Hamish was appointed as Lecturer in Molecular Cell Biology in August 2022 and plans to build a research team focused on understanding how cells sense physical forces and integrate them with biochemical signalling. He is particularly interested in how these force-sensing mechanisms alter with ageing and disease, and hopes to identify novel therapeutic targets. Hamish uses a variety of laboratory techniques including in vitro cell culture, mechanical stimulation and multi ‘omics platforms.

Hamish comes from a background in musculoskeletal and mechanobiology research. He obtained his BSc in Genetics from the University of Liverpool, graduating in 2005. He then worked in industry for two years at Novartis Vaccines in Speke, Liverpool, before moving to Manchester to begin his PhD.

Hamish was awarded his PhD at University of Manchester researching mechanotransduction pathways in intervertebral disc cells (supervised by Prof Judith Hoyland and Dr Jane Millward-Sadler and funded by Versus Arthritis) in 2011. Following this Hamish completed a number of post-doctoral positions in the Division of Cell Matrix Biology & Regenerative Medicine at Manchester, researching how both the physical and chemical environment affect mesenchymal stem cells (within laboratory’s headed by Prof J Hoyland, Dr J Swift and Dr S Richardson). During this time he was awarded a Strategic Fellowship in Intervertebral Disc Degeneration by Versus Arthritis.
Hamish maintains an honorary position as Research Fellow at the University of Manchester, where he continues to co-supervise his PhD student Yusuf Hakan (studying mechano-chemical signalling in mesenchymal stem cells).

Research and scholarship

My research interests revolve around understanding how the microenvironment within tissues affects cell behaviours, with a special interest in the process of mechanotransduction (the ability of cells to perceive physical force and change this into biochemical signals). This process is very important and enables cells to make sense of their surroundings, so that they can respond appropriately (e.g. when maintaining extracellular matrix within tissues). During ageing and disease the mechanical properties of tissues and cells change, and this occurs in parallel with changes in chemicals (e.g. oxygen and glucose concentrations, pH etc). I want to understand how changes in the chemical environments affect force-sensing mechanisms in cells, with a long term aim of identifying novel therapeutic targets to treat diseases such as cancers and musculoskeletal disease.

I currently co-supervise a PhD student working on mechanical-chemical crosstalk in mesenchymal stem cells (University of Manchester).


I teach the Biochemistry BSc course at Keele (LSC-20085 Cell Signalling module; LSC-30061 Cancer Biology module).



Co-supervisor for PhD student - Yusuf Hakan (University of Manchester) 2022 - present. (Supervisor - Dr Stephen Richardson).

Collaborations and grants awards

September 2022: ECMage Travel Fund. Value £60

November 2021: Translation Manchester, Wellcome Trust Translational Partnership Award. Principal Investigator. Value £5,000

June 2020: Manchester Academic Health Science Centre Inflammation & Repair Domain. Co-investigator. Value £10,000

November 2019: NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre. Principal Investigator. Value £5,000

June 2019: Research Experience Placement – BBSRC. Principal Investigator. Value: £2,500

September 2016: British Society for Matrix Biology Travel Grant. Principal Investigator. Value: £250

September 2015: Wellcome Trust ISSF Strategic Award in Single Cell Research.
Co-applicant. PI’s: Dr Joe Swift and Dr John Grainger. Value: £12,000

September 2013: Equipment Grant from Versus Arthritis (20442). Co-applicant. PI: Dr Stephen M. Richardson. Value: £95,000

June 2013 – September 2013: Research Experience Placement – BBSRC. Principal Investigator. Value: £2,500

May 2012 – May 2015: Strategic Fellowship in Intervertebral Disc Disease – Versus Arthritis (19884). Principal Investigator. Sponsors: Prof Judith A. Hoyland and Dr Stephen M. Richardson. Value: £175,961

School of Life Sciences,
Huxley Building,
Keele University,
Tel: +44 (0) 1782 734414