Martha Lavelle

Martha received her BSc in Biomedical Science from the University of Sheffield in 2020, during which she specialized in neurobiology and received the neuroscience prize upon graduation. Following this, she worked as a research assistant in the Wade-Martins group at the University of Oxford, using iPSC and CRISPRi technologies to study mitochondrial dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease, funded by an industry collaboration with BMS Celgene. She joined as a PhD candidate in the Armstrong Group in February 2022, and is working to develop new strategies for brain organoid bioengineering.

PhD Cosupervisors: Dr Oscar Cordero Llana, Prof. James Uney

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Ximena received her BSc Hons in Genomic Biotechnology at Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León in Monterrey, México in 2018; during which she conducted research on the development of smart therapeutics to combat antimicrobial resistance. In 2019, she joined the Bristol Centre of Functional Nanomaterials on a PhD project co-funded by the Mexican Science and Technology Research Council (CONACYT), the University of Bristol, and Cytoseek Ltd. Her primary supervisor is Prof. Adam Perriman and her project focuses on the generation of 3D bioprinted tumour models for the evaluation of novel immunotherapy approaches. 

PhD Primary Supervisor: Prof. Adam Perriman

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Sammy graduated in 2020 from the University of Sussex with a BSc in Computer Science, specialising in artificial intelligence and specifically reinforcement learning. In 2021, he graduated with an MSc in Artificial Intelligence from King’s College London, with a dissertation using Gaussian processes to predict a diagnosis of sepsis in intensive care units. He then joined the University of Bristol in September as a UKRI Digital Health and Care CDT student. He started his project in the Armstrong Group in June 2022, and is developing a machine learning pipeline for improving automation in the biomedical sciences.

PhD Cosupervisors: Dr Alessandro Masullo, Dr Neil Ryan, Dr Claire Perks, Dr Erin Dooley

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Zhipeng graduated in 2022 from Imperial College London with a MEng in Materials Science and Engineering. For her master’s research project, she worked to develop chitosan-based scaffolds for applications in wound healing. In this time, she gained experience in techniques such as biomaterials characterisation and electrospinning. Zhipeng joined the Armstrong Group in October 2022 as a PhD student through the Chinese Scholarship Council – University of Bristol scheme. She is working in collaboration with local clinicians to develop a new class of regenerative biomaterials for non-union fracture repair.

PhD Cosupervisors: Prof. Annela Seddon, Prof. Michael Whitehouse

Norah-Jane holds a BSc. in Pharmacology from University College Dublin and a dual International Master’s Degree in Innovative Medicine from the University of Groningen and Uppsala University. She conducted her Master’s thesis project in the Ingber Lab at the Wyss Institute, Harvard University, where she focused on novel target discovery at the blood-brain barrier. She joined the Armstrong Group as a PhD candidate in October 2022, and is working to assemble an in vitro model of the blood-brain barrier using advanced bioprinting technologies, a collaborative project with Dr Liliang Ouyang at Tsinghua University, Beijing.

PhD Cosupervisors: Dr Liliang Ouyang, Prof. Adam Perriman, Dr Scott Miners


Oliver graduated from the University of Warwick with a BSc in Psychology in 2020 before completing an MSc in Neuroscience specializing in Neurodegeneration at King’s College London in 2021. He then carried out in vitro cell culture research at pharmaceutical CRO Horizon Discovery before joining the University of Bristol as a PhD candidate in October 2022. Oliver’s PhD, which is primarily supervised by Dr. Scott Miners, is focused on researching and developing in vitro models to better understand the effect of neuroinflammation on the breakdown of the blood-brain barrier in dementia.

Primary PhD Supervisor: Dr Scott Miners

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Yi Huang received his BEng in 2019 from Nanchang Hangkong University, in which his major was Flight Vehicle Manufacture Engineering. Then he graduated from Xiamen University with an MEng in Aeronautical Engineering in June 2022. During this period, he gained experience in 3D printing of glass, coating, and electrochemical machining. He joined the University of Bristol in August 2023 on a Chinese Scholarship Council PhD studentship. His primary supervisors are Dr. Giovanni Biglino and Dr. Fengyuan Liu and his project will involve the 3D/4D printing technology of bioresorbable coronary stents.

PhD Primary Supervisors: Dr Giovanni Biglino, Dr Fengyuan Liu