MSc by Research Regenerative Medicine and Tissue Repair

Research project examples

Students will work on a range of projects around stem cell biology, inflammation and disease, and regenerative medicine to develop new tools and therapies.

IRR research themes

Epidermis of human earlobe skin. Image by: Dr Samuel Hess
Epidermis of human earlobe skin. Image by: Dr Samuel Hess

Research performed at IRR aims to develop new treatments for major diseases. Students on the programme will choose their research projects from a pool of projects proposed by group leaders at IRR. Projects will span the breadth of research areas at IRR and range from fundamental science to clinical and industrial translation projects. It is envisaged that some of the PhD projects will arise from rotation projects undertaken by the students in their first year.

At IRR's Centre for Regenerative Medicine (CRM),  research is focused on understanding disease and the damage they do to the body, and on developing treatments to repair this damage.

Research groups at CRM focus on four main research themes:

  • Stem cell biology
  • Tissue homeostasis and repair
  • Reprogramming

  • Translational and clinical programmes

Research and research groups at CRM

Researchers at IRR's Centre for Inflammation Research (CIR) study the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of inflammatory diseases.

Research groups at CIR focus on the following four key thematic areas:

  • Immune modulation and regulation of inflammation
  • Tissue remodelling and regeneration
  • Imaging inflammation
  • Pathway medicine

Research and research groups at CIR

Recent and current postgraduate research projects

Group leaders at IRR work across stem cell biology, regenerative medicine, reprogramming, inflammation and tissue repair topics. They study multiple diseases, including cancer, heart disease, liver failure, diabetes, and degenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.

Research projects undertaken by postgraduate students at IRR in recent years include:

Stem cell and developmental biology

  • Investigating the effect of liver stem cell derived signals on neutrophils during liver regeneration
  • Micropatterns for modelling trunk development initiation in hESC colonies
  • Comparison of human oligodendrocytes derived from ES cells and in human adult brain
  • Reinnervation of healing skin wounds: the interaction between nerves and cutaneous stem cells
  • Lineage decisions of embryonic stem cells: exploring the links between morphogenesis and differentiation
  • Emergence of haematopoietic stem cells in the human embryo: gene expression analysis
  • The role of the planar cell polarity protein Vangl2 in haematopoietic stem cell emergence

  • Generation of fluorescent reporter hESC line for analysis of human haematopoietic stem cell development
  • Dissecting the role of Sox2 in pluripotency
  • Understanding movements, growth and lineages in a new model of early human spinal development
  • Inferring the role of human fetal liver stromal niche in the support of human fetal hematopoiesis by cell-to-cell signalling networks analysis on single-cell transcriptomics

  • Tracking cell cycle during haematopietic progenitor development

  • Bone marrow osteogenic mesenchymal stem cell potential and prostate cancer metastasis

  • Role of embryonic macrophages in the haematopoietic stem cell regenerative niche

Tissue homeostasis, remodelling and repair

  • Dissecting how T-regulatory cells maintain liver tissue stem cell fate
  • The role of direct cell-cell contacts in cancer initiation and early progression
  • Creating new tools to monitor and manipulate cell interactions
  • Dissecting macrophage subpopulations in tissue regeneration and repair using fluorescence microscopy
  • Role of senescent cells in loss of function of the irradiation-injured salivary gland
  • Synthetic biology tools for interrogating cell-cell interactions
  • Elucidating the mechanisms underpinning vascular regeneration in the zebrafish heart
  • Defining the role of the neutrophil in paracetamol-induced liver injury and regeneration
  • Exploration of inflammatory cell function during tumour initiation and tail fin regeneration in zebrafish larvae
  • The role of white matter damage and endothelial dysfunction in cerebral small vessel disease
  • Targeting ageing in the skin through the primary cilia

  • Identification of cellular mechanisms that protect the heart against pathological fibrosis and death post-injury
  • Cellular sensing and responses in the ageing niche
  • Understanding how airway macrophages orchestrate tissue repair in the lung through an EGR2-dependent programme

  • Investigating whether pericyte contraction is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system in the hematopoietic niche.

  • Molecular mechanisms of ageing in skin: where does senescence start?


  • Identification of small molecule cocktails that promote human hepatic progenitor cell differentiation

  • Modelling non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) using human chemically reprogrammed liver progenitors

  • Optimising differentiation condition of chemically reprogrammed liver progenitors (CLiPs)
  • Defining lineage plasticity of bile duct cells using transcriptomics and epigenomics
  • Reprogramming roadblocks during iPSC generation
  • Role of paracrine senescence in the differentiation of hepatic progenitor cells into functional hepatocytes
  • Reprogramming of leukaemia-associated macrophages: A new approach to fight MLL-AF9 infant leukaemia
  • Identification and assessment of new candidate genes involved in liver progenitor cell differentiation

  • Single-cell RNA Seq analysis of human chemically induced liver progenitor (HCLiP)-derived spheroids
  • Reprogramming adult human hepatocytes into progenitors with unlimited proliferation and efficient differentiation capacities

Immune modulation and regulation of inflammation

  • Role of intestinal macrophage subsets in health, inflammation and repair
  • The influence of resident cell senescence on macrophage phenotype
  • Determining changes in immune cell populations and extracellular matrix composition contributing to the pathology of radiation-induced hypothyroidism
  • Using computational modelling to predict metabolic nodes that dictate neutrophil function in the tissues
  • Targeting ageing in the skin through the primary cilia
  • Cellular sensing and regulation via the Hippo pathway
  • Computational modelling of immune cell interactions in nerve regeneration
  • Understanding resident macrophage autonomy during inflammation
  • The role of macrophage phagocytosis in spinal cord regeneration
  • Regulation of macrophage polarisation by healthy and fibrotic extracellular matrix in skin
  • Prototyping and Immune cell recognition using AI

  • Investigating how T regulatory cells affect bile duct regeneration during liver injury

Translational and clinical programmes

  • Clinical manufacture of cells for treatment of diabetic ulcers

  • Optimising transfection efficiency in primary macrophages for cell therapy

  • Protein expression by scar-forming cells in biliary fibrosis
  • Investigating the role of oligodendrocyte ‘states’ to improve remyelination in MS
  • Macrophages derived in vitro from human pluripotent stem cells: a tool to manipulate macrophage phenotype and function and a potential source of cells for therapy
  • Driving human Kupffer cell differentiation using stem cell-derived liver tissue niches
  • Deciphering the interplay between macrophages and senescent cells in injury and regeneration following radiotherapy
  • Establishing a platform to investigate hepatic immune responses using human chemically reprogrammed liver progenitors (hCLiPS)
  • Investigate the role of human pericytes in age-related macular degeneration in vitro.

  • The role of mitochondria in gut epithelial regeneration in Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis using a human intestinal organoid culture system

  • Investigating novel technologies to optimise and improve the clinical islet isolation process

  • Identification of synthetic super-enhances for neuronal gene therapy

  • Optimization of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) pro-survival compounds for development of iPSC derived cell therapies