Dr Paul Roach

Title: Senior Lecturer in Biomaterials and Interface Science
Phone: +44(0)1782 674969
Email:
Location: Institute for Science and Technology in Medicine, Keele University, Guy Hilton Research Centre, Thornburrow Drive, Stoke-on-Trent , Staffordshire ST4 7QB. UK
Role: Deputy Director (Keele)/ Operations Manager for EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Regenerative Medicine.
Director of Cell and Tissue Engineering MSc
Director of International Medical Research Training Programme
Chair of School Learning and Teaching Committee (Medicine)
Contacting me: By phone or email
Dr Paul Roach

Dr Paul Roach was appointed as a lecturer in Biomaterials and Interface Science at Keele University in November 2009. He leads the Surface Engineering and Diagnostics Group, with his current research interests building upon his interdisciplinary background spanning synthetic organic chemistry, materials science, experimental physics and instrumentation, and biological response to surface cues.

In 2005 he received a Ph.D. in Chemistry for his investigation of protein-surface interactions, providing new challenges in materials chemistry and biological sensing. Dr Roach was then appointed as a research fellow in the physics team at Nottingham Trent University to design and fabricate "Next Generation Love Waves". These acoustic sensors can be designed to support bulk shear or surface waves, used to detect surface binding events. Surface modification, both during fabrication processes and final construction, therefore gives rise to enhancement in signal allowing analytes to be detected at lower levels. Micro-patterning of such devices also leads to enhancement of signal, along with fundamentally different modes also being generated.

In 2008 Dr Roach broadened his understanding within the biological discipline, taking an MRC funded postdoctoral research position at the University of Nottingham, working between the Schools of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, using a combinatorial approach to examine the effects of surface cues on cell interaction. Gaining experience of low pressure plasma polymer systems for the modification of cell culture substrates, this project also allowed him to combine interests of materials science and biological-surface interaction, developing skills in cell culture methodology.

Dr Roach has also been involved with several other projects involving the design and fabrication of novel materials and surface coatings, also being incorporated into microfluidic devices. These surfaces have either been investigated for use as biomaterials or created for the investigation of superhydrophobicity on protein adsorption. Dr Roach sits on the steering group for the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) for Regenerative Medicine (Loughborough-Nottingham-Keele), being the Deputy Director and Operations Manager for Keele. 

Since his appointment within ISTM at Keele University, Dr Roach has been very active in research, learning and teaching activities. He is currently the Director for the Cell and Tissue Engineering MSc course, supports the Biomedical Engineering MSc is developing other postgraduate study routes with clinical and research components. Having been a tutor on the 'Teaching the Teachers' workshop, his current teaching commitments cover module lead responsibilities for Biosensors, Physiological Measurements, and Experimental Research Practice modules. He has also established international links for research and teaching, being the Director of a Medical Research Training programme, teaching Biomaterials-based topics at Rhein-Waal University of applied Sciences in Kleve, Germany, and holds an adjunct position within the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands. 

ISTM Research theme: Healthcare Technologies                      

Having a multidisciplinary background Dr Roach works across the physical sciences, with academics, clinicians and industry, to deliver new tools, materials and diagnostic approaches for future therapies.

His main research lies at the boundary between chemistry, physics and biology with a main focus towards understanding and developing materials and sensors for biomedical applications. Of particular interest is the design and fabrication of surfaces to invoke desired biological responses. Making use of photo- and colloidal lithographic processes and 3D printing tools, surface features across the nano-microscale are investigated for control over protein and cellular interaction. Synergistic cues of topography, chemistry and mechanical compliance are of interest. Dr Roach was one of the first to propose a mechanism for protein structure control on nano‑curved surfaces, with this work now being heavily cited and has influenced the field and understanding of material interactions with biology on this length scale. In recognition of the scientific value of his research findings on material surfaces phenomena, his work was featured as a cover article in Chemical Communications and has been reported in Nature news.

PhD students

  • Matthew Dunn - 2014-current, "Designer in vitro neural circuits for assessment of regenerative therapies" EPSRC and MRC CDT
  • Zaid Yonus - 2015-current, "Designing Biomaterials to Regenerate the Complexity of Bone and Cartilage" Higher Committee for Education Development in Iraq
  • George Joseph – 2012-current, “Optimal Design of Neural Stem Cell Controlling surface chemistry via Computational Modelling” EPSRC DTC
  • Munyaradzi Kamudzandu - 2011-2015, "Fabrication of functional basal ganglia circuitry in vitro: from nano- and micro-scale topographies to microfluidic devices" EPSRC DTC
  • Rupert Wright - 2010-2014, "The design, fabrication and investigation of surfaces to control neural stem cell populations" EPSRC DTC
  • Folashade Kuforiji - 2010-2014, "The investigation of surface chemical and nano-topographical cues to engineer biointerfaces" EPSRC DTC 

Focus Research Areas

The general concept of the material-biological interaction is governed by a plethora of mechanisms, each being dynamic and heavily dependent upon the surface characteristics presented. 

Paul_Roach_Cell_Protein_Surface_350x210 Figure 1: Surface characteristics act in synergy, defining the adsorption of a mixed protein layer through (i) individual protein molecule competition for surface sites and (ii) orientational and conformational changes impacting on binding. Subsequent cell interaction, and later protein secretion/ signalling from cells, are largely governed by underlying protein composition and micro-architecture. 

 

istm_Roach_P_side_logo_100x500 Well defined topography from micron sized grooves that can constrain growth guidance of cells, to nano-scale topography on the same length scales as protein molecules themselves can be engineered. The addition of an overlayer of chemistry and/or surface layer stiffness gives an additional complexity to the degree of control over biological responses. Mechanical and electrical stimuli may also be incorporated to enhance tissue growth.

Current projects in the laboratory are focussed primarily on neural tissue. Using photolithography we are able to chemically pattern, and produce structured features, down to 2 um. These enable spatial control of adhering neurons, and directional control of neurite outgrowth. We have several projects investigating optimal design of surface chemical presentation to produced enriched fractions of neurons from neural stem cell populations. Some of this work is carried out experimentally, with support from computational algorithms to further define the chemical design. This allows rapid optimisation and validation of surface chemical parameters. Surface chemical gradients have also been used in order to experimentally test through high-throughput approaches.

A current main driver of our work is to not only infer differentiation control and morphological presentation of neurons, but further to steer connectivity and assess communication across designer in vitro neural networks. The goal of this work is to establish next generation functional models of neural circuitry. These will be used for the assessment of disease models, to better understand disease progression and treatment strategies, with an emphasis on whole-circuit function.

Selected Publications

  • Price JC, Roach P, El Haj AJ. 2016. Liquid Crystalline Ordered Collagen Substrates for Applications in Tissue Engineering. ACS BIOMATERIALS SCIENCE & ENGINEERING, vol. 2(4), 625-633. link> doi>
  • Jenkins SI, Weinberg D, Al-Shakli AF, Fernandes AR, Yiu HHP, Telling ND, Roach P, Chari DM. 2016. 'Stealth' nanoparticles evade neural immune cells but also evade major brain cell populations: Implications for PEG-based neurotherapeutics. J Control Release, vol. 224, 136-145. link> doi>
  • Roach P, Kamudzandu M, Yang Y, Fricker R. 2015. Nanofibrous scaffolds supporting optimal central nervous system regeneration: an evidence-based review. Journal of Neurorestoratology, vol. 2015(3), 123-131. doi>
  • Kamudzandu M, Yang Y, Roach P, Fricker RA. 2015. Efficient alignment of primary CNS neurites using structurally engineered surfaces and biochemical cues. RSC ADVANCES, vol. 5(28), 22053-22059. link> doi>
  • Jenkins SI, Roach P, Chari DM. 2015. Development of a nanomaterial bio-screening platform for neurological applications. Nanomedicine, vol. 11(1), 77-87. link> doi>

Full Publications List show

Journal Articles

  • Price JC, Roach P, El Haj AJ. 2016. Liquid Crystalline Ordered Collagen Substrates for Applications in Tissue Engineering. ACS BIOMATERIALS SCIENCE & ENGINEERING, vol. 2(4), 625-633. link> doi>
  • Jenkins SI, Weinberg D, Al-Shakli AF, Fernandes AR, Yiu HHP, Telling ND, Roach P, Chari DM. 2016. 'Stealth' nanoparticles evade neural immune cells but also evade major brain cell populations: Implications for PEG-based neurotherapeutics. J Control Release, vol. 224, 136-145. link> doi>
  • Roach P, Kamudzandu M, Yang Y, Fricker R. 2015. Nanofibrous scaffolds supporting optimal central nervous system regeneration: an evidence-based review. Journal of Neurorestoratology, vol. 2015(3), 123-131. doi>
  • Kamudzandu M, Yang Y, Roach P, Fricker RA. 2015. Efficient alignment of primary CNS neurites using structurally engineered surfaces and biochemical cues. RSC ADVANCES, vol. 5(28), 22053-22059. link> doi>
  • Jenkins SI, Roach P, Chari DM. 2015. Development of a nanomaterial bio-screening platform for neurological applications. Nanomedicine, vol. 11(1), 77-87. link> doi>
  • Roach P, McGarvey DJ, Lees MR, Hoskins C. 2013. Remotely triggered scaffolds for controlled degradation and release of pharmaceuticals. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 8585-8602. doi>
  • Pedersen RH, Scurr DJ, Roach P, Alexander MR, Gadegaard N. 2011. Full-Thickness Characterization of Plasma Polymerized Hexane Films Irradiated by an Electron Beam. Plasma Processes and Polymers, vol. 9(1), 22-27. doi>
  • ROACH P, Parker T, Gadegaard N, Alexander MR. 2010. Surface strategies for control of neuronal cell adhesion: A review. Surface Science Reports, vol. 65(6), 145-173. doi>
  • ROACH P, Bender F, Papadakis G, Tsortos A, Newton M, McHale G, Gizeli E. 2009. Development of a combined surface plasmon resonance/surface acoustic wave device for the characterization of biomolecules. Measurement Science and Technology, vol. 20(12). doi>
  • ROACH P, Koe Y, De Mello AJ, McHale G, Newton MI, Shirtcliffe NJ. 2008. Nano-scale superhydrophobicity: suppression of protein adsorption and promotion of flow-induced detachment. Lab on a Chip, vol. 8(4), 582-586. doi>
  • ROACH P, Shirtcliffe NJ, Newton MI. 2008. Progess in superhydrophobic surface development. Soft Matter, vol. 4(2), 224-240. doi>
  • ROACH P, Atherton S, Doy N, McHale G, Newton MI. 2007. SU-8 Guiding Layer for Love Wave Devices. Sensors, vol. 7, 2539-2547. doi>
  • Roach P, McHale G, Evans CR, Shirtcliffe NJ, Newton MI. 2007. Decoupling of the liquid response of a superhydrophobic quartz crystal microbalance. Langmuir, vol. 23(19), 9823-9830. link> doi>
  • Roach P, Eglin D, Rohde K, Perry CC. 2007. Modern biomaterials: a review - bulk properties and implications of surface modifications. J Mater Sci Mater Med, vol. 18(7), 1263-1277. link> doi>
  • ROACH P, Shirtcliffe NJ, McHale G, Newton MI, Perry CC. 2007. Superhydrophobic to superhydrophilic transitions of sol–gel films for temperature, alcohol or surfactant measurement. Materials Chemistry and Physics, vol. 103(1), 112-117. doi>
  • Roach P, Shirtcliffe NJ, Farrar D, Perry CC. 2006. Quantification of surface-bound proteins by fluorometric assay: Comparison with quartz crystal microbalance and amido black assay. J Phys Chem B, vol. 110(41), 20572-20579. link> doi>
  • Roach P, Farrar D, Perry CC. 2006. Surface tailoring for controlled protein adsorption: effect of topography at the nanometer scale and chemistry. J Am Chem Soc, vol. 128(12), 3939-3945. link> doi>
  • Shirtcliffe NJ, McHale G, Newton MI, Perry CC, Roach P. 2005. Porous materials show superhydrophobic to superhydrophilic switching. Chem Commun (Camb), 3135-3137. link> doi>
  • Roach P, Farrar D, Perry CC. 2005. Interpretation of protein adsorption: surface-induced conformational changes. J Am Chem Soc, vol. 127(22), 8168-8173. link> doi>
  • ROACH P, Shirtcliffe NJ, Agil S, Evans C, McHale G, Newton MI, Perry CC. 2004. The use of high aspect ratio photoresist (SU-8) for super-hydrophobic pattern prototyping. J. Micromech. Microeng., vol. 14, 1384-1389. doi>
  • ROACH P and Warmuth R. 2003. The Room-Temperature Stabilization of Bicyclo[2.2.2]oct-1-ene and Bicyclo[3.2.1]oct-1-ene. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, vol. 42(26), 3039-3042. doi>
  • ROACH P, Newton MI, McHale G. ST Quartz Acoustic Wave Sensors with Sectional Guiding Layers. Sensors, vol. 8, 4384-4391. doi>

Chapters

  • ROACH P and Alexander MR. 2010. Plasma Polymers for the Chemical Modification of 3D Scaffolds. In Methods in Bioengineering: 3D Tissue Engineering. Berthiaume F and Morgan J (Eds.). Artech House Publishers. link>
  • ROACH P, Currie H, Patwardhan S, Perry CC, Shirtcliffe NJ. 2007. Natural and Artificial Hybrid Biomaterials. In Hybrid Materials Synthesis, Characterization and Applications. Kickelbick G (Ed.). Wiley-VCH. link>

Current and Previous Teaching Commitments:

  • Director for MSc Cell and Tissue Engineering
  • Director for International Medical Research Training Programme
  • Chair of the Medical School Learning and Teaching Committee
  • Member of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Learning and Teaching Committee
  • MSc modules: Biosensors, Physiological Measurements, Experimental Research Methods
  • Postgraduate Study Skills workshop co-ordinator
  • Previously Postgraduate academic conduct officer, Medical School (2010-2015)
  • Previously Problem-based learning tutor for undergrad medicine (2011-2014)
  • Postgraduate Welfare Committee Member – Keele Medical School
  • Panel member of the Athena Swan Committee, Keele University Medical School
  • Member of the Postgraduate Research and Training Committee, ISTM, Keele
  • Member of Peer Review Committee, Keele University
  • Member of Professionalism and Welfare Committee, Medical School, Keele University
  • Member of the Marketing and Recruitment Committee, Medical School, Keele University
  • Academic Conduct Officer for Postgraduate Medicine
  • Deputy Director (Keele) Operations Manager and Steering Group Representative for Loughborough-Nottingham-Keele EPSRC and MRC Doctoral Training Centre in Regenerative Medicine
  • Member of ‘Crucible 2009’ organised by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA)
  • Invited to Editorial Board of Journal of Powder Technology

Professional Affiliations

  • Nominated to Council Member of the United Kingdom Society for Biomaterials (UKSB)
  • Nominated to Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry Biomaterials Group Executive Committee
  • Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (MRSC)
  • Member of North Staffordshire Medical Institute (NSMI)

Dr Roach established the research training programme along with Mark Smith at ISTM in 2010. During the summer months, groups of 14-18 undergraduate medical school students visit Keele from Saudi Arabia, the main link currently being Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh. These students undergo an intensive training course providing them opportunities to learn fundamental research skills needed for a future in both applied and clinical research. The programme consists of taught elements, workshops, hands on training and focussed laboratory project time. This fits in alongside clinical tours and days when they are hosted in local primary care sites in general practice surgeries. Students may enter the programme with no previous formal training in study/ research skills, being taught the basics of, why we should do research, research publication profiles and how to prepare written articles, to how they should present both oral and poster presentations at conferences.

Links with international universities interested in this programme are developing, with firm commitment to improve research capabilities across the globe.