Faculty of Biological Sciences

Prof Joanne Tipper

BSc, PhD 1994, Leeds.
Professor of Medical and Biological Engineering
School of Biomedical Sciences

Background: Joanne studied for a degree in Biotechnology in 1990, which was followed by a PhD in skin microbiology in 1994, both at the University of Leeds. Following this Joanne's first postdoctoral research fellow investigated the relationship between Burkholderia Cepacia complex, an organism associated with poor prognosis in Cystic Fibrosis patients, and lung epithelial cells. After this in 1996 Joanne moved into the medical engineering field to investigate periprosthetic wear particles, a field she has been active in ever since.

Contact:  Garstang 6.65a, +44(0) 113 34 35611, email address for  

Research Interests

Host cell responses to periprosthetic wear products

 Several research areas of interest largely focussed on periprosthetic wear particles but more recently Joanne has also been investigating neural cell responses to wear products and impact forces.

  1.  Isolation and characterisation of polymer, metal, ceramic and coating wear particles from periprosthetic tissues and simulator lubricants from hip, knee, ankle and spinal replacement devices using novel methodologies and a variety of imaging techniques e.g. field emission gun SEM, TEM. In addition, using simple configuration wear simulators we can generate clinically relevant wear particles for cell culture experiments.
  2. Host cell responses to orthopaedic device wear particles and products including macrophage responses to polymer particles (including antioxidant UHMWPEs containing vitamin E and hindered phenols), metal particles (CoCr, stainless steel, Ti) and ceramic wear particles (alumina, ZTPA, SiN ceramic-like coatings) to investigate inflammation, osteolysis, cell membrane toxicity, oxidative stress and particle biocompatibility and toxicity.
  3. Spinal devices, instrumentation and injury with collaborators Prof Richard Hall and Dr James Phillips (UCL). Numerous challenges exist in developing instrumentation and devices for use in this area, the close proximity to the spinal cord and sensitive neural tissues is the main issue, however, also of importance is the increased range of periprosthetic tissues i.e. meninges, nerves, roots, spinal cord, blood vessels; the proximity to major vessels and organs and the catastrophic consequences of failure of these types of devices as well as the surgical difficulties (access, proximity of vessels). Significant challenges exist around understanding wear of total disc replacements in the lumbar and cervical spine, biological responses to wear products (both particulate and ions) in this physiological complex environment and around the post injury biological cascade that inhibits nerve repair. We are using 3D hydrogels (natural and synthetic) to create central nervous system models, which provide a more realistic spatial environment for neurons and glial cells than traditional 2D culture systems. They allow continuous observation and controlled manipulation, thereby facilitating analysis of cellular interactions. We are currently investigating neuronal and glial cell responses to spinal instrumentation wear products, spinal cord injury impact forces and the effects of changing matrix stiffness on cellular response.


Faculty Research and Innovation

Studentship information

Undergraduate project topics:

  • Biological responses to prosthetic wear particles from polymers, metals, and ceramics; wear particle characterisation using SEM, TEM, Nanosight.

Postgraduate studentship areas:

  • Biological responses to prosthetic wear particles from polymers, metals, and ceramics; wear development of novel methodologies for particle isolation and characterisation; 3D culture of neural cells and neural stem cells using hydrogels for neuronal repair after spinal cord injury; histological characterisation of cartilaginous tissues e.g. the labrum, ankle joint cartilage.
  • See EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (School of Mechanical Engineering)
  • http://www.imbe.leeds.ac.uk/doctoral-training-regenerative-medicine/

See also:

Modules taught

BMSC1103 - Basic Laboratory and Scientific Skills
BMSC1110 - Foundations of Biomedical Sciences
BMSC2233 - Topics in Medical Sciences
BMSC3301 - Research Project in Biomedical Sciences
BMSC5382M - Extended Research Project
FOBS1201/BIOL1214 - Molecular Physiology/Multicellular Systems
MECH5003M - CDT External Placement
MECH5490M - Biomaterials (Short Course)
MICR2221 - Medical Immunology
MICR3212/BIOL3211 - ATU - Tissue replacement

Centre membership: The Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering

Dr Saurabh Lal  (Research Fellow)


Imran Asif (Primary supervisor) 40% FTE
Joss Atkinson (Primary supervisor) 100% FTE
Samuel James Beckett (Primary supervisor) 100% FTE
John Brewster (Primary supervisor) 100% FTE
Ruth Craven (Primary supervisor) 34% FTE
Roxanne Dyer (Primary supervisor) 100% FTE
Valeria Filippou (Primary supervisor) 100% FTE
Richa Gandhi (Primary supervisor) 100% FTE
Jessica Kirk (Primary supervisor) 45% FTE
Helen Lee (Primary supervisor) 55% FTE
Trang Nguyen (Primary supervisor) 40% FTE
Hannah Pape (Primary supervisor) 100% FTE
Kinga Pasko (Primary supervisor) 50% FTE
Jayna Patel (Primary supervisor) 34% FTE
Alice Philipson (Primary supervisor) 100% FTE
Daniel Secker (Primary supervisor) 100% FTE
Laura Mary Shallcross (Primary supervisor) 100% FTE
Jenny Smith (Primary supervisor) 55% FTE
Katherine Timms (Co-supervisor) 25% FTE
Zach Welshman (Primary supervisor) 100% FTE
Lauren Yarrow (Primary supervisor) 50% FTE
Elizabeth Young (Primary supervisor) 100% FTE
Philippa Clarkson (Co-supervisor) 35% FTE
Emily Davies (Co-supervisor) 10% FTE
Benjamin Golland (Co-supervisor) 20% FTE
Stephen Goode (Co-supervisor) 25% FTE
Salah Hammouche (Co-supervisor) 33% FTE
Megan Hanson (Co-supervisor) 10% FTE
William Jones (Co-supervisor) 10% FTE
Adam Kelly (Co-supervisor) 50% FTE
Lekha Koria (Co-supervisor) 10% FTE
Nivedah Kuganenderan (Co-supervisor) 25% FTE
Abigail Lucas (Co-supervisor) 10% FTE
Abimbola Oladokun (Co-supervisor) 25% FTE
Rachel Pallan (Co-supervisor) 25% FTE
Susan Partridge (Co-supervisor) 25% FTE
David Rochelle (Co-supervisor) 10% FTE
Amy Smith (Co-supervisor) 10% FTE
Africa Smith De Diego (Co-supervisor) 10% FTE
Luke Souter (Co-supervisor) 10% FTE
Ashley Stratton-Powell (Co-supervisor) 20% FTE