• Meet the team

    The experts who power our innovation culture

    As a business seeking new solutions, improved processes, or rigorous data collection and analysis, you can call upon the dynamic team that lies at the heart of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences’ work with SMEs, corporate enterprises, health organisations, and non-profit and local government sectors. Its members offer academic excellence, cutting-edge expertise, and practical skills in their field.

    Unified by the desire to develop collaborations and partnerships that will lead to breakthrough improvements, profitable commercialisation of research, and a return on investment for your enterprise, our team are the bedrock of our reputation for innovation and success.

    Under their leadership, the further resources of the university are also available to your projects. This ranges from human resources, for example, in the form of recruitment or student placements to suit your project needs, to laboratory facilities and specialist equipment available without capital investment on your part.

    Together with the Brookes Research and Business Development Office, we have experience in applying for funding and research grants, and can guide you towards opportunities that might be available.

    Meet our research and innovation champions . . .

  • The innovation team

  • Professor David Evans BSc, PhD (Wales)

    Associate Dean Research and Knowledge Exchange
    Email: deevans@brookes.ac.uk

    Profile

    David leads on research and knowledge exchange across this wide-ranging faculty. As well as a faculty management role, David is an active researcher and a founder member of international research consortia.

    Research interests and expertise

    David is currently researching a family of nuclear envelope associated proteins (NEAPs). His work uses a variety of techniques for protein-protein interaction and live cell imaging, including generation of mutants and fluorescent constructs of nuclear proteins. The nuclear envelope (NE) is of key importance in regulating the function of the nucleus. The role of the NE is being explored to enhance transformation of plant material and to enhance disease and drought resistance.

    Areas of expertise

    • Plant cell and molecular biology
    • Plant cell and tissue culture
    • Plant nuclear architecture and regulation
    • Plant biotechnology

    Victor Bolanos-Garcia

    Researcher in BMS
    Senior Lecturer in Clinical Biochemistry
    Email: vbolanos-garcia@brookes.ac.uk

    Profile

    Victor is a biochemist and structural biologist, and a member of numerous research bodies, with international connections among the biochemistry community. He investigates the mechanistic understanding of cell division, and anomalies in the processes associated with birth and development defects, neuropathies, premature ageing and cancer.

    Research interests and expertise

    Victor is researching how proteins can associate to form larger macromolecular assemblies to ensure timely and accurate cell division, and exploring ways in which the structural and mechanistic understanding of the process can be translated into the clinic.

    The research area has clear potential for application in diagnostic and treatment of birth and developmental defects, cancer and aging-associated disorders. The studies combine X-ray protein crystallography, NMR, cryo-EM and chemoinformatics methods with protein biochemistry, protein biophysics and molecular and cell biology approaches.

    His research on cell signalling spans basic and translational bioscience that underpins the major strategic objectives of the UK research councils (BBSRC, MRC, EPSRC), charities (The Wellcome Trust, CRUK) and the EU (Horizon 2020 Programme): understanding healthy aging, the molecular basis of tumour formation and growth and of birth and development disorders; developing industrial biotechnology and the control of infectious diseases caused by pathogenic metazoan organisms through the targeting of the mitotic checkpoint-kinetochore-microtubules axis.

    The interdisciplinary nature and substantial societal impact of Victor’s research concerns areas central to bioscience. It represents a valuable opportunity for high-quality training and transference of a wide range of high-level skills to the new generation of researchers. Understanding the dynamics and the structural features of the molecular interactions underpinning mitotic checkpoint signalling will ultimately open up new opportunities for improving the quality of life of an ever growing population and therefore contribute to reducing pressure on social and healthcare systems.

    Dr Patrick Esser PhD

    Senior Lecturer, Job title at MOReS?
    Email: pesser@brookes.ac.uk

    Profile

    Patrick has a background in engineering applied to health sciences. He acts as a link between engineering and clinicians as a data scientist, creating algorithms and bespoke programmes providing clinicians and researchers with the outputs required for the own relevant expertise.

    Research interests and expertise

    His PhD involved the creation of a single sensor gait analysis methodology applied in the field of clinical biomechanics whereby he has identified functional markers preceding the development of a clinical condition. He and his colleagues are developing this further as a monitoring tool to empower patient groups to monitor and alter their lifestyle based on a short-term walking test. He is also researching physical activity in both adults and children and developing clinical scales with regards to on-road driving.

    Dr Sarah Irons BSc (Hons), PhD

    Bioinnovation Hub Manager
    Faculty Biological Laboratory Safety Officer
    Email: sarahirons@brookes.ac.uk

    Profile

    Sarah holds a PhD in plant cell biology. She has worked with a number of groups within the university, researching pharmaceutical protein production in plants, non-targeted effects in cells exposed to low levels of radiation and most recently looking at the baculovirus-cell interactions during insect cell infection. She has acquired and developed skills in different imaging techniques in the course of this work. She now manages the university’s Bioinnovation Hub.

    Research interests and expertise

    As manager of the Bioinnovation Hub Sarah supports the groups and companies working within the hub laboratories. With over 15 years of experience in supervising students she continues to deliver training in fundamental techniques, such as protein expression, SDS-PAGE and western blotting to the trainee scientists working within the hub.

    Areas of expertise

    • Plant, insect and mammalian cell culture
    • Microscopy
    • Protein expression

    Verena Kriechbaumer

    Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellow in Biology
    Email: vkriechbaumer@brookes.ac.uk

    Profile

    Verena is a plant cell biologist and protein biochemist with expertise in the structure and function of the plant endoplasmic reticulum (ER), membrane proteins and auxin biosynthesis using biochemical techniques as well as high-resolution live cell imaging.

    Research interests and expertise

    She researches in the structure and function of the plant endoplasmic reticulum (ER), membrane proteins, and auxin biosynthesis, using biochemical techniques and high-resolution live cell imaging. She has developed a research pathway in auxin biosynthesis going back to her degree and PhD.

    Her interests also include subcellular protein localisation, bioinformatics, and mathematical modelling. Her independent research on ER localisation and splicing in auxin biosynthesis showed for the first time ER-localisation for an auxin biosynthetic protein. In 2012 she began work investigating the role of reticulon proteins in ER tubulation and viral trafficking, developing her international reputation in ER research and advanced imaging.

    Verena is committed to linking academia and industry and is part of the Innovation Forum Oxford as an Oxford Brookes representative.

    Areas of expertise

    • Protein biochemistry and membrane targeting, protein-membrane interactions, protein expression and purification, enzymology, organelle purification in plant, yeast and bacterial systems
    • High-resolution confocal live cell imaging and image analysis
    • Bioinformatics