Dr Claire Higgins
Dr Higgins is a Senior Lecturer in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative medicine, and Principal Investigator of the lab. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences from Durham University, and stayed there to undertake a PhD in Skin Developmental Biology. In 2007 she moved to New York as a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Dermatology at Columbia University. Here, with a Dermatology Foundation Career Development Award she remained as an Associate Research Scientist before moving back to the UK to establish her own research group in 2014. Now at Imperial, she runs a research group that focuses on skin and the hair follicle, wound repair and regeneration.
Ms Krysia Broda
Krysia is a Ph.D. student in the Higgins lab. Prior to that, she completed her MSci in Biochemistry at King’s College London in 2018. She was previously awarded the Boatswain, Dawodu, Egesi, Image, Kara Student prize for most significant contribution to departmental life and the Savile Scholarship which allowed her to conduct half her MSci research project at the Sahlgrenska Academy in Gothenburg, Sweden. After completing her MSci, she worked as a Research Assistant at St. Georges, University of London before moving to Imperial College in October 2019 to join the Higgins lab for her Ph.D. Her Ph.D. is funded the Royal British Legion as part of the Centre for Blast Injury Studies 2019 Ph.D. cohort. Her project focuses on cellular responses that occur following blast injury that lead to heterotopic ossification.
Dr Summik Limbu
Summik joined the Higgins lab as a PhD student in October 2017. She was funded by an iCASE from the EPSRC with HairClone and researched human dermal papilla cells and their role in follicular neogenesis. After obtaining her PhD in 2022, Summik remained in the lab as a Postdoctoral Researcher, researching wound closure of diabetic wounds. Before joining the lab, Summik worked as a Research Assistant at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. Her initial project at the Sanger aimed to derive induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSCs) from patients with genetic mutations in their DNA repair pathway to find mutational signatures associated with various diseases.
Mr Victor Ubels
Victor joined the Higgins lab in October 2020 as a PhD student and is additionally a member of the Tanaka Systems Biology lab. Prior to his PhD, he completed his MSc at the University of Amsterdam in 2019 where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. During his MSc he worked at the Langerhans Institute for Life Sciences, as well as the University of Surrey as a visiting researcher, leading two projects developing ODE computational models. In his PhD, Victor is working on the implementation of novel bioinformatic analyses, development of mathematical models, and experimental verification, to elucidate on the regulatory system that drives the human hair cycle. His project is funded by an iCASE award from the EPSRC with Proctor & Gamble
Mr Jack Hayes
Jack joined the Higgins lab as a PhD student in October 2020 and is also a member of Biotribology in mechanical engineering at Imperial College. Before joining the lab, Jack completed a Masters in civil engineering at the university of Liverpool, graduating with a first-class masters in 2020. Jack changed disciplines and his project focuses on the residuum socket interface, using experimental and numerical techniques, Jack hopes to reduce injury occurrence in lower limb amputees using a combined biological and engineering approach. Jack's project is funded by the EPSRC as part of the CDT in Prosthetics and Orthotics, where he undertook 6 months of training at Salford university before starting as a PhD student.
Mr Jia Jun Lee
JJ joined the Higgins lab as a PhD student in October 2021. Before joining the lab, JJ graduated with a B.A. in Natural Sciences (Pharmacology) from the University of Cambridge, with first-class honours in 2020. After working for a year in industry with the Experimental Drug Development Centre (A*STAR, Singapore), JJ is now working on the mechanisms of re-epithelialisation and angiogenesis in acute and chronic wound models, in an effort to apply this knowledge to diabetic foot ulcers. JJ's PhD is funded by the National Science Scholarship from A*STAR (Singapore).
Ms Tia Abbas
Tia joined the Higgins Lab in 2021 as a PhD student. Before joining the lab she pursued a MSc in Infection and Immunity at University College London, where she worked for Prof Arne Akbar focusing on immunosenescence and ageing. Her work primarily entailed understanding the properties of end-state senescent-like T cells that increase with age and what exact stimulus drives this phenotype to arise from conventional naïve T cells. It was during her time in the Akbar lab that Tia’s interest in developing anti-ageing therapeutics arose, which led to her joining Imperial College London in 2021 to pursue a PhD project on ageing research. Her project centres on studying the susceptibility of skin and hair to ageing and she is working toward engineering proteins of interest to reverse the ageing process.
Dr Oliver Teenan
Oliver completed his PhD at the University of Edinburgh working to enhance microRNA in serum liquid biopsies of kidney disease models in February 2022. He then joined the Higgins lab as a postdoctoral research associate, where he is investigating the use of interstitial skin fluid from patients with Scleroderma to enhance early clinical detection and progression tracking of the disease from non-invasive sampling. He works closely with the Ladame lab in a shared project funded by the Leo Foundation, combining expertise of microneedles and microRNA expression changes in disease to develop a useful point-of-care test that can be used in general practitioner surgeries for early disease diagnosis.
Mr Tomas Andriuskevicius
Tomas graduated from King’s College London in 2021, having completed an MSci degree in Computer Science with Artificial Intelligence. He then pursued an MSc degree in Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College London, where he worked on the application of artificial neural networks in classifying serotonin data obtained through fast-scan cyclic voltammetry. Alongside his studies, he also gained 3 years of industry experience as a software engineer. In October 2022, Tomas joined the Higgins and Hashemi labs to pursue a PhD project that involves examining the relationship between monoamine levels in skin or hair cells and those in the central nervous system with the aim of promoting mental health. The project is being funded by an iCASE award from the EPSRC, with the support of Proctor & Gamble.
Ms Anna Rhodes
Anna joined the Higgins Lab as a PhD student in October 2022. She first worked in the lab as a third-year Molecular Bioengineering student where she investigated the influences of germ layer identity on fibroblast reprogramming to iPSC using molecular techniques. Anna then completed her MEng thesis in the Oliva Lab where she developed ex vivo models of healthy and fibrotic skin by exploring how scaffolds with diverse rheological properties regulate fibroblast gene expression. For this work, she was awarded the Stephen Richardson Prize and graduated with first class honours overall. In her PhD, Anna is working in the field of regenerative medicine; she will pursue interdisciplinary solutions to control histamine and serotonin release in the hair follicle. Anna’s PhD project is funded by the BBSRC as part of the BISCoP CTP in collaboration with Procter & Gamble.
Ms Leah Redmond
Leah completed her integrated MEng in Molecular Bioengineering at Imperial College and graduated with First Class Honours and on the Dean’s List in 2022. During this degree she did her MEng research project under the supervision of Dr Higgins, where she investigated potential explanations for the unique pattern observed in male pattern hair loss.
Enthused by her MEng work, Leah stayed with us at the Higgins lab for her PhD. She was awarded the Department of Bioengineering PhD scholarship funded by the EPSRC and will be focusing on heterogeneity of cells within the dermal papilla in the hair follicle. As well as her research, Leah has a keen interest in STEM outreach and is involved with running events including residential summer schools, primary school science clubs and Imperial campus visits.