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UCL Mechanical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Sciences


Joined UCL: 2012

Rebecca Shipley

  • Reader in Biomechanics
  • UCL Mechanical Engineering

Contact Dr Shipley

+44 020 3108 4074
Research profile:
IRIS Profile
UCL Centre for Nerve Engineering:
UCL Centre for Nerve Engineering
Personal/lab or group website:
IRIS page
Twitter Profile

Room 510C Roberts Building
Torrington Place
London WC1E 7JE

Office Hours:
Monday 09:30 - 10:30 | Thursday 09:30 - 10:30

About Dr Shipley

After an Undergraduate Masters degree in Mathematics at the University of Oxford, I completed my DPhil at the Oxford Centre for Industrial and Applied Mathematics in Dec 2008, working on multiscale mathematical models that link capillary microstructure and tissue-scale blood perfusion and drug delivery. Next I was awarded a Research Fellowship at Christ Church, Oxford to develop mathematical models that describe biomechanical and biochemical stimulation of tissues, and concurrently held Visiting Research Fellowships at two experimental labs (Centre for Regenerative Medicine, Bath and Tissue Repair and Engineering Centre, UCL), where I integrated mathematical models with experimental data to inform the design of bioreactors for tissue engineering. My research at the interface between theoretical modelling and tissue engineering experimentation led to the award of “Young researcher of the year” for the UK Tissue and Cell Engineering Society in Jul 2011. I took up my Lectureship at UCL in 2012.


Modules taught

  • MECH210P (Fundamentals of Biomechanics)
  • ENGS203P (Mathematical Modelling and Analysis II)

Additional non-UCL roles

Committee member for the In Vitro Toxicology Society

Research Interests

My research combines novel mathematical models with experimental and clinical data, organised into three main areas: (i) biomechanics of engineered tissues, (ii) blood flow and mass transport in vascular systems, and (iii) the development of in vitro devices to mimic in vivo physiology. Typically I adopt a continuum mechanics approach, describing biochemical and biomechanical effects on the tissue length scale, linked to microstructural features (e.g. cell or capillary scale) via multiscale methods.

I use dimensional analysis to systematically reduce the models, applying asymptotic methods to exploit disparate spatial and temporal scales (e.g. small aspect ratio geometries, or faster timescale for solute diffusion compared to cellular proliferation); this identifies the dominant features at play, whilst deriving simplified models amenable to solution via analytical and numerical methods.

Although I work on a range of applications within biology/ medicine, my main foci lie within nervous system tissue engineering (in collaboration with Dr James Phillips, UCL Eastman Dental Institute, and funded by the EPSRC), and cancer therapies (in collaboration with Dr Simon Walker-Samuel, UCL Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging). In 2016, we were awarded the Rosetrees Trust Interdisciplinary Prize for our work on cancer immunotherapy.

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