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Dr James Henstock

Associate Professor

Department: Applied Sciences

James is Associate Professor of Tissue Engineering in the Department of Applied Science. His research covers 3D cell culture technologies, and is centred on designing new bioreactor-based strategies for biomanufacturing musculoskeletal tissues on earth and in space.

Following a BSc in Molecular Biology at UEA, an MPhil in Developmental Biochemistry at Birmingham University and a PhD in Biomaterials at Nottingham University, James joined Keele University as a postdoctoral researcher to research the mechanobiology of tissue engineered bone as a living therapeutic graft material. Using techniques including targeted magnetic nanoparticles and custom-designed bioreactors, his research focused on delivering mechanical forces to bone growing in the laboratory to stimulate the natural growth response.

After a visiting postdoctoral fellowship investigating bioengineered cartilage at Columbia University in New York, James set up his own laboratory at the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease in 2015 to research musculoskeletal diseases and ageing using cells and tissues cultured and grown in the laboratory, and using bioreactors designed to mimic the biomechanical conditions of the human body. A highlight of his work in Liverpool was Project: MicroAge, a UK Space Agency-funded project which launched tissue engineered human muscles in micro-bioreactors to the International Space Station to investigate the similarities between age-related muscle weakening on earth and the diminished effect of exercise on astronaut muscles in space.

In 2021 James joined Vow Ltd in Sydney, Australia to turn his research in muscle bioengineering into cultivated meat, a novel food which combines bioprocessing technology and tissue engineering to create nutritious animal protein without harming animals. James returned to the UK in 2023 to resume his academic research, and was awarded a Vice-Chancellor’s Fellowship at Northumbria to work at the intersection of Bioengineering, Space, Medicine and Sustainable Manufacturing.

James is a member of the BioCulture Facility Definition Team for the European Space Agency which is designing the technological capabilities for the next generation of bioscience research in space, and is a member of the University’s cross-faculty Space and BioFutures Interdisciplinary Research Themes. He is generally interested in biomanufacturing in space, particularly in the potential to use synthetic biology to manufacture the materials which will enable crewed exploration of the solar system (including construction materials, food and medicine) when fossil fuels and farmed animals are not available.

In addition to his enthusiasm for sustainability, James is committed to increasing fairness in academia and providing support for people to reach their full potential. He is very happy to talk to students about careers in science. He is LGBTQ+ Voice for the University’s Research Culture Committee, and the review committee for the revised Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers in 2019. He works closely with UKRI, including panel memberships for EPSRC Healthcare Technologies, BBSRC, and the Interdisciplinary College (Cross-Council Responsive Mode funding scheme), and serves on the BBSRC People and Talent Strategy Advisory Panel.

James Henstock

James research interests cover cell and tissue engineering, and centre on the design of active culture environments (bioreactors) for proliferating, maturing and cultivating in vitro musculoskeletal tissues. His expertise covers biomaterials, bioreactors and bioprocess technologies, disease models, biofabrication and 3D printing. He is an experienced engineer, and uses computer-aided design technology and additive manufacturing to create functioning prototypes and working bioreactors. The applications of James’ work are in healthcare technologies, regenerative medicine, disease modelling and cellular agriculture / cultivated meat. He is very happy to discuss potential research projects with prospective research students, and external partners in both academia and industry.

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • A 4D printed self-assembling PEGDA microscaffold fabricated by digital light processing for arthroscopic articular cartilage tissue engineering, Hao, Y., Wu, C., Su, Y., Curran, J., Henstock, J., Tseng, F. 1 Feb 2024, In: Progress in Additive Manufacturing
  • Pneumatic piston hydrostatic bioreactor for cartilage tissue engineering, Hallas, J., Janvier, A., Hoettges, K., Henstock, J. 4 May 2023, In: Instrumentation Science and Technology
  • Multimodal analysis of the differential effects of cyclic strain on collagen isoform composition, fibril architecture and biomechanics of tissue engineered tendon, Janvier, A., Pendleton, E., Mortensen, L., Green, D., Henstock, J., Canty-Laird, E. Oct 2022, In: Journal of Tissue Engineering
  • A universal multi-platform 3D printed bioreactor chamber for tendon tissue engineering, Janvier, A., Canty-Laird, E., Henstock, J. 2020, In: Journal of Tissue Engineering
  • A novel oxygen nanosensor for in vitro microenvironment monitoring in mesenchymal stem cell culture, Hao, Y., Koduri, M., Tseng, F., Henstock, J., Hunt, J., Curran, J. 2019, 23rd International Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences, MicroTAS 2019, Chemical and Biological Microsystems Society
  • Microage: Microgravity as a model for accelerated skeletal muscle ageing, Jones, S., McArdle, A., Henstock, J., Hoettges, K., Janvier, A., McArdle, C., Jackson, L., Zolesi, D., Neri, G., Jackson, M. 2019, In: Proceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC
  • Fluorescence-Based Nano-Oxygen Particles for Spatiometric Monitoring of Cell Physiological Conditions, Koduri, M., Goudar, V., Shao, Y., Hunt, J., Henstock, J., Curran, J., Tseng, F. 12 Sep 2018, In: ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
  • Magnetic ion channel activation of TREK1 in human mesenchymal stem cells using nanoparticles promotes osteogenesis in surrounding cells, Henstock, J., Rotherham, M., El Haj, A. 1 Oct 2018, In: Journal of Tissue Engineering
  • Remote regulation of magnetic particle targeted Wnt signaling for bone tissue engineering, Rotherham, M., Henstock, J., Qutachi, O., El Haj, A. Jan 2018, In: Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine
  • Surface tension assisted dynamic and uniform size generation of 3D spherical hydrogels (STA-DUH), Koduri, M., Garden, T., Hunt, J., Henstock, J., Curran, J., Tseng, F. 2018, 22nd International Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences, MicroTAS 2018, Chemical and Biological Microsystems Society

  • Biomedical Science December 10 2009
  • Molecular Biology December 12 2003
  • Molecular Biology BSc (Hons) July 12 2001
  • Certificate in Professional Studies in Learning & Teaching in Higher Education FHEA


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