James Hopwood

I am a second year CDT PhD student working within the Institute of Medical and Biological engineering at The University of Leeds. I studied my undergraduate degree at the University of Leeds in Sport and Exercise Sciences (BSc), graduating with a 2(i) honours degree. Due to my enjoyment and determination to gain more knowledge around my dissertation project on running mechanics, I completed a Master of Science by Research (MRes) in Footwear Biomechanics. The project focused on how minimalist and maximalist running footwear effect the kinetics and kinematics of the lower extremities. The MRes gave me a great opportunity to develop my research skills and methods, which providing me a strong foundation for my PhD. I have also taken part in a summer placement with Arthritis Research UK centre for sport, exercise and osteoarthritis. This gave me my first insight into the role of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine in the treatment options of osteoarthritis, which has lead me onto my current PhD pathway.

How did you hope the CDT integrated PhD would give you an advantage over a conventional PhD?

The CDT programme allows you to study in a multidisciplinary team with established collaborations and innovative approaches with academia, clinicians and industry. Being able to study a masters alongside the PhD work provides a broader opportunity for knowledge, training and skill development, compared to a specific area of research in a conventional PhD. The innovation seminar series, MedTech best sessions and placement opportunities within an industry setting gives me experience within varying companies and to see how products go through the ‘bench to bedside’ process. This has definitely enhanced my career prospects, much greater than a conventional PhD.

What have you most enjoyed during your time on the CDT Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine – Innovation in Medical and Biological Engineering programme?

I have really enjoyed the opportunities to attend a number of external conferences and innovation seminars. This allowed me to network with a variety of professional personnel in industry and academia, which has given me the chance of future collaborative work, while keeping up to date with new and emerging technologies and research in the field of biomedical engineering. Another excellent aspect of the course is having a cohort of fellow researchers going through the same stage of the PhD, rather than being on your own during a ‘normal’ PhD. There is a good combination of biology and engineering students so there is always someone with the expertise ready to help you if required.

How do you hope to extend the experience gained from the course in your future career?

The interdisciplinary nature of the CDT has given me the vast experiences I require to become a better-rounded scientist. When considering my future career, I would like to continue working within a multidisciplinary organization and apply the knowledge and skillsets gained from the CDT to a position within research and development or consultancy of medical devices. I would like to be known for my excellent work within the field of research and development of new medical devices.

Could you give one phrase that would persuade others to join the CDT?

A once in a lifetime opportunity to undertake pioneering research within the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, with the aim of translating novel ideas into medical devices.