Medicine

Nicholas Evans

BSc, PhD

Primary position:
Lecturer in Bioengineering

Background

The University of Southampton

Nick was appointed as a lecturer in Bioengineering at Southampton University in January 2011. Before his appointment, Nick enjoyed a wide research experience, engaging in work touching on many different fields. He completed his PhD at King's College under the supervision of Prof John Pickup, where he researched novel techniques in fluorescence spectroscopy for tracking metabolism in cells by using their natural fluorescence. After experiencing some of the excitement of stem cell biology during his PhD studies, he won an MRC career development fellowship at Imperial College to research the effects of extracellular matrix on the differentiation of embryonic stem cells. He then took a postdoctoral position at Stanford University to study Wnt signalling and stem cells in wound healing, and was subsequently awarded a SPARK fellowship in translational medicine to develop therapies for stimulating skin regeneration. Nick’s current research focuses on Wnt signaling, extracellular matrix and biomechanics in tissue healing and regeneration.

Nick welcomes approaches from potential students and postdocs who wish to conduct research in his lab.

Qualifications

BSc(Hons), Biology, University of Nottingham (1998)
PhD, Biophysics and diabetes, King’s College London, (2004)

Appointments held

PhD student, King’s College London, 2000-2004

MRC postdoctoral fellow, Imperial College, 2005-2009

Postdoctoral fellow and SPARK scholar, Stanford University, 2009-2010

Lecturer in Bioengineering, University of Southampton, 2011-present

Dr Nicholas Evans's photo

Research

Research Interests

Mechanics in tissue regeneration

During development and wound healing, tissues rapidly change in size, shape, composition, and in their mechanical characteristics. Cells within these tissues - which are of course responsible for making these tissues in the first place! - are exposed to a variety of forces, including tension, compression and shear, as well as the static mechanical properties of the stuff they grow on (other cells and 'extracellular matrix'). It's now widely appreciated that cells can feel and respond to these forces by moving, growing and differentiating.

We are interested in finding out how the mechanical characteristics of the growth environment direct cells – and, in particular, stem cells – how to behave, for example in the earliest stages of differentiation in the developing embryo, in cancer progression, and in processes involved in wound healing and tissue regeneration. We hope that our results might give us a better understanding of how to promote improved regeneration and healing following injury.

Wnt in tissue regeneration

Wnt growth factors are some of the most ancient known signalling proteins. They're found throughout the animal kingdom - from sponges to man - and play fundamental roles in animal development and disease. The molecular pathways that Wnt proteins activate also regulate stem cell division, and can sometimes promote tissue regeneration in animals such as amphibians. We're investigating whether we can promote tissue regeneration in mammals, particularly in the skin and bone, by chemically modulating Wnt signalling.

Primary research group:  Human Development and Health Academic Units

Affiliate research group:  Human development and physiology Research group

Research project

The effects of substrate mechanics on keratinocytes and epidermal stem cell behaviour at wound sites

Contact

Dr Nicholas Evans
Faculty of Medicine
University of Southampton
Southampton General Hospital
Mailpoint 801
South Academic Block
Tremona Road
Southampton
SO16 6YD
or
Faculty of Medicine
University of Southampton
Building 85
Life Sciences Building
Highfield Campus
Southampton
SO171BJ