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Dr Julià Agramunt


Julià obtained his BSc (Hons) in Experimental Psychology at University of Barcelona. After this he moved from Barcelona to Bristol to pursue a MSc in Molecular Neuroscience at the University of Bristol.  During his MSc research project he helped to characterise the mechanism of action behind the dissociative effects of fluorolintane, a novel street drug related to ketamine. He started as a PhD student in the Higgins lab in October 2017 to investigate the neurobiology of the human hair follicle and the implications of this in mechanoperception, funded by an iCASE award from the EPSRC with P&G. He graduated with a PhD in 2022.

Dr Magdalena Plotczyk

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Magdalena completed her BSc in Biomedical Sciences at University College London and graduated with First Class Honours and the Dean’s List Award. After completing an MSc in Nanotechnology & Regenerative Medicine at University College London Magdalena moved to Imperial College London and joined the Higgins lab in October 2016.  She was awarded a joint MRC DTP and Imperial College PhD Scholarship to pursue a PhD with a focus on testing the role of hair follicles in wound healing. During her PhD Magda had internships with Imperial Innovations and the World Health Organisation. She graduated in 2021 and is now a Digital Health and Life Science investor with MTIP.

Dr Nick Pantelireis


Nick received his MEng in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Sheffield, graduating in 2013 with First Class Honours. While there his research revolved around the creation of in-vitro models for skin irritation with the scope of developing alternatives to animal testing. Nick started as a PhD student in the Higgins lab in October 2016, funded by the British Skin Foundation.  His project focused on developing in-vitro models and bioinformatics tools to understand the initial steps of human hair development. Part way through, he received an ARAP2 scholarship from A*STAR and joined Dr Carlos Clavel's lab for a research placement. He obtained his PhD in from Imperial College in 2021, upon which he joined the Clavel lab in Singapore to conduct a postdoctoral fellowship researching hair follicle development and cycling.

Dr Helena Topouzi


Helena was both a PhD student and a Postdoctoral Researcher within the Higgins lab from 2014-2019.  Originally from Limassol, Cyprus, she studied Biochemistry as her first degree at the University of Glasgow, graduating in 2013. Helena did a Masters in Molecular Medicine at Imperial college, and upon completion joined the Higgins lab for her Ph.D. Her thesis focus is defining what establishes identity of different fibroblast populations in human skin; Dermal papilla, papillary fibroblasts and reticular fibroblasts.  Helena continued this work on as a postdoctoral researcher, funding by an Imperial Confidence in Concept grant awarded to the lab. Upon leaving the lab, Helena founded Mont Trod, a skin care company.

Dr Colin Boyle

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Colin was a postdoctoral researcher in the Higgins lab from 2016-2020. He received a BA/BAI (Bachelor in Engineering) from Trinity College Dublin. He completed a PhD also at Trinity College Dublin, where he developed computational techniques to simulate the response of arterial tissue to injury. He taught Mathematics in London schools for four years as part of the Teach First programme, before joining the Higgins lab.  In the Higgins lab he worked on a project to reduce pressure sores in amputees by reprogramming stump skin to tolerate higher mechanical loads.  Upon leaving the Higgins lab Colin moved to the RCSI in Dublin with a Marie Curie-Sklodowska fellowship to continue his work on skin biomechanics.

Mr Sharad Patel


Sharad was a Research Technician in the Higgins lab from 2016-2019. He received a BSc (Hons) from the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Biomedicine and went on to complete a MSc in Molecular medicine at UEA in 2013. Sharad joined The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in 2014 and worked primarily on the mutational signatures project, which looks to identify patterns of mutation in inherited and other progressive genetic diseases. He was responsible for isolating and reprogramming peripheral blood mononuclear cells into induced pluripotent stem cells and performing QC checks.  In the Higgins lab he worked on skin stem cell reprogramming.  Sharad left the group in 2019 to become an essential member of the Department of Bioengineering Technical Team.

Dr Niall Logan


Niall was a postdoctoral researcher in the Higgins lab from 2015-2018. He received his BSc in Biomedical Engineering from Ulster University and then joined the doctoral training centre at University College London.  There he completed an MRes in Molecular Modelling and Materials Science and an EngD on the topic of modifying orthopaedic materials to enhance bone formation.  At Imperial his interests were focused on stimulating and identifying epigenetic changes in dermal papilla cells through use of mechanical shock waves.  Upon leaving the Higgins lab he moved to Belfast, UK, to take up a role as a Research Project Manager at the Almac Group.

Dr Ola Kamala


Ola received her BSc and PhD from the University of Bradford, where she worked with Dr Julie Thornton in the Centre for Skin Sciences.  In her PhD, she studied the implications of 17β-oestradiol and IAPs on dermal fibroblasts cultured from terminal and vellus hair bearing skin in terms of wound healing.  Ola spent 3 months in the Higgins lab, where she developed protocols to evaluate the morphology of cell layers within the hair follicle.

Dr Martina Ghetti


Martina received her BA. and her MS. degree in Biotechnology from University of Bologna, Italy.  She is currently enrolled as a PhD student, working in Professor Giovanna Cenacchi laboratory at the University of Bologna, where she is assessing biological characterization of de-cellularised human dermis as a scaffold for wound healing. Martina received a Marco Polo fellowship to work in the Higgins lab for 4 months, in the middle of her PhD.  During her placement, her interests were focused on creating and characterising cell derived matrices from three different subpopulation of fibroblasts found in the skin (Derma papilla [DP], Papillary fibroblasts [Pfi] and Reticular fibroblasts [Rfi]).

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