Centre for Synthetic Biology and the Bioeconomy

Staff Profile

Dr Jinju Chen

Reader in Biointerface Engineering


I will join Loughborough University as a Professor of Advanced Materials and Biointerfaces in December 2023.

If you are interested in joining my research group to do exciting research in tackling biofilm infections, regenerative medicines, cancer detections, marine fouling control, computational biomechanics, please feel free to contact me via j.chen4@lboro.ac.uk.

Summary of my research background:

Since 2015, I have a sustained group size of 6-12 active researchers throughout the years.  My aspiration is to consolidate my internationally recognised expertise in biointerface engineering to create real lasting and widely recognised impact in this area, aiming at addressing fundamental scientific questions of cell-materials interactions and applying the knowledge to inform surface design for biofilm control and accelerate the treatment of human diseases. Management and leadership role within School: I am the postgraduate researchers (PGR) Director for Discipline of Mechanical Engineering & Marine Technology and Interim PGR Director /Deputy Research Director for School of Engineering. I am also the member for equality, diversity and inclusion committee within School of Engineering. I am also a Fellow of Royal Microscope Society and a member of UKRI Talent Panel College.

 At Newcastle University, I have an established and growing international reputation in research as is evidenced by refereed journal papers (H-index=34), research income (£9.15M in total with £2.44M as PI from various funding agencies) and a range of external recognition from editorial roles to keynote/ invited conference talks. I have published 81 refereed journal papers with a focus on top journals in computational modelling, bioengineering and materials engineering, including Acta biomaterialia, Advanced Science, Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids, Nanoscale, PLOS Computational Biology, Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, Advanced Functional Materials, Journal of Materials Science and Technology, Applied Materials Today, npj Biofilms and Microbiomes.  

I am Principal Editor of Journal of Materials Research (Springer Nature) , Editorial Board Member of Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group) and Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces.  I have applied and been invited to join UKRI Talented Panel College. 

My research is mainly funded by EPSRC with further funding from MRC, BBSRC and The Royal Society. I regularly review proposals for both RCUK and overseas research councils (e.g. Singapore, Isreal, France, Czech, Swiss Science Foundation). I also examine PhD thesis nationally and internationally. I also sit in EPSRC Healthcare Technology panel. Particularly, I have sat in UKRI COVID panels to help with rapid decisions to fund most important projects to tackle national and global COVID issues. I am a member of EPSRC Peer Review College. I also gained special Recognition in 2021 for my significant contribution (top 6% of EPSRC Peer Review College members) to EPSRC Peer Review. I am also a Topical Advisory Panel of Processes (MDPI, IF=3.5). I have delivered 80 invited talks including 5 keynote talks at international conferences and 2 invited talks at Isaac Newton Institute. 

I joined Newcastle as a lecturer in Sept. 2011. Shortly after that, I was invited to visit NTU (Singapore) to lead a project on computational cell mechanics which led to a paper published in Journal of Biomechanics. She resumed her teaching post at School of Mechanical & System Engineering in Jan 2012. I have 81 peer-reviewed journal papers, 2 bookchapters, and a number of conference proceeding papers, with H-index of 34 and total citations above 3,200 (googlescholar). In recent years, I have often been invited to give keynote/invited talks on Biomechanics, Nanobiomechanics, antibiofilm surfaces and computational modelling at international conferences. 

After obtaining my BEng, I moved to Newcastle to do PhD sponsored by various scholarships. Under the supervision of Prof. S.J. Bull (FREng), I completed Ph.D thesis within 2 years and 9 months in School of Chemical Engineering & Advanced Materials at Newcastle University. My PhD work involves mathematical modelling, computational modelling (FEM) and experimental characterisations of thin film materials. My PhD work has led to 8 first-authored journal papers and 3 first-authored conference papers. Then I worked as a Post-doc research associate at Newcastle (Nano Lab) & London (Cell & Tissue Engineering Lab, QMUL) to work on Multiscale Modelling of Functional Coatings and Multiscale Mechanobiology for Tissue Engineering, respectively. I was also an academic visitor at Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung (Dusseldorf) to work on computational modelling crystal plasticity in collaboration with Prof. Dierk Raabe (Director). When I was offered a lectureship at newcastle, I had 18 first authored journal papers, one European Society for Biomechanics (ESB) conference travel award, one GRC conference (Gordon conference) committee awarded bursary and one Royal Society Travel Grant. 

I have worked on mechanics of advanced materials such as energy related materials, biomaterials, soft and hard biological tissues, finite element simulation, nanomechanics, nanotribology, and cell mechanics. I investigated the fracture and adhesion failure in ceramic coatings, creep in metallic coating, plastic deformation at submicro/nanoscale, viscoelastic behaviour of polymers, nonlinear elasticity in biomaterials etc. I am also very interested in fundamental nanoindentation mechanics, fracture mechanics and nonlinear elastic mechanics. 

My current research covers : 1) cell and tissue mechanics (experimental and computational modelling); 2) mechanics of particles (including cells) using AFM; 3) rheology of hydrogels and biological materials ;4) develop novel antifouling surfaces; 5) nanofabrications and bio-inspired materials; 6) biofilm mechanics and modelling (continuum based model and particle based model); 7) multiscale mechanical testing of soft matter (incl. a new automated non-destructive testing approach developed in my group). 


We welcome enthusiastic and talented researchers at all levels (UG to Post-doc researchers) to join us. We are also happy to sponsor the talented researchers (with PhD degree) to apply for external fellowship to be hosted at my lab.

External Postdoc Fellowships: Newton International Fellowships (open Jan-Mar); Marie Curie Individual Fellowships (Open Apr-Sep); EMBO Fellowships etc.

PhD scholarship for Chinese students: 

 CSC Scholarship at Newcastle Newcastle will waive the tuition fees and the CSC will provide the living allowance. The application will open around October every year. Please note this is a two-step application: Step 1: You should submit a PhD application (in English) to Newcastle. You need to get an unconditional offer before you submit a CSC application. The deadline for this step is usually in the early /middle of January. Step 2: If you are successful at step 1, you will then submit another full application (in Chinese) to the CSC in China. The deadline is usually in the middle of March. The result is usually announced in May. If you are successful in both steps, you will be awarded the full scholarship from Newcastle and CSC. 

PhD scholarship for students from commonwealth countries: 

Commonwealth scholarship: You need to have a master degree before submitting the application. 

The closing date for applications (including all supporting documentation) is around mid-October each year. 

Applications must be made using the CSC’s online application system

Candidates must apply to one of the below nominating agencies as well as to the CSC. Nominating agencies will then put forward candidates to the CSC. The CSC does not accept direct applications for these scholarships.

Each nominating agency oversees its own selection process and may have additional eligibility criteria. Candidates must check with the nominating agency for their specific advice and rules for applying, and their own eligibility criteria. Nominating agencies may set their own closing date for applications.

Candidates must complete an application using the CSC’s online application system, in addition to any other application required to be completed by the nominating agency. The CSC is unable to accept any applications that are not submitted via the online application system.

Agencies will nominate candidates to the CSC by December.

Candidates are advised to complete and submit applications as early as possible, as the online application system will be very busy in the days leading up to the application deadline.

Visiting research students: 

For the visiting students (MRes/MPhil or PhD), you need to be registered as occasional students and you need to have funding to cover the fee as occasional students.

Google Scholar Profile

SCOPUS Profile




Esteem Indicators

Three keynote lectures at international conferences invited in the year of 2022. 

Invited expert referee for national proposals for Singapore, France, Israel, Czech. 

 Principal Editor of Journal of Materials Research (2016-present)

Editorial board member for Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces (2022-present)

Editorial Board Member of Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group) , 2018-present

member of UKRI Talent Panel College (2022-present)

member of EPSRC Peer Review College

elected full member of Sigma Xi , The Scientific Research Honour Society

Gained recognition of my significant contribution to EPSRC Peer Review: top 6% of College members for participating in peer review activities during the last academic year (2019/20).

Group news: 

Congrats to the team! Our paper on ‘Nanostructured titanium surfaces exhibit recalcitrance towards Staphylococcus epidermidis biofilm formation’ made it to the top 100 most highly read materials science papers for Natures’ Scientific Reports journal in 2018, signifying its great value to the research community.   https://www.nature.com/collections/fhacegjgia ; dated on 15 April 2019.

The research paper features the novel pocket-type surface nanostructures on titanium implant materials which enabled sustainable anti-biofilm effects. Such a pocket-like surface significantly outcompetes current pillar-based nanostructures in terms of anti-biofilm performance. The combined experimental and computational modelling approaches revealed new key mechanisms for antibiofilm characteristics of these structured surfaces. Such a chemical-free antibiofilm surface has the potential to tackle the antimicrobial resistance issues.

Read the paper here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-19484-x

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-19484-x

Recent submitted papers: 

1) Charlton, Samuel; Bible, Amber;Secchi, Eleonora;Morrell-Falvey,Jennifer; Retterer,Scott;Curtis,Thomas;Chen,Jinju;Jana,Saikat. Microstructural and rheological transitions in bacterial biofilms, Advanced Science, accepted on 30 June 2023

2) Dong Niu, Dachao Li, Ming Xiong, Jinlan Chen, Yunyi Cao, Jinju Chen, Hongzhong Liu. Electroactive Bistable Actuators with Tunable Snap-through Performances and Adjustable Mechanical Bending Modes for Ultrafast Bioinspired Systems, Advanced Engineering Materials 25, 2201268

3) Acute brain slice elastic modulus decreases over time, accepted on 4 August 2023.

4)Improving the optical subdivision ability of a grating interferometer via double-row reverse blazed gratings, Optics and Lasers in Engineering, Volume 168, September 2023, 107676

Recent papers accepted in Biophysics, Biomechanics or structured surfaces related aspects:

Xueqian Lv, Tian Li, Weitao Jiang, Hongzhong Liu, Xunhan Wang, Yi Fang, lei yin, yongsheng shi, Bangdao Chen, Xiaokang Liu, Donglin Peng, and Jinju Chen. Asymmetric thermal rectifier with designed in-plane temperature gradient zones for thermoelectric generator . Journal of Applied Physics, J. Appl. Phys. 133 (2023) 125001. Accepted on 07 March 2023 .

Deciphering the adaption of bacterial cell wall mechanical integrity and turgor to different chemical or mechanical environments, Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, accepted on 19 Feb 2023. 

Dynamics of Droplets Impacting on Aerogel, Liquid Infused, and Liquid-Like Solid Surfaces, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces , accepted on 14 Dec 2022. 

Dong Niu, Jinlan Chen, Ming Xiong, Yunyi Cao, Chunmeng He, Jinju Chen, and Hongzhong Liu. Numerical Investigation of Multiscale Lateral Microstructures Enhancing Passive Micromixing Efficiency via Secondary Vortex Flow, Physics of Fluids, 2022,in press. 

Wenjian Yang, Ma Luo, Yanfei Gao, Xiqiao Feng, Jinju Chen. Mechanosensing model of fibroblast cells adhered on a substrate with varying stiffness and thickness. Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids. 2023.

Rui Han, Waldemar Vollmer, John D. Perry, Paul Stoodley, Jinju Chen. Simultaneous determination of the mechanical properties and turgor of a single bacterial cell using atomic force microscopy.  Nanoscale, accepted on 6 August, 2022. 

Y Xia, PG Jayathilake, B Li, P Zuliani, D Deehan, J Longyear, P Stoodley, J. Chen. Coupled CFD-DEM modelling to predict how EPS affects bacterial biofilm deformation, recovery and detachment under flow conditions. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, accepted on 14 May, 2022.

SMA-based Soft Actuators with Electrically Responsive and Photoresponsive Deformations Applied in Soft Robots. Sensors and Actuators: A. Physical. accepted on 25 march 2022. 

Depth and tolerance modulation of Talbot imaging via specified design of grating structure, Optics Express, accepted on 18 Feb 2022

Slippery Liquid-Like Solid Surfaces with Promising Antibiofilm Performance in both Static and Flow Conditions. Y Zhu, G McHale, J Dawson, S Armstrong, G Wells, R Han, H Liu, W Vollmer, P Stoodley, NS Jakubovics, J. Chen. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2022, published online on 31 Jan 2022. 

Simultaneous measurement of single cell mechanics and cell-to-materials adhesion using fluidic force microscopy M Luo, W Yang, T Cartwright, J Higgins, jinju Chen. published on 4 Jan 2022.Langmuir.

Thermal Diodes Based on Fractal Structures with Tunable Thermal Threshold, Tian Li,Weitao Jiang,Yue Zhang,Baotong Li,Lanlan Wang,Dong Niu,Hongzhong Liu,Lei Yin,Yongsheng Shi,Bangdao Chen,Jinju Chen,Xiaokang Liu,Donglin Peng, Advanced Functional Materials, published on 23 Dec 2021. 

Crawling-Jumping Synergic Bioinspired robots Harnessing Electroactive Bistable Actuators by Adjusting Mechanical Response and Forces.Dachao Li, Dong Niu, Guoyong Ye, Biao Lei,JieHan, Weitao Jiang, Feng Luo, Jinju Chen, Hongzhong Liu,Bingheng Lu. Applied Materials Today, accepted on 8 June. 2021

A modified Sneddon model for the contact between conical indenters and spherical samples, Rui Han, Jinju Chen.  Journal of Materials Research, accepted on 5 April 2021. 

Modelling the combined effect of surface roughness and topography on bacterial attachment. Subash Bommu Chinnaraj, Pahala Gedara Jayathilake, Jack Dawson, Yasmine Ammar, Jose Portoles, Nicholas Jakubovics, Jinju Chen. Journal of Materials Science & Technology, accepted on 14 Dec. 2020.

 Revealing the nanoindentation response of a single cell using a 3D structural finite element model, Yang, Wenjian; Lacroix, Damien; Tan, lay poh; Chen, Jinju, Journal of Materials Research. accepted on 26 Oct. 2020. 

CFD-DEM modelling of biofilm streamer oscillations and their cohesive failure in fluid flow. Y XIA, P Jayathilake, B Li, P Zuliani, J Chen, Biotechnology and Bioengineering, accepted on 26 Oct. 2020. 

Topical Review

  • Jinju Chen, Indentation based methods to assess fracture toughness for thin coatings, Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics (2012) 45 203001 doi:10.1088/0022-3727/45/20/203001

 Invited papers 


  • Jinju Chen, A non-destructive approach to determine fracture toughness of coating: Nanoindentation tests and analysis, Chapter 3, pp123-178,in Thin Films and Coatings: Toughening and Toughness Characterisation, edited by Sam Zhang, published on July 29, 2015 by CRC Press
  • Jinju Chen, Chapter 7: Thin film coatings and the biological interface , Thin Film Coatings for Biomaterials and Biomedical Applications; Woodhead Publishing Series in Biomaterials: Number 110, 143-164,  edited by Prof. Hans Griesser, published on March 15, 2016.

Journal Editor 

Editorial Board

Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces (Elsevier), 2022-present

Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group) in the topic of Biological Physics, 2018-present

International Journal of Nanomedicine and Nanotechnology 

 Conference chair/society chair

* Co-Chair of Symposium E - Organic and Biological Coatings of TACT 2017 (International Thin Films Conference), Taiwan, 15-18Oct, 2017

*        Session chair for Soft matters & MD/ab initio applications, 9TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON MATERIALS FOR ADVANCED TECHNOLOGIES, Singapore, June 2017

        Appointed as Chairperson of Tyne & Wear Materials Society (2016- ), IOM3, UK.

·        Chairing a session in Nanoindentation Conference at Newcastle 2010.

*       Co-chair of Symposium of Mechanical properties of thin films (MPF), ThinFilms2014.

*    Co-chair topical session in 42nd Intl. Conf. Metallurgical Coatings and Thin Films (ICMCTF), 20–24 April 2015, San Diego, United States.

*   Co-chair topical session in 43rd Intl. Conf. Metallurgical Coatings and Thin Films (ICMCTF), 25–29 April 2016, San Diego, United States.

Conference organization committee

·          Conference organizing committee for Nanoindentation Conference at Newcastle 2008.

*         Conference organizing committee for the 7th International Conference on Technological Advances of Thin Films & Surface Coatings, China 2014 .

*   Conference co-organizer for THINFILMS2016 (8th International Conference on Technological Advances of Thin Films & Surface Coatings) ,12th-15th July 2016, SINGAPORE

*      42nd, 43rd, 44th Intl. Conf. Metallurgical Coatings and Thin Films (ICMCTF), USA, 2015, 2016, 2017

*    Scientific Committee of 7th International Conference of Theoretical and Applied Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (TANN 2023) in Canada, 2023. 

Reviewer for international and national funding bodies

·        Czech Republic Science Foundation* (2009-present), National Research Foundation (NRF) Singapore (2016-present), ANR ( French National Research Agency), (2016-present) , Israel Science Foundation (2020-present) , Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation (RPF) , 2018; Swiss National Science Foundation (2022-present)

*        EPSRC* (2013-present), BBSRC (2014-present)*, MRC (2015-present)*, Cancer Research UK (2017-present),  Dunhill Medical Trust (2017-present). : * frequently

 External Ph.D examiner for the following University

Macquarie University, Australia (March 2022)

University of Liverpool (Jan 2022)

Anna University, India (2021)

University of Bristol (2019)

University of London Queen Mary (2019)

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (2012, 2018, 2020)

University of Groningen, Netherlands (2016)

External Examiner of MPhil for University of Manchester (2017)

 Reviewer for the chapters in the technical book proposals for

 Wiley (2012-present)

 Reviewer for Journals

 Manuscript reviewer for Science (IF=63), Advanced Materials (IF=32)Advanced Functional Materials (IF=19.9), Nano Today (IF=20.7) ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (IF=10.38), Acta Biomaterialia (IF=10.63), Medicinal Research Reviews (IF=12.39), International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, Nanotechnology, Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, Biomedical Materials, Biomechanics and Modeling in MechanobiologyJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials*, Journal of Materials Research*, J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys.*, Biomacromolecules, Water Research, Applied Microbiology, Molecular Pharmaceutics, Experimental Mechanics*, Acta Mechanica Sinica, Crystal Growth & Design, Materials & Design, Journal of Materials Science, Materials Science and Engineering C*, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, International Journal of Non-Linear Mechanics; Applied Physics A, Thin Solid Films*, Surface Coating & Technology*, Materials Research Express , Journal of Alloys and Compounds, Semiconductor Science and Technology, Tribology International, Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Letters, Wear, npj Biofilms and Microbiomes, Royal Society Interface, Journal of Materials Science and Technology, PLOS one, IScience, Scientific Reports, Royal Society Interface Focus, Colloids and Surfaces A.

*: frequently

Invited presentations and seminars

Biomaterials, biophysics , biomechanics or cell mechanics

Invited talk: Isaac Newton Institute, Cambridge, Oct 2023

·keynote talk: Nanotechnology and Materials Science -2023, September 13 - 15, 2023 , Rome, Italy

Invited talk: Isaac Newton Institute, Cambridge, July 2023

keynote talk: 6th International Conference of Theoretical and Applied Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (TANN’22), Canada.  

Keynote talk: AFM & SPM Meeting 2022, UK

Keynote talk: International Conference IEEE 3M-NANO 2022, China

Invited talk: International Conference on Frontier Materials 2021” (ICFM) , China. postponed to 2022 due to COVID

Sept. 2019: ETH Zurich 

June 2019: Invited speaker in Symposium M: Biomechanics in Human Diseases – Research and Applications and Symposium FF: Computational Advanced Material Science and Application at 10th International Conference on Materials for Advanced Technologies (ICMAT 2019), Singapore

Jan. 2019: University of Leeds; Southeast University; Shanghai Jiaotong University, East China University of Science and Technology.

Dec. 2018: Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing Tech University, Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen University, Beijing institute of chemical technology, Hainan University.

Sept. 2018: University of Tennessee, USA

Dec.2017: Xi'an Jiao Tong University, China

Dec.2017: South China Normal University, China

Dec.2017: Jinan University, China

Dec.2017: South China University of Technology, China

18 - 23 June 2017: 9th International Conference on Materials for Advanced Technologies (ICMAT 2017), Suntec, Singapore

April 2017: Montana State University, USA. 

Jan 2017:  Chongqing University , China

Dec 2016: Invited guest lectures on Finite element modelling for University of Chinese Academic Of Science 

Dec 2016: Perking University (Beida), China

Dec 2016: Beihang University , China

Dec 2016: Tsinghua University, China

Nov 2016: National Physical Lab, UK

July 2016: National University of Singapore

July 2016: University of Malaya, Malaysia

July 2016: Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

March 2016: Symposium of Biointerfaces, Advanced Materials Conference, Newcastle, UK

Jan 2016: Chinese Academic of Science, Beijing,China

Jan 2016: Hohai University , China

Dec 2015: Xi'an Jiao Tong University, China

Dec 2015: Chinese Academic of Science, Qingdao,China

Dec 2015: Tongji University, China

 March 2015: Keynote speaker @ 5th Annual International Conference on Advances in Biotechnology (BioTech 2015)  , India, http://www.advbiotech.org/

•Oct 2015: University of Manchester,UK

•Dec 2014: Sun Yat-Sen University , China

•Dec 2014: Zhejiang University , China

•Dec 2014: South China University of Technology, China

•Dec 2014: Soochow University, China

•May 2014: Glasgow University, UK

•Apr 2014: Columbia University, USA

•Apr 2014: Montana State University, USA

•Nov 2013: Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

•Dec. 2012: Chinese Academy of Science, Institute of Mechanics, China.

•Dec. 2012: Beihang University, China.

•Dec. 2012: Beijing Institute of Technology, China

•Apr. 2012: University of Kentucky, USA

•Apr. 2012: University of California, San Diego, USA

•Dec. 2011: Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

•Dec. 2010: Peking University, Beijing, China. 

•Dec. 2010: Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, China. 

•Sept. 2010: University of Cambridge, UK 

•Aug. 2010: Symposium of Chondrocyte Mechanics in 6th World Congress on Biomechanics, Singapore. 

•Aug.2010: Nanyang Technological University, Singapore .

Nanomechanics, Fracture Mechanics and Interface Adhesion 

 Dec 2016: Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry, Chinese Academic of Science, 


•Dec 2014: Guangdong University of Technology , China

•Jul 2014: 7th International Conference on Technological Advances of Thin Films & Surface Coatings, China

May 2014: Glasgow University, UK

•Apr. 2014: 41st International Conference on Metallurgical Coatings and Thin Films (ICMCTF), San Diego, USA.

•Mar.2013: National Physical Laboratory, Institute of Physics (IOP) Tribology Group Conference.

•June 2011: Materials Today Virtual Conference: Characterization Techniques and Analysis.

•Dec. 2010: The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.

•Dec. 2010: Peking University, Beijing, China.

•Dec. 2010: Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, China.

•Aug. 2008: Loughborough University, UK. 

•May 2008: Institute of Physics One–Day Seminar on Nanoindentation and Nanotribology, National Physical Laboratory,UK

•May 2008: Nanomechanical Labortary, Hysitron Inc., Minneapolis, USA.

•May 2008: University of South Carolina, USA.

Academic Visitor

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Loughborough University, UK.

Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung, Dusseldorf, Germany.

 Conference presentations

I have made a number of presentations in international conferences such as MRS Fall meeting, MS&T conference, International Conference on Metallurgical Coatings and Thin Films (ICMCTF), Congress of the European Society of Biomechanics,Tissue and Cell Engineering Society (TCES), International Conference on Cell & Stem Cell Engineering (ICCE). 

Recent awards (after 2007)

·        European Society of Biomechanics (ESB) Travel Award 2010

·        International Travel Grant (The Royal Society) 2010

·        The following article has been selected as one of the highlights in the year of 2007 in J. Phys. D: J. Chen and S J Bull, Indentation fracture and toughness assessment for thin optical coatings on glass, J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 40 (2007) 5401-5417

Industry consultancy experience

 Stress analysis, Hardness and wear analysis of Coatings, Fracture and delamination analysis.

 Professional membership

Materials Research Society; Europe Society of Biomechanics; Tissue and Cell Engineering Society;

Institute of Physics

Group culture and working style:

Group members have flexible working hours, but you are expected to put sufficient time and effort which is important for your project and your professional development.

Group members are always welcome to contact supervisor for discussion/suggestion/feedback.

Respect each other and create a collaborative and positive group culture.

Support each other to enhance your knowledge, experience, and success.

Usually weekly group meetings (unless notified) to discuss about your research progress and plan. Some of the meeting may be used as journal club to discuss exciting papers which may inspire you and the group.

Maintain work-life balance.


Funded projects: research income (£9.15M in total with £2.44M as PI/overall PI)

  1. 2012-2013: Computational modelling of thermal stress project funded by Metalysis Ltd (Co-I, ~£5k)
  2. 2013: Using nanomechanical testing and modelling to understand the biophysics of cell-hydrogel Interactions, funded by EPSRC, Principal Investigator (PI, £8k)
  3. 2013-2019: A New Frontier in Design: The Simulation of Open Engineered Biological Systems, one of the only five prestigious Frontier Awards (c.a. £5.58 millions) funded by EPSRC (EP/K039083/1), strategic Co-investigator and team leader for the theme of Biomechanics and Flow within the project. Within this Frontier Award grant, I am the line manager and supervisor of 3 PDRAs.
  4. 2014-2018: Multiscale modelling and characterisation of biofilms (DTA award, PI, £80k)
  5. 2014-2017: Biomechanics of bacteria (school DTA award, PI, £27k)
  6. 2014-2015: Designing a new cannula and injection system for subretinal injections, MRC Confidence in Concept (CiC) Fund, Co-I, £30k.
  7. 2015-2019: Biophysics of biofilms in wastewater treatment (DPT award, PI. c.a. £60k)                              
  8. 2016-2020:Computational modelling to study cell-materials interactions for tissue engineering,  Newcastle-Singapore Studentship, PI, £80k), in collaboration with Nanyang Technological University.
  9. 2016: Newton Fund and British council travel award to attend Vietnam-UK Young Scientist Networking Conference on Biomedical Engineering. (PI, c.a. £1.5k)
  10. 2017-2020: Bacteria-materials interactions, Research Excellence Academy studentship, PI, £56k,) 
  11. 2017-2018: EPSRC GCRF: Develop chemical-free anti-biofilm surface, (PI, £20k)
  12. 2017-2021: EPSRC Industrial CASE Award (PI, £83k)
  13. 2018-2020: Multiscale characterization of complex materials using a combination of atomic force microscopy and optical coherence tomography funded by EPSRC (EP/R025606/1), PI, £487k).
  14. 2018-2019: Awarded facilities usage at Oak Ridge National Laboratories (USA) with collaborators at their Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences. (PI)
  15. 2018-2022: Experimental Cell Mechanics to Understand Disease progression, EPSRC DTP studentship (PI, £80k), EP/R51309X/1
  16. 2019-2023: Design and Fabricate Novel Antimicrobial Surfaces, EPSRC DTP studentship (PI, £65k), EP/N509528/1
  17. 2019-2023: Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC) studentship plus Newcastle University (PI, £100k)
  18. 2019: Characterising the microstructure and mechanical properties of cells, EPSRC SoftMech feasibility grant (PI, £6k)
  19. 2019-2020: Automated mechanical characterisation of biofilm mechanics, funded by BBSRC National Biofilms Innovation Centre (PI, BB/R012415/1|002POC19126, £50k).
  20. 2020-2022: Innovative design and fabrication of multiscale structured antimicrobial surfaces, The Royal Society-Newton Mobility Grant (PI, IEC\NSFC\191070, £12k).
  21. 2020-2021: Develop a computational tool for biofilm management, funded by BBSRC National Biofilms Innovation Centre (PI, BB/R012415/1|003POC20015, £50k).
  22. 2021-2022: Development of novel biomimetic surfaces to prevent biofilm formation on catheters , funded by BBSRC National Biofilms Innovation Centre (PI, BB/R012415/1|04POC21-309, £50k).
  23.  2022-2025: Biofilm Resistant Liquid-like Solid Surfaces in Flow Situations, funded by EPSRC (overall PI, £935.3k in total, with £457.5k to Newcastle);
  24. 2022-2026: EPSRC CASE award (£86k). (PI)
  25. 2022-2024: Biomedical Engineering facilities, The Wolfson Foundation, £1.1M, Co-I.
  26. 2023-2027: EPSRC iCASE award (£104.9k). PI. 


EPSRC or BBSRC funded post-doctoral research associates: 

Dr. Yasmine Ammar (Mar 2014-May 2015, PhD from Newcastle), now got a permanent job as data analyst and modeller in public section. 

Dr. Jaya PAHALA GEDARA (Oct 2014- Feb 2019, PhD from NUS (Singapore), post-doc at NUS), Now at University of Oxford as a PDRA in Computational biology

Dr. Saikat Jana (Aug 2015-Aug 2019, PhD from Virgin Tech, post-doc at MIT and Univ. of Glasgow), Now lecturer at Ulster University.

Dr. P. Duan (2018- 2018, PhD from Newcastle), Now work as a research scientist in Beijing, China 

Dr. Nehir Kandemir (2019- 2019,PhD from Newcastle), Now work in ANSYS, Cambridge. 

Dr. Ben Allen (2020-2020), BBSRC funded senior PDRA: PhD from Newcastle.

Dr. Yuqing Xia (2021-2022), BBSRC funded PDRA, PhD from Newcastle. Now PDRA at Surrey.

Dr Huidong Wei (2022-2023), EPSRC funded PDRA, PhD from Queen's University Belfast. Now lecturer at university of Huddersfield.

Dr Rui Han (2023-present), EPSRC funded PDRA, PhD from Newcastle University

Jack Dawson (2023-present), EPSRC funded PDRA

Current PhD students supervised as the lead supervisor:

Mr. Sam Coaster ( joined in Sept 2022)

Mr. Zeshen Wang (joined in Jan 2022)

PGR students completed within my research group: 13 PhDs and 2 MPhils


1) Dr. Pengfei Duan (started in Jan 2014 , submitted draft thesis in Sept. 2017, successfully defended thesis in Nov 2017,  PhD awarded in March 2018). Now he works as research scientist in a Chinese Research Institute.

2) Dr. Nehir Kandemir (joined in Sept.2014, draft thesis submitted in May 2018, successfully defended her PhD thesis in July 2018), PhD awarded in Nov 2018.  PDRA in my group in 2019. Now secured a permanent job in ANSYS, UK.

3) Dr. Subash Chinnaraj (joined in Nov. 2014, draft thesis submitted in Nov, successfully defended PhD thesis in Dec 2018, Awarded in Feb. 2019). secured an industrial job in the UK (now at Nikon Ltd).

4) Dr. Sam Charlton (joined in Sept.2015), successfully defended his PhD thesis on 7 Oct 2019. He just started  PDRA job at ETH, Zurich, Switzerland.

5) Dr. James Hood successfully defended his PhD thesis on 26 Nov. 2019.  He started a project engineer in a company in the UK from Oct 2019. PhD awarded in Feb. 2020.   secured an industrial job in the UK.

6) Dr. Yunyi Cao successfully defended his PhD thesis on 5 March 2020. PhD awarded in April 2020. He has secured an industrial R&D post in China. 

7) Dr. Wenjian Yang successfully defended his PhD thesis on 17 Dec 2020. He secured a tenure tracked Assistant professor position in a leading university in China (declined), now working at Zhejiang lab, China. 

8) Dr. Yuqing Xia successfully defended her PhD thesis on 6 April 2021. She has worked as PDRA in my group. Now now working at University of Surrey.

9) Dr. Ma Luo successfully defended his PhD thesis in Sept. 2022. now working at Zhejiang lab, China.

10) Dr Yufeng Zhu successfully defended his PhD thesis in April 2023.

11) Dr John Exton successfully defended his PhD thesis in June 2023.

12) Dr Rui Han successfully defended his PhD thesis in July 2023. Now now working as PDRA in my group.

13) Dr Jack Dawson successfully defended his PhD thesis in Nov 2023. Now working as PDRA in my group.

I have also co-supervised a PhD student to complete on time.


1)Mr. Yunyi Cao: completed MPhil in 2017. 

2) Mr Sam Coaster: completed MPhil in 2022. 

Visiting academic fellows :  Associate Prof. Y Wang (now full professor); Associate Prof. T Yin ( Jan 2017- July 2017) from China, Associate Professor Tianyu Zhang (Nov-Dec 2017, now full Professor) from USA., Assistant Professor S. Elatriby (July 2015-Jan 2016) from Egypt.

Previous group members : Dr. S. Elatriby (July 2015-Jan 2016); Dr Yasmine Ammar (2014-2015, funded by EPSRC), Dr. P. Duan (Feb-March 2018, funded by EPSRC), Dr.  Wenbo Wang (Jan 2015-July 2015)

Summer internship student Mieszko Jaskiewicz in my group, who works on microfluidics, was the overall Faculty prize winner (£300) at the recent ‘Celebrating Student Research Scholarships and Expeditions’ annual poster and presentations evening 2016.

Mr Yunyi Cao and Sam Charlton were the Tyne & Wear Materials Society (TWMS) (associated with IOM3) young person lecture competition 2017 winner (£100) and runner-up (£50). 

Mr Yunyi Cao and Sam Charlton were the runner-up in PGR conference in 2017. 

Ms Nehir Kandemir was the winner for TCES scholarship, awarded in April 2017.

Prof. Yin and Prof. Wang just had a joint paper with us accepted in Biomaterials Science in April 2017. Well done !

Dr. Chen, Ms Kandemir, Mr Charlton, Mr Cao all gave oral presentations at 44th ICMCTF at San Diego in April 2017. 

Prof. Wang and Prof. Yin just had a joint paper with us accepted in "International Journal of Nanomedicine", 7 June 2017. Well done !

Dr Chen, Ms. Kandemir presented papers at MRS fall meeting at Boston 2017 .

Congratulations to Pengfei Duan who successfully defended his thesis in Nov 2017 ! Now he becomes Dr. Duan. 

Mr. Y. Cao, Mr. Chinnaraj  and other members within the group just had a joint paper accepted in Scientific reports in Dec 2017. Well done !

Mr Ma LUO and Mr Yunyi Cao were the Tyne & Wear Materials Society (TWMS) (associated with IOM3) young person lecture competition 2018 winner (£100) and runner-up (£50), respectively. 

Dr. Duan has just published a paper in Materials Science & Engineering C in march 2018. Well done !

Ms Nehir Kandemir, Ms yuqing Xia, and Dr. Duan published a joint paper in MRS Advances in 2018. well done!

Mr. Yunyi Cao and Mr. Sam Charlton have won first prizes in their sessions in PGR conference in march 2018. Well done.

Dr. Duan and Miss Xia just had a joint paper accepted in Journal of Materials Research in June 2018. Well done !

Miss Xia and Dr. Duan and just had a joint paper accepted in Processes in June 2018. Well done !

Miss Nehir Kandemir just had a paper (which covers most of her PhD work) accepted in Scientific Reports (nature publishing group) in July 2018. Well  done !

Miss Nehir Kandemir successfully defended her PhD viva on 19 July 2018. Well done !

Mr Subash Chinnaraj successfully defended his PhD viva on 20 Dec 2018 (just before Christmas holiday). Well done !

Mr Jack Dawson has been awarded IMECHE best project award in 2019. Well done !

Miss Odette Mejia has been awarded best overall student in biomedical engineering and best project in biomedical engineering in 2023. Well done !

Mr. Sam Charlton (joined in Sept.2015), successfully defended his PhD thesis on 7 Oct 2019. Well done ! He just started  PDRA job at ETH, Zurich, Switzerland.

Mr. John Exton was he Tyne & Wear Materials Society (TWMS) (associated with IOM3) young person lecture competition 2019 runner-up. 

Mr Jack Dawson and Miss yuqing Xia were the Tyne & Wear Materials Society (TWMS) (associated with IOM3) young person lecture competition 2020 winner (£100) and runner-up (£50). 

Mr John Exton and Mr. Ma Luo were the Tyne & Wear Materials Society (TWMS) (associated with IOM3) young person lecture competition 2021 winner (£100) and runner-up (£50). 

Mr John Exton was the runner up for Northeast YPLC Regional Final (associated with IOM3) 2021. 

Mr. Rui Han just had a paper accepted in JMR on 5 April 2021. 

A new tool for quantifying cell mechanics and cell-to-surface adhesion, Ma Luo, Jonathan M.G. Higgins, Wenjian Yang, Jinju Chen, Conference proceeding paper in 17th International Symposium on Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering(CMBBE), June 2021. 

Temporal change of brain mechanics after slicing, John Exton , Jonathan M.G. Higgins,Jinju Chen, Conference proceeding paper in 17th International Symposium on Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering(CMBBE), June 2021. 

Computational modelling to predict how fibroblast senses extracellular matrix stiffness and cell crosstalk in different mechanical environment, Wenjian Yang, Jinju Chen, Conference proceeding paper in17th International Symposium on Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering(CMBBE), June 2021. 

My Expertise

Biomechanics, Fracture mechanics, Adhesion evaluation, Nano/Micromechanics, Surface analysis, Finite element simulation, 3D modelling for biomedical images.

Applied Mathematical Modelling ( I was selected to participate International Mathematical Contest in Modelling when I was an undergraduate. I still have strong interest in mathematical modelling. If you share the same interest, please feel free to contact me. )

Research area

Nanomechanics :  Nanoindentation; Nanotribology

Rheology and microfludics: rheology of soft materials and solutions, Microfluidic device and characterisation and its applications

Bacterial Adhesion and Biofilm Mechanics

Multiscale biomechanics in both experimental and modelling techniques,

The physics of biofilm formation

Develop methods to inhibit biofilm formation or destroy biofilms

Droplet dynamics

Finite Element Analysis:  Biomechanics; Modelling deformation in advanced materials; Modelling Interfacial crack initiation and evolution

Mechanics of Biomaterials: Tissue engineered bone; Cell-matrix interaction; Cell mechanics; Hydrogel scaffold, Soft tissues mechanics

Thin Film Mechanics: Energy related coatings (Anode Coatings & Solar Control Coatings);  Polymeric coatings; Hard coatings; MEMS

Other major research projects I've worked on

*A multiscale Modelling Approach to Engineering Functional Coatings (EPSRC Materials Modelling Consortium *Multiscale Mechanobiology for Tissue Engineering (EPSRC Platform Grant)



Postgraduate research students (Ph.D, MPhil and MRes), visiting research students, summer internship or visiting scientists (or fellows) are welcome to join my group. In the past two years, I have hosted excellent summer students (sponsored by various councils) from Brazil , Germany, Jordan, France and China.

Other projects include: 

Biomechanics and Mechanotransduction (priority area in my group)

1. Nanofabrication and bio-inspired materials

2. Multiscale modelling of soft tissue mechanics 

3. Multiscale modelling of biofilms

4. Cell-materials interactions

5. Mechanics of Advanced Biomaterials

6. Cell Mechanics and biophysics

Previous work in Thin Film Mechanics

1. Multiscale modelling of mechanics of functional coatings

2. Predict mechanical durability and performance of battery materials

3. Cracking and delamination of coatings




Teaching & supervising

Semester 1

Mechanical Engineering professional Skills

Materials Science (practical)

Mechanics II

Computational modelling


Tutor of Stage 1 students 


 Semester 2

Design for industry

Applied Mechanics (Module leader)

Mechanical Engineering professional Skills

Engineering Mathematics with Applications


Tutor of Stage 1 students  

Individual supervision for BEng and MSc students

Sem1 -Sem 2: Supervision of Team project for Design for Industry and MEng project 

MSc, and BEng  students in Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering, as well as excellent internship students fully sponsored by different organizations. 

I also host government (or research council, home University) sponsored visiting research fellows and research students with strong track of record.