Cluster Members & Research Interests in Healthy Ageing

Medicines and Devices in Ageing Cluster

Dr Raj K. Singh Badhan
Age-related central nervous system (CNS) disorders have a debilitating effect on the quality of life for patients. Current treatment options are simply not effective, with less than 5% of CNS-indicated drug treatments showing efficacy in a limited number of therapeutic areas.
My research focuses on the development of in-vitro CNS barrier systems, through tissue engineering approaches, which will enable us to investigate targeted drug delivery to the CNS. Specifically, I have an interest in:
1) The choroid plexus as a target pathway for drug delivery into the cerebrospinal fluid and brain
2) The nose-to-brain drug delivery route to overcome the blood-brain barrier and delivery to the brain and CNS.

Dr Christopher Buckingham
Dr Christopher Buckingham is a cognitive scientist who specialises in building computational models of psychological classification and decision making. For the last ten years, he has been working on mental-health risk assessment and is the co-developer of the Galatean Risk and Safety Tool, GRiST (www.egrist.org). GRiST is a sophisticated web-based decision support system for understanding and managing the risks associated with mental-health problems and is being used in many mental-health organisations. GRiST combines clinical expertise with mathematical analysis of patient data to provide a resource that helps both clinicians and service users understand risks better. The aim is to create a collaborative approach to monitoring and managing risks that is available for people wherever they happen to be. A specialised version exists for older adults that is being further developed to support their safety and well-being in the community. The idea is to involve older adults, carers, and clinicians in a supportive care network orchestrated through GRiST and its various interfaces.

Ali Rezaei Yazdi

My research interest is on developing innovative computerised approaches towards effective risk assessment and identification with the aim of achieving proactive preventions. This is particularly important for some older adults whose probability of vulnerability might be higher than others and hence their safety and well-being need to be monitored and controlled on a community level. My research project has been on developing an intelligent knowledge acquisition mechanism which allows for efficient detection and collection of mental-health risk-informative data. The intelligent mechanism enables those without clinical expertise to detect high risk patients early so that effective interventions can be made. 

Dr Darren Campbell
My interests are in biomaterials which will improve the quality of life in older people. These include materials for tissue replacement/regeneration, contact lenses and drug delivery. I am also interested in how the body interacts with such biomaterials, and in the effect that ageing has on these interactions. I am particularly interested in the ageing tear film.

Dr Val Franklin

Interaction of biomedical polymers with living biological systems in particular the biochemical analysis of spoilation processes including contact lenses, intra ocular lenses and the development of biomimetic polymers for prosthetic applications e.g. keratoprosthesis and spinal disc, analysis of biological interaction between prosthetic materials and their host environment in particular ophthalmic materials and tear fluid, spoilation and cleaning effects.

Lilit Hakobyan 
The aim of my project is to develop a tool whereby mobile assistive technologies are developed and then automatically adapted based on observed use by people with degenerative disabilities such as Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). Central to my approach is a user-centred, participatory design philosophy in an attempt to promote healthy, independent ageing underpinned by sophisticated technology.

Professor Anthony Hilton
Interested in applied microbiology, molecular microbiology, Salmonella, Campylobacter, MRSA and Escherichia coli O157, Clostridium difficile, and Molecular epidemiology & typing of microorganisms.

Dr Eustace Johnson
My research is in cell therapies for regenerative medicine, which includes diseases associated with ageing such as osteoarthritis and degenerative intervertebral disc disease, even skin lesions. The group is relatively small comprised currently of 3 PhD students, but we collaborate fairly extensively with clinicians, which means there is the possibility of our work becoming translated to the clinic. Cell therapies using culture expanded cells are considered a medicinal product and as such are now regulated by the MHRA.

Professor Chris Langley

My research examines the role of the pharmacist within both primary and secondary care. With the number of medicines patients take increasing as they get older, a significant focus of my research is in the effective use of medicines by older patients. By understanding how we can identify the barriers elderly patients may experience in taking medication, I hope to be able to understand how the pharmacist can facilitate patients in the management of their pharmacotherapy.

Laura Lesley

I am interested in the application of engineering principles and materials science to the challenges of biomedical research and healthy ageing. I am involved in projects including research into the behaviour of human blood cells in different blood pump bearings, the development of an in vitro model of the human airways and cigarette smoking, and research into the development of tools and resources for orthopaedic surgeons and osteoporosis. 

Dr Jo Lumsden
Jo Lumsden is a researcher in the field of Mobile Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). She has a specific interest in the study and development of mobile assistive technologies, an area in which there is considerable scope for innovation to support the elderly in terms of achieving increased mobility, remaining independent, improving quality of life, and in active healthcare interventions. Jo has extensive experience of adopting participatory design approaches to technology development, and of both qualitative and quantitative approaches to technology design and evaluation. She is also the manager of the Aston Interactive Media (AIM) Lab, a unique resource in which novel interactive technologies can be designed, developed, and implemented.

Dr Deborah Lowry

Interested in design of modified release systems for controlled delivery of peptides, proteins and vaccines; mucosal drug delivery;
aquasomes for vaccine delivery and polymeric delivery systems.

Professor Sahar Al - Malaika
Interested in chemistry of polymers: oxidation, photo- and thermal oxidation, and ageing;
Specialty Antioxidants:  Synthesis, mechanism and applications;
Chemistry of vitamin E and its role in orthopaedic implants.

Dr Richard Martin

As we age, our body’s ability to repair and regenerate itself drastically reduces: tissues in elderly people are particularly slow to heal. In effect, we out-live our bodies. My research focuses on developing bioactive materials that can help the body heal. In particular, I am interested in bioactive glasses which can be used to help promote bone regeneration.

Dr Afzal Mohammed

Research in our group is focussed on the development of orally disintegrating tablets (ODT), an ideal delivery vehicle for patients with swallowing difficulties ( a condition more prevalent in the elderly population). Our group is engaged in understanding excipient properties, process development and optimisation and targeted delivery within the gastro intestinal tract utilising modern techniques such as Atomic Force Microscopy, Raman Imaging and Differential Scanning Calorimetry. Work is focussed on particle engineering to develop tablets with high drug load, evaluate inter particle forces, taste masking strategies, understand factors enabling faster disintegration and development of stable formulations.

Professor Ian Nabney
Research interests are in Bayesian pattern analysis and data visualisation - these techniques to help develop new diagnostic devices (e.g. in obesity measurement).

Dr. Xiaohong Peng

Interested in Electrical Engineering.

Professor Yvonne Perrie
Drug Delivery systems can improve the efficacy of a drug; they can be designed to give better control over rate of delivery and site of drug action. Furthermore we can formulate drugs into a range of easy to take formats. My research is focused on two areas:
1) The development of liquid-based dosage forms for a range of drugs, including those with low solubility and bioavailability and;
2) The development of effective delivery systems for vaccines which can stimulate a range of immune systems from paediatrics to the ageing immune system.

Dr Judy Scully

Contributing towards research based evidence that enhances the quality of life of the recipients of medicines and devices in ageing, and their carers, is a key driver for my involvement in the subject area. I offer an expertise in qualitative and mixed methods research in health service management, patient and public involvement and innovation in the private, public and third sector.

Dr Carl Schneider
I am interested and conduct research on how medicines impact people's lives and how medicines optimisation can be used to maximise healthy ageing. At present I am supervising research on how pharmacists are able to add value to medication optimisation in the care of patients with dementia in the hospital setting.

Professor Brian Tighe
Soft tissue repair/regeneration: intervertebral disc/cartilage, chronic wound healing, corneal wound healing.
Interest in design of biomimetic materials for tissue interface - e.g. based on GAG mimics and in biomarkers.

Dr Paul Topham 
The Advanced Materials Research Unit at Aston University, undertakes research on coupling short, simple polymers to peptide units (similar to those found in anti-ageing products) for regenerative cell therapy. Current work by the team focusses on using these so-called polymer-peptide hydrogels as cost-effective neuronal stem cell scaffolds for central nervous system regeneration. The materials comprise a fibrous gel that has all the necessary requisites for fast clinical translation: cell-instructive, biocompatible, injectable and biodegradable. Expertise in the group centres around material design and synthesis.

Dr Tony Worthington
Interested in clinical microbiology and healthcare associated infection, clostridium difficile and staphylococcal infections, biofilms; infections associated with indwelling intravascular devices and prosthetic joints, and skin antisepsis and antimicrobials.


Last Updated: January 2015