Dr. Tina Chowdhury is a Rosetrees Trust-funded researcher, leading a team of scientists in the field of regenerative medicine. She is based at the Institute of Bioengineering, School of Engineering and Materials Science, Queen Mary University of London, where she also plays an active role in science communication and public engagement alongside her academic roles.

Having recently given an exciting talk about saving babies’ lives, Dr. Chowdhury continues to inspire the next generation promoting subjects in STEAMM to young people at schools. The talk was chaired by Professor Brian Cox (OBE) who joined Dr. Chowdhury for a Question and Answer session. A short summary of her talk can be found on the Queen Mary University of London website.

Talk about saving babies’ lives inspires young people to become bioengineers

Dr. Chowdhury and her team, including Professor Anna David at UCL and Dr. David Barrett, have recently published the Rosetrees Trust-funded findings in Scientific Reports. This work was specifically about repairing fetal membranes to prevent preterm birth. A brief overview of the findings, can be found here on the Queen Mary University of London website.

You can also listen to the podcast from 12.15 where Tina was interviewed by Dr. Chris Smith, Naked Scientists.

This project has been very successful, generating five publications and one book chapter in total, as well as winning seven awards and prizes for the research. A project grant was awarded to Dr. Chowdhury and her collaborators from Great Ormond Street Hospital and Sparks children’s charities for the continuation of this work. Dr. Barrett achieved his PhD in March 2018, and worked as a Post-Doctoral Researcher funded by Sparks. Dr. Babatunde Okesola joined Tina’s team last month and is designing materials with nanotechnology to seal tears in fetal membrane defects.

In another Rosetrees Trust-funded project, Dr. Chowdhury and her team investigated a tissue engineering approach to repair defects in the windpipe of the unborn baby, using fetal stem cells. Studies from the PhD student working on this project, James Taylor, will contribute to a publication. This work will be important because of the particular emphasis on the novelty of using fetal-derived stem cells to generate chondrocytes.

Little Heartbeats is raising awareness for PPROM.

Dr. Chowdhury and her team are also receiving ongoing Rosetrees Trust funding for a project to heal fetal membrane defects and avoid preterm birth. This project combines technology in material chemistry, mechanobiology, biomechanics and imaging, to test therapies with fetal-on-a-chip mechanical models. The data obtained is in the early stages of this work and will be presented at the 23rd International Society for Prenatal Diagnosis and Therapy, Singapore in September 2019 and has been nominated for an Early Investigator award. This is a great opportunity for the PhD student working on this project, Eleni Costa, to showcase the latest findings from the team to leading experts in the field.

Here are a few words from Dr. Chowdhury: “In 2018, we established the Fetal Membrane Repair Network with a global community of scientists, clinicians, engineers, advocacy groups (Little Heartbeats) and children charities (Sparks, GOSH) to discuss ways to improve healing of the membranes after surgery or after the membranes rupture spontaneously. By working collaboratively with a multi-disciplinary team and by raising awareness about PPROM, we plan to develop a new clinical intervention that will improve healing, delay delivery and prevent preterm birth. We are very grateful to the Rosetrees Trust for supporting our research team and for inspiring the next generation of bioengineers.”

Written by: Rebecca Downing and Dr. Tina Chowdhury