Womens Engineering Society: Inspiring women as engineers, scientists and technical leaders

Professor Molly Stevens Ph.D. BPharm MRPharmS FRSC FIMMM FREng CEng

Professor Molly Stevens Ph.D. BPharm MRPharmS FRSC FIMMM FREng CEng

Molly Stevens is Professor of Biomedical Materials and Regenerative Medicine and Research Director for Biomedical Material Sciences in the Departments of Materials and Bioengineering and the Institute for Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College London.

Molly Stevens engineers innovative materials for applications in regenerative medicine, biosensing and tissue engineering. Her creative multidisciplinary approaches have proven successful in bridging the gap between the laboratory and clinic by pioneering engineered biomaterials and materials-based characterisation techniques. She joined Imperial in 2004 after a successful Postdoctoral training in the field of tissue engineering with the internationally renowned Professor Robert Langer in the Chemical Engineering Department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Prior to this she graduated from Bath University with a First Class Honours degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences and a PhD in biophysical investigations of specific biomolecular interactions and single biomolecule mechanics from the Laboratory of Biophysics and Surface Analysis at the University of Nottingham, for which she was awarded the Ronald Belcher award from the Royal Society of Chemistry (2000).

She has achieved extraordinary breakthroughs using engineered materials for applications in regenerative medicine, biosensing and tissue engineering by leading a large and extremely multidisciplinary research group of students and postdocs/fellows. Among her many innovations, she has developed novel approaches to tissue engineering that are likely to prove very powerful in the engineering of large quantities of human mature bone for autologous transplantation as well as other vital organs such as liver and pancreas, which have proven elusive with other approaches. This has led to moves to commercialise the technology and set-up a clinical trial for bone regeneration in humans. Her research group also exploits specific biomolecular recognition and self-assembly mechanisms to create new dynamic nano-materials, biosensors and drug delivery systems. She has engineered nanoparticle-based biosensers capable of detecting disease specific (i.e. cancer and HIV) biomarkers at incredibly low concentrations. Recent breakthroughs in peptide-functionalised nanoparticles for enzyme biosensing have enabled the most sensitive facile enzyme detection to date and have a host of applications in global healthcare. Other innovations include engineered biomaterials for the directed differentiation of stem cells, which is one of the most exciting approaches in regenerative medicine. These findings have been published in high impact journals such as PNAS, the Nature family journals and Science.

For her achievements, in 2010 she was recognised by The Times as one of the top ten scientists under the age of 40 and also received the Polymer International-IUPAC award for creativity in polymer science, the Rosenhain medal and the Norman Heatley Prize for Interdisciplinary research from the Royal Society of Chemistry. In 2009 she was awarded the Jean Leray Award from the European Society for Biomaterials, in 2007 the prestigious Conference Science Medal from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and in 2005 the Philip Leverhulme Prize for Engineering. In 2013 she was elected to the Royal Academy of Engineering. She has also recently been recognised by the TR100, a compilation of the top innovators, under the age of 35, who are transforming technology - and the world with their work. Her previous awards include the Ronald Belcher Memorial Lecture Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry (2000) and both the Janssen Prize and the UpJohn Prize for academic excellence and research.

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