Dr Alexander Graham

Biography & Research interests

Dr Alexander Graham, an Investigator Scientist at MRC Harwell Institute, is a biofabrication specialist with 8 years of experience in bioprinting and 3D tissue models. During his doctoral studies at the University of Oxford (Hagan Bayley group), he co-invented a high-resolution drop-on-demand 3D bioprinter of cellular components and living mammalian cells. This work set the scientific foundation for synthetic tissue company OxSyBio Ltd (UK, 2014-2019), where Alex led biofabrication developments. This included a successful collaboration with MRC Harwell Institute on the development of a high throughput 3D model of white adipose tissue for use in mechanistic studies of metabolic diseases.

Current Projects

There is a rise of common metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes (T2D) due to increasing obesity rates; people living with diabetes is set to grow from 415 million to 642 million by 2040 (IDF DIABETES ATLAS Seventh Edition 2015). As such, there is now a critical need for 3D models of white adipose tissue for mechanistic studies of these adipose-associated metabolic diseases and for screening of possible new therapeutic interventions. To address this challenge, in collaboration with synthetic tissue company OxSyBio Ltd (2016-2019), we have developed a robust, high throughput and 3D model of white adipose tissue which has been shown to be responsive to anti-diabetic drugs. This project has now been brought in house to the MRC Harwell Institute and is now utilising a combination of robotic systems optimised for biofabrication and 3D culture, including a BioDispenser custom developed by OxSyBio Ltd for spheroid biofabrication. Leading on from this project, I am collaborating with Dr Rajesh Pandey and others to further validate this 3D adipose model, which includes an advanced microscopy project with the Central Laser Facility. In addition, this model is being used to screen small compound libraries for their effects on fat development. Going forward we aim to develop more anatomically accurate models of white adipose tissues by incorporating vasculature and humanising the model.

Selected Publications

G. Villar, A. D. Graham, H. Bayley, A tissue-like printed material. Science 340, 48-52 (2013).

M. J. Booth, V. R. Schild, A. D. Graham, S. N. Olof, H. Bayley, Light-activated communication insynthetic tissues. Sci Adv 2, e1600056 (2016).

A. D. Graham, S. N. Olof, M. J. Burke, J. P. K. Armstrong, E. A. Mikhailova, J. G. Nicholson, S. J. Box, F. G. Szele, A. W. Perriman, H. Bayley, High-resolution patterned cellular constructs by droplet-based 3D printing. Sci Rep 7, 7004 (2017).