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Cambridge Centre for Medical Materials

Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy

Studying at Cambridge


Miss Malavika Nair

Miss Malavika Nair

PhD Student


Malavika read her undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences (Materials Science) at Churchill College, University of Cambridge, graduating with a BA and MSci in 2016. Her previous research has included internships with Helmholtz Zentrum Geesthacht on the in-situ synchrotron diffraction of Mg-RE solidification in 2013, with EPFL on the synthesis and characterisation liquid crystal capped gold nanoparticles in 2014, and with CCMM on the characterisation of the effects of source, crosslinking and porosity in collagen scaffolds in 2015. She also completed her Masters project with CCMM in 2016 on the “Modelling and Study of the Dissolution Rate of Calcium-based Fillers in Composites for Orthopaedic Applications”. Malavika is currently undertaking a PhD on three dimensional environments for controlled tissue regeneration in collaboration with Geistlich Pharma AG.

Research Interests

Malavika’s research focuses on achieving cellular selectivity using three dimensional scaffolds to control the development of tissue in complex biological systems containing a wide variety of cell types. Collagen, being the primary component of the human extracellular matrix, is a highly attractive base material for use in such three dimensional environments in an effort to mimic the composition of natural tissue.

Extracted collagen, however, still requires a process by which the structure can be moulded and the properties can be tuned to fit the functionality and effective regeneration of our native tissue. This is often achieved using ice-templating and subsequent crosslinking of the scaffold to affect parameters such as pore size, orientation, interconnectivity as well as mechanical strength and stiffness.

The resulting architectural cues provided by a scaffold often elicits vastly different responses from different cell types; this presents an exciting opportunity for the use of such scaffolds as a ‘cellular sieve’ that promotes growth of some cells whilst excluding others.

However, to achieve such cellular selectivity, many aspects are yet to be addressed and fully understood. In particular, we seek to gain a better understanding of crosslinking on cell migration, the influence of serum protein deposition and the use of co-culture to ultimately provide a more representative model of the in-vivo environment.