 2018: TICTA First Aid at Work, CIMSPA Endorsed, Certificate Number 1707/TICTA87
  • 2016: Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in recognition of attainment against the UK Professional Standards Framework, Recognition Reference: PR104966
  • 2016: Institute of Leadership and Management Certificate (ILM), Level 3
  • 2016: Associate Teachers Programme (ATP) towards a PGCHE/PGCAP, University of Nottingham
  • 2013: PhD Biomedical Engineering, Thesis: Optimisation and characterisation of human corneal stromal models, Keele University. Supervisors: Prof Ying Yang & Prof Alicia El Haj
  • 2008: Qualified Teacher of Science (QTS) Secondary Science, Teacher reference number: 0656258
  • 2007: Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in Secondary Science, Keele University
  • 2006: BSc (Hons), Biological and Medicinal Chemistry and Biology, 2:1, Keele University





My research focuses on four aligned and reinforcing strands:

  • healthcare manufacturing, including critical process parameters affecting cellular behaviour, alongside challenges associated with the characterisation and scale-up of cell therapies.
  • corneal biomimetic models, including decellularised tissues as alternatives to donor tissue.
  • toxicology models, developing animal-free and human appropriate models for industrial and pre-clinical research.
  • traumatic brain injuries, including evidence-based rehabilitation strategies and appropriate models specifically for use in wound healing and rehabilitative therapies.

Recent publications:

  • Ahearne M, Wilson SL, Liu KK, El Haj AJ, Rauz S, Yang Y, Influence of cell and collagen concentration on the cell-matrix mechanical relationship in a corneal stroma wound healing model. Exp Eye Res. 2010; 91(5): 584-591, DOI: 10.1016/J.EXER.2010.07.013. 31 citations, IF 3.03, 5 year 3.035, Q1 rank 13/56 Ophthalmology
  • Wilson SL, El Haj, AJ, Yang, Y, Control of scar tissue formation in the cornea: Strategies in clinical and corneal tissue engineering. J. Funct Biomater, 2012, 3 (3): 642-687, DOI: 10.3390/JFB3030642. 23 citations, IF N/A
  • Wilson SL, Wimpenny I, Ahearne M, Rauz S, El Haj AJ, Yang Y, Chemical and topographical effects on cell differentiation and matrix elasticity in a corneal stromal layer model. Adv Funct Mater. 2012; 22 (17): 3641-3649, DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201200655. 33 citations, IF 11.382, 5 year 11.774, Q1 rank 12/271 Materials Science, Multdisciplinary
  • Wilson SL, Sidney, LE, Dunphy, SE, Rose, JB, Hopkinson, A, Keeping an eye on decellularized corneas: a review of methods, characterization and applications. J Funct Biomater, 2013; 4 (3), 114-161, DOI:10.3390/jfb4030114#sthash.WgDXit7j.dpuf.  22 citations, IF N/A
  • Wilson SL, Yang Y, El Haj AJ, Corneal Stromal cell plasticity: in vitro regulation of cell phenotype through cell-cell interactions in a 3D model. Tissue Eng, Part A. 2013; (1-2):225-238, DOI:10.1089/ten.TEA.2013.0167. 15 citations, IF 4.74, 5 year 4.451
  • Wilson SL, Guilbert M, Sulé-Suso J, Torbet J, Jeannesson P, Sockalingum GD, Yang Y, A microscopic and macroscopic study of ageing collagen on its molecular structure, mechanical properties, and cellular response. FASEB J, 2014; (1):14-25, DOI:10.1096/fj.13-227579. 18 citations, IF 5.043, 5 year 5.464, Q1 rank 45/289 Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
  • Wilson SL*, Ahearne M, Hopkinson, A, An overview of current techniques for ocular toxicity testing. Toxicology, 2015; (327): 32-46, DOI: 10.1016/j.tox.2014.11.003. 32 citations, *corresponding author, IF 3.884, 5 year 3.967, Q1 rank 13/90 Toxicology
  • Wilson, SL*, Sidney, LE, Dunphy, SE, Dua, HS, Hopkinson, A, Corneal decellularisation: A method of recycling unsuitable donor tissue for clinical translation? Current Eye Res, 2015; 1-14, DOI: 10.3109/02713683.2015.1062114. 12 citations, *corresponding author, IF 2.025, 5 year 1.942
  • Rafiq, Q, Asencio, IO, J, Jenkins, Wilson, SL*, Patel, AK, Barnes, A, Adams, C, Delcassian, D, Smith, D (E-TERM Research Fellows) The early career researcher’s toolkit: translating tissue engineering, regenerative medicine and cell therapy products, Regen Med, 2015; (10): 989-1003 , DOI 10.2217/rme.15.56. 3 citations, * All authors equal contribution, IF 2.786, 5 year 3.336
  •  Lynch, AP, Wilson, SL*, Ahearne, M*, Dextran preserves native corneal structure during decellularization, Tissue Eng Part C: 2016; 22 (6) 561-572, DOI:10.1089/ten.TEC.2016.0017by. 1 citation * joint corresponding author, IF 4.448, 5 year 4.451
  • Marsit, NM, Branch, MJ, Sidney, LE, Wilson, SL, Hopkinson, H, Terminal sterilization: Conventional methods versus emerging cold atmospheric pressure plasma technology for non-viable biological tissues, Plasma Process Polym. 2016; 9999:e201600134. DOI:10.1002/ppap.201600134. IF 2.713, 5 year 3.286, Q1 rank 33/145Applied Physics

Invited book chapter:

  • Wilson SL, El Haj AJ, Yang Y, The mechanical characterisation of collagen hydrogels and the implications on molecular alterations, In: Connan, CJ and Hamley, IW (Eds), Hydrogels in cell-based therapies, 2014, 8: 171-190. RSC books, Royal Society of Chemistry, Oxfordshire, ISSN: 2048-7681.

Invited refereed (Full) conference proceedings: