Research Group

Professor Brian Derby

Brian Derby graduated in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University in 1978 and obtained his PhD, also from Cambridge, in 1981. He spent 1 year working at the Centre d’Etudes Nucleaire de Grenoble as an ESA Fellow before spending 2 years in Cambridge University Engineering Department as a Research Fellow. He was in the University of Oxford, Department of Materials from 1983 -1998 as a Research Fellow, Lecturer and Reader in Materials Engineering, where he was Director of the Oxford Centre for Advanced Materials and Composites. He was appointed Professor in Materials Science at the Manchester Materials Science Centre in 1999. He was elected a member of the World Academy of Ceramics in 2004.

Brian Derby’s research interests span a wide range with a focus on the processing-structure-mechanical properties relation in ceramics, glasses and biomaterials. Recently he has been at the forefront of research into the development of inkjet printing as a manufacturing tool. He has particular interest in developing methods of characterising materials and processes in situ. Much of this work has been carried out collaborating with industry and other research groups across the world.

Research Staff

Rui Dou

Rui Dou graduated from Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics with a BEng in Environment Engineering in 2003. Then he was awarded an MSc in Materials and Business from Queen Mary, University of London in 2005. He obtained a PhD at University of Manchester working under the supervision of Professor Brian Derby. His work includes the fabrication process of metal nanowires and nanoporous metal foams, the measurement of their mechanical properties by uniaxial compression, the investigation of their plastic deformation mechanisms and the development of a model for the plastic deformation of metal nanowire and nanoporous metal foam. He is current a postdoc in the Derby Group.

Rachel Saunders

Rachel graduated from The University of Manchester with an MEng (Hons) in Biomedical Materials Science, incorporating an industrial placement at DePuy CMW formulating novel bioactive bone cements. She completed her PhD with Professor Brian Derby researching the effect of inkjet printing on cell survival. Rachel is now a EPSRC Life Sciences Interface Research Fellow continuing her research in inkjet printing for tissue engineering applications.


Tianming Wang

Tianming graduated in Non-Ferrous Metallurgical Engineering from Northeastern University, China in 1990 and obtained his Masters Degree in Metallurgical Engineering in 1993. He worked as a lecturer in the same university until 1997. He obtained his PhD from Nagoya Institute of Technology, Japan in 2001. He is currently working on inkjet printing of: i) ceramics suspensions to fabricate 3D objects, ii) reactive polymers, iii) glucose oxidase for biosensor use, and iv) living cells for tissue engineering.


Xuegen Zhao

Xuegen is currently working as Research Associate on a Wellcome Trust funded project, developing techniques for mechanical characterisation of biological tissues using scanning acoustic microscopy. Before joining the Derby group, he was working on the characterisation and application of functional magnetic materials, especially magnetostrictive materials at the University of Salford since 1996. Previously, he was based at the Institute of Physics in Beijing where he was also awarded a PhD in Physics in 1993. He completed his Bsc and Msc in Physics at Shandong University, China, in 1987 and 1990 respectively.

MD Candidate

Eason Sivayoham

Eason graduated from Universities of St. Andrews and Manchester with BSc. MBChB. 2002 and completed Basic Surgical Training obtaining Membership of Royal College of Surgeons. He Commenced as a Facial Plastics Research Fellow at Manchester Royal Infirmary in October 2008. Eason is currently undertaking an MD at the University of Manchester as a member of Professor Derby’s group, investigating ink-jet printing of keratinocyte monolayer culture.

PhD Candidates

Tarif Ali

Tarif Ali

Tarif Ali graduated from the Lancaster University BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry (1997). He worked in industry for several years in quality control/assurance and achieved M&S Laboratory Accreditation in textile testing. In 2002, he completed a PGCE at Manchester for Secondary and Further Education specialising in Chemistry. Tarif has taught for many years at various schools including the historic Walton High School in Nelson which was honoured with a visit by HRH Prince Charles, which was later replaced with the new Pendle Vale College, a “Superschool”. Prior to joining the Derby Group, he became a Schools Support Officer for Lancashire County Council (2008). He commenced a CASE award PhD in October 2010 on “Inkjet printing of enzymes for Biosensor and Biofuel cell applications” under Professor Derby’s supervision. The PhD is sponsored by Applied Enzyme Technology Ltd. Tarif is also an Educational Support Tutor for LCC and currently runs a homework support clinic every Saturday at a local Community Centre.

Israa Sabree

Israa K. Sabree graduated from University of Babylon in Iraq with a BSc in Mechanical Engineering and later (2000) completed a Masters degree in Corrosion of Materials. She commenced a PhD at the School of Materials, University of Manchester under Professor Derby’s supervision in May 2010. Her research is on the Fabrication of Bioglasses by Stereolithography.

Yuanyuan Liu

Yuanyuan Liu graduated with a BEng in Ceramic Composite Materials from Zhengzhou University, China in 2010.  In 2012, she got her Master degree in Materials Physics and Chemistry from Harbin Institute of Technology, China. Then she commenced a CSC scholarship to pursue a PhD on “Inkjet printing of ceramics” under the supervision of Professor Derby. Her research now is mainly focus on the “coffee stain” and defects in 3D printed ceramics.


Zhuolun Yao

Zhuolun Yao started a four year MEng program in Biomedical Materials and Tissue Engineering with the University of Manchester in 2008. During this time he successfully completed two research projects on optimising inkjet printing for tissue engineering under the supervision of Professor Brian Derby and Dr Rachel Saunders. He obtained his MEng (Hons) in 2012 and has since been awarded the opportunity to pursue further research with the group through a PDS funded PhD Studentship. His current research focus is on the suitability of different hydrogel scaffolds for tissue engineering and their printing characteristics. During his time with the university, Zhuolun was heavily involved with Student As Partners, taking on various the roles, including PASS Leader, Peer Mentor, Student Consultant, Student Coordinator, as well as representing the University of Manchester in the National PASS Leader Conference in 2011.

Amanda Lewis

Amanda graduated from the University of Bath in 2009 with a BSc (hons) in physics, during which she completed an industrial placement year working with Raman optical tweezers and confocal microscopy at the Lasers for Science Facility at the Rutherford Appleton Laborartory. She is now a member of the North West Nanoscience Doctoral Training Centre (NOWNano DTC), and is conducting a PhD researching chemical vapour deposition of graphene under the joint supervision of Professor Ian Kinloch and Professor Brian Derby. Her research is focussed on understanding the manner in which reaction conditions affect the deposited graphene films.

Pei He

Pei He graduated from Xidian University with a BEng in Telecommunication Engineering, China, in 2009. Then he studied organic electronic devices at Shanghai Jiao Tong University and obtained his MEng degree in Electronic Engineering, China, in 2012. Then he got the CSC scholarship from Chinese government to pursue the PhD degree under the supervision of Professor Brian Derby. His research now is focused on inkjet printing graphene-based materials for transparent conductor applications.



Technical Staff

Andy Forrest

Andy Wallwork (Experimental Officer)

Former Group Members

Alastair Selby

Alastair Selby

Alastair graduated from the University of Manchester with a BSC (Hons) in Biomedical Materials Science in 2008. His final year project involved a novel approach to the measurement of mechanical properties of hydrated, soft contact lenses by nanoindentation. He is nominated for the RH Craven award for polymer science for this project. Ali has now started a PhD under the supervision of Professor Brian Derby and Dr. Carole Maldonado-Codina, from the Optometry department, with the intention of expanding the work started during his undergraduate studies.


Manuela Di-Biase

Manuela graduated from the University of Bologna (Italy) with a Masters degree in Industrial Chemistry after completing a project with Dr. Leonardo Setti for the development of biosensors using thermal ink-jet printing. She was awarded a PhD supervised by Prof. Derby in manufacturing a cell-containing scaffold made of Pluronic F127 diacrylate gel using a piezoelectric ink-jet printer.


Jonathan Stringer

Jonathan was a Research Associate in Manchester as part of the ‘Next Generation Inkjet Technology’ consortium involving a number of other universities and industrial collaboration. His research investigated the physics of ink jet printing, in particular the processes of droplet deposition, coalescence and phase change from printable ink to functional material. He was previously awarded an MEng in Materials Science from the University of Manchester in 2003, and a PhD in Materials Science in 2007, also from the University of Manchester.

Christopher Cook

Chris graduated from Manchester University in 2005 with an MEng in Biomedical Materials Science with industrial experience. Having spent his year in industry at Johnson and Johnson in Gargrave he decided to remain in the University to study for an Engineering Doctorate. He was awarded an EngD in October 2010 which assessed the use of the inkjet printing platform as a method for rapid prototyping of glucose sensors in conjunction with several industrial companies.


Riaz Akhtar

Riaz graduated from UMIST with an MEng (Hons) in Biomedical Materials Science, incorporating an industrial placement at Tyco Electronics UK Ltd. In 2007, he completed a PhD at The University of Manchester in ‘The micromechanical behaviour of bone’ under the supervision of Dr Paul Mummery. Following this, he undertook a post-doctoral position with Prof. Derby on an EPSRC-feasibility study using high-frequency acoustic methods to determine micromechanical properties of soft tissue. In July 2008, Riaz was awarded a British Heart Foundation research fellowship working under the supervision of Prof. Kennedy Cruickshank and Prof. Derby. He joined the School of Engineering at the University of Liverpool as a lecturer in Biomedical Engineering in October 2011

Bojun Xu

Bojun graduated from Fudan University, China in 2005 and gained his MSc in Advanced Engineering Materials from University of Manchester in 2006. His MSc dissertation concerned the extrusion of chitosan and alginate gel for biomedical applications. He decided to continue his research in rapid prototyping at the University of Manchester to study for a PhD under Prof. Derby’s supervision. He was awarded a PhD in the field of inkjet printing and direct writing of electronics in 2010.


Steven Wilkinson

Steven graduated from Heriot-Watt University with a BSc (Hons) in Optoelectronics and Laser Engineering in 1993. In       2002, he was awarded a PhD at Aberdeen University in Biomedical Physics (`Semi-automated analysis of X-ray diffraction patterns with an application to the uterine cervix during pregnancy’) under the supervision of Prof. D. W. L. Hukins. During and following the 3 years research period of his PhD, Steve gained experience in many different imaging and research areas. He also worked at the Osteoporosis Research Unit in Aberdeen from 1998 to 2002. In 2003, he took a position working on small angle diffraction imaging of connective tissue being supervised by Professor K. D. Rogers but based at the synchrotron radiation source (SRS), Daresbury Laboratory under the co-supervision of Dr. C. Hall. In December 2008 he joined Professor Derby’s group to work on developing acoustic microscopy methods for determining mechanical properties of soft biological tissues.

Nadja Nijenhuis

Nadja joined the Derby Group in January 2009 and is studying cell mechanics with scanning
acoustic microscopy on a BBSRC-funded project. She worked on the micromechanical
properties of the pericellular matrix with a focus on the macromolecule hyaluronan, as
part of her PhD at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2003-2007) and the Georg-August University of Göttingen, Germany (2008). She graduated from the University of Amsterdam in Experimental Physics (MSc).