By Despina Koniordou, on 13 February 2015
The Institute of Biomedical Engineering (IBME) interviews our researchers, academics, students, clinicians, affiliates and partners to find out a little more about who they are and what they do.
This month we interviewed Professor Robert Brown who works as Professor of Tissue Engineering for the Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Science, UCL. We asked him ten questions to do with his research, career and personal life and here is what he replied…
1) What is your job title?
I am UCL’s first Professor of Tissue Engineering.
2) What keywords would you pick to describe your work?
Fun: Deeply Satisfying: Immensely Exciting – OR – Tissue Fabrication: Protein Materials: Collagen Cell Delivery: Angiogenic Materials.
3) What brought you to the world of science/engineering/medical technologies/medicine?
(i) A desire to make a difference to advanced healthcare; (ii) a drive to invent; (iii) the people in science and their fantastically diverse minds.
4) What is your favourite thing about your work?
Every day is different and the difference you can make – not least for the students and early stage researchers- is a joy!
5) What’s been your career highlight?
Inventing a method for rapid fabrication of living tissues that works (called plastic compression or ‘RAFT’), and understanding cell mechanics (OOPS) and scarring to the point where it was possible to invent a garment for reduction of pregnancy stretch marks.
6) What is your favourite quote?
“The wrong view of science is betrayed by a desire to be right” by Karl Popper.
7) What’s the best piece of advice you have been given?
Be careful where you are drilling.
8) Who has been your greatest mentor and why?
My father for instilling a love for new knowledge, and Paul D Byers (osteopathologist) for introducing me to the complexities of the scientific hypothesis.
9) What do you do in your spare time?
Walk and talk; with my dog Muttly or grandson Finn.
10) Finally, if you had a superpower, what would it be and why?
Super-vision (to see what people really need, or super-writing so that I could secure the grants I really wanted to do.
Professor Brown is a biochemist who turned to use protein materials for engineering of tissues and a network-generator with a foot permanently in two disciplines; He invents devices, using glimpses of effects which are surprisingly simple and basic.