Molly Stevens
John Black Professor of Bionanoscience, Institute for Biomedical Engineering / Department of Physiology
Anatomy & Genetics Deputy Director, Kavli Institute for Nanoscience Discovery
Chair in Emerging Technologies, Royal Academy of Engineering
Location: Institute of Biomedical Engineering

Professor Molly Stevens FREng FRS joined as the John Black Professor of Bionanoscience in April 2023 at the Institute for Biomedical Engineering and the Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics, and Deputy Director of the Kavli Institute for Nanoscience Discovery. Prof Stevens obtained her PhD at the University of Nottingham, did her postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and led a highly interdisciplinary research programme at Imperial College London from 2004-2023 where she still holds a part-time position. Since 2015, she has also been part-time Professor of Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine in the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics at the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.

Professor Stevens is an international leader in ground-breaking biosensing technologies, transformative regenerative medicine and advanced therapeutics approaches; has published extensively (over 400 papers and H-index over 100) in leading journals such as Science, Nature, Nature Nanotechnologyand Nature Materials; and was named a Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researcher in Cross-Field Research. She is a serial entrepreneur and has significant expertise and experience in commercialisation of devices, with numerous patents filed and 4 spin-out companies based on her research.

Professor Stevens has won >40 awards, including the Novo Nordisk Award in 2023, the MRS Mid-Career Researcher Award in 2022, and the American Chemical Society Award in Colloid Chemistry in 2020. Prof Stevens is a Fellow of 8 Professional Bodies, including the Royal Society (FRS) and Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng), and is also a Foreign Member of the National Academy of Engineering and an International Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Amongst many leadership roles, Professor Stevens is Director of the UK Regenerative Medicine Hub for Acellular Smart Materials and Deputy Director of the EPSRC-Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration i-sense for biosensing.

Professor Stevens’ research programme uses innovative bioengineering approaches to pursue the vision of solving key problems in regenerative medicine, biosensing and therapeutics. The Stevens Group’s biomaterial innovations are also applied to soft robotics, and to the interface between living and non-living matter, and are underpinned by collaborations with molecular dynamics experts and data scientists in the digital health field. This work is inherently interdisciplinary, so the Stevens Group is made up of a diverse cast of materials scientists, engineers, chemists, biologists, physicists and surgeons.

Key focus areas include:

  • Advanced Diagnostics & Personalised Medicine. The Stevens Group’s long-term goal is to democratise and personalise healthcare with ultrasensitive, cost-effective, user-friendly and mobile-connected diagnostic technologies. To do this, they are transforming disease detection by harnessing the mighty power of miniscule nanomaterials. These nanomaterials react with chemicals produced by diseases in the body and cause visible colour changes in urine tests, and tests similar to home pregnancy kits. Recognising the ubiquitous power of the mobile-connected modern world, they are co-developing smartphone platforms which capture and record data from the tests to track the spread and treatment of infectious diseases across communities.
  • Engineering & Exploring the Bio-Material Interface. The Stevens Group designs biomaterials that influence the behaviour of cells at the interface of living and non-living matter by tweaking the surface chemistry and texture. These materials have emerging applications in medical implants, vaccines, cell supports, and as instructive three-dimensional environments for tissue regeneration. The team studies the cell-material interface to rationally design materials such as nanoneedles and 3D tissue-engineering scaffolds that cause cells to respond with desirable behaviours. The Stevens Group’s experiments at the interface between biology and materials science frequently push the limits of what existing technologies and methods are capable of. So they decided to invent some of their own.
  • Bioelectronics & Regenerative Engineering. The Stevens Group has a growing portfolio of cutting-edge biomaterials designed to repair tissues, enhance regeneration and deliver drugs to targeted areas of the body. They are advancing novel manufacturing strategies, such as 3D-printing, remote stimulation and cell patterning, to build scaffolds for cells that recreate the complexity of real tissues. The Stevens Group is also developing new materials for bioelectronic applications and soft robotics.
  • Digital Medicine & Big Data. Working with collaborators, the Stevens Group is harnessing the computational power of machine learning and artificial intelligence to enhance understanding of molecules, materials, and processes. Not only can computer simulations verify laboratory observations, but they also prove useful in predicting experimental outcomes, and provide complementary data to experiments. The Stevens Group works with experts in computer modelling and big data to help screen molecules and systems far faster than is possible by physical experiments, and train computers to help interpret experimental data. The Stevens Group’s funding portfolio is highly diverse, and includes funding from ERC (Advanced Grant), UKRI (EPSRC and MRC), Royal Academy of Engineering, Horizon 2020, The Wellcome Trust, National Institute for Health Research, Cancer Research UK, Rosetrees Trust and others.

The Stevens Group