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.
Niall is a postdoctoral researcher in the Higgins lab. 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 are focused on stimulating and identifying epigenetic changes in dermal papilla cells through use of mechanical shock waves. He is funded via an MRC NIRG to the lab.
Colin is a postdoctoral researcher in the Higgins lab. 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 November 2016. He is currently working on a project to reduce pressure sores in amputees by reprogramming stump skin to tolerate higher mechanical loads.
Sharad is a Research Technician in the Higgins lab. 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. He joined the Higgins lab in December 2016 works on skin stem cell reprogramming.
Helena is a Postdoctoral Researcher within the Higgins lab. 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 is now continuing this work on as a postdoctoral researcher, funding by an Imperial Confidence in Concept grant awarded to the lab.
Nick started as a PhD student in the Higgins lab in October 2016. His project focuses on developing in-vitro models and bioinformatics tools to understand the initial steps of human hair development. 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. After graduating Nick went to work in the FMCG industry working for Reckitt Benckiser for two years. Here he worked as a finance graduate both in the commercial and supply functions of the business.
Magdalena completed her BSc in Biomedical Sciences at University College London and graduated with First Class Honours and the Dean’s List Award. She was previously awarded international research scholarships (including Amgen Scholars Fellowship) that allowed her to work on short research projects at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden and EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland. After completing anMSc 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. When not in the lab, Magdalena enjoys playing volleyball and travelling.
Julià obtained his BSc (Hons) in Experimental Psychology at University of Barcelona. Always driven by high curiosity and having in mind that the high cognitive process such as memory, perception and navigation are mediated by the intraneuronal molecular processes, 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. Closely after that, and to continue his formation as a neuroscientist, he started as a PhD student in the Higgins and Kozlov labs in October 2017 to investigate the neurobiology of the human hair follicle and the implications of this in mechanoperception.
Summik joined the Higgins lab as a PhD student in October 2017. Before joining the lab, she 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. Her second project involved differentiating IPSCs into macrophages and stimulating them with various compounds. Before working at the Sanger Institute, she graduated with First Class Honours in MSci Biochemistry from the University of Birmingham. In the Higgins lab, Summik is researching human dermal papilla cells and assessing their role in follicular neogenesis.
Taeho joined the Higgins lab as a PhD student in January 2018. Inspired by the stem cell potential, he studied BSc Cell Biology at the University of Lancaster, and graduated with First Class Honours in 2015. To further understand stem cell pluripotency, Taeho went to the Roslin Institute studying the effects of vitamin C on rat embryonic stem cells, and received a Master by Research in Developmental Biology at the University of Edinburgh in 2017. Before joining the lab, he worked as a visiting scholar in KU Leuven in Belgium for the investigation of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells in mice. Now in his PhD research, he focuses on generation of human iPS cells with a single factor for the clinical use. His ultimate career goal is to pioneer stem cell research, leading the way of future regenerative medicine.