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The University of Southampton

Dr Nicholas Evans PhD

Associate Professor in Bioengineering

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Dr Nicholas Evans is Associate Professor in Bioengineering within Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton.

My research focuses on stem cells, nanotechnology and how materials can be used to promote the regeneration of damaged or diseased tissues.

Nick was appointed as a lecturer in Bioengineering at Southampton University in January 2011. He holds a dual appointment between the Engineering and Physical Sciences and the Medicine, where he is based in the Centre for Human Development, Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine.

He completed a PhD at King's College under the supervision of Prof John Pickup, where he researched techniques in fluorescence spectroscopy for tracking metabolism in cells by using their natural fluorescence. After experiencing some of the excitement of stem cell biology, he worked as an MRC postdoctoral fellow at Imperial College researching the effects of extracellular matrix on the differentiation of embryonic stem cells. He then took a postdoctoral position at Stanford University to study how a molecular pathway, called the Wnt signalling pathway, could be used to promote wound healing, before his appointment at Southampton.

He now leads a research team working on several aspects of regenerative medicine relating to bone and skin, and collaborates with a number of other researchers in the UK and Europe.

He teaches on the University’s Bachelor of Medicine and Masters of Engineering courses, and regularly explains his research to schools in the local area through the University’s outreach programmes and co-organises a residential workshop for school students on biomedical engineering with the Smallpeice Trust.

Nick has a personal website:

Education/Career history

BSc(Hons) Biology, Nottingham University (1998)

PhD Biophysics and Diabetes, King's College, London (2004)

Postdoctoral work at Imperial College and Stanford University

Appointed lecturer, Southampton University (2011)

Research interests

Agnieszka, Nick and Yu Hin
Agnieszka, Nick and Yu Hin

Nick leads a team investigating how materials, compounds and stem cells can be used to promote tissue regeneration in bone and skin disease and 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. To achieve this, we’re trying to selectively deliver proteins and other molecules that change Wnt signalling specifically to stem cells, particularly in the bone.

Mechanics in tissue regeneration

Bone stem cells
Bone stem cells

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 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.


Bioengineering Science

Research project(s)

Targeting stem cells with nanoparticles

Promoting tissue regeneration by carrying drugs and molecules directly to stem cells.

How does the stiffness of a wound affect how it heals?

The healing of a skin wound is a highly co-ordinated series of events involving both biochemical and biomechanical signalling. We are trying to understanding how the mechanical properties of a healing wound affects how it heals.

A Joint Effort: Understanding Kneecaps Past and Present

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Book Chapter



Nick Em Cartoon
Nick Em Cartoon

Nick teaches and acts as tutor on various parts of the Bachelor of Medicine courses in the Faculty of Medicine (BM4, BM5 and BM6) and on the Mechanical Properties of Biological Materials module (SESM6024) in the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment.

Dr Nicholas Evans
Bone and Joint Group and Bioengineering Sciences Group Centre for Human Development, Stem Cells and Regeneration Room DSD05, IDS Building University of Southampton School of Medicine Tremona Rd Southampton SO16 6YD England, UK +44 (0)23 8077 7222 Ext. 3293

Room Number: SGH/IDS/MP887

Dr Nicholas Evans's personal home page
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