Professor Iain Gibson

Professor Iain Gibson
BSc (Hons), PhD

Personal Chair

Professor Iain Gibson
Professor Iain Gibson

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 437476
work +44 (0)1224 437978
work +44 (0)1224 272912
The University of Aberdeen Room 3.18, Institute of Medical Sciences, School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition,  Foresterhill, Aberdeen, AB25 2ZD United Kingdom

Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Medicine (AMM) Programme at the IMS

Biomaterials Research at the Department of Chemistry

Cell, Developmental and Cancer Biology Programme at the IMS

EU FP7 project - SETNanoMetro


Iain Gibson graduated with a first class honours degree in Chemistry from the University of Aberdeen in 1991, then completed a PhD in Materials Chemistry, also at Aberdeen, between 1992 and 1995. He moved to Queen Mary, University of London in 1996 to a post-doctoral position at the Interdisciplinary Research Centre (IRC) in Biomedical Materials with Prof. Bill Bonfield. During this time he developed a number of new calcium phosphate materials for use as bone-replacement implants. He was involved in the formation of a university spin-off biomaterial company, ApaTech Ltd, which was eventually acquired by Baxter International in 2010. In 2002, he returned to Aberdeen, to the Department of Biomedical Sciences, to work on a SHEFC-funded project related to biomaterials with Prof. Colin McCaig. In August 2004 he was awarded a prestigious 5 year EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship which was completed at the end of 2009. He was promoted to Reader in 2009 and to a Personal Chair in 2011. He is a co-founder of SIRAKOSS Ltd., a spin out company from the University of Aberdeen in 2011 that is developing innovative bone graft materials. In November 2014 SIRAKOSS raised £3.1M in Series A financing.   


Research Interests

My research is based on guiding cell behaviour during tissue repair and wound healing, using physical and/or chemical guidance cues. The main thread of this research is the development of biomedical materials with controlled chemistry and/or topography that can guide cells to produce an appropriate response.

Current research in this area, in collaboration with colleagues from the Department of Chemistry, is aimed at identifying new compositions of implant materials that can guide cell behaviour and also at trying to understand how the chemistry of an implant can guide cell behaviour during bone healing/repair. 

Guiding cell behaviour using biomaterials

My research has been supported by the EPSRC, BBSRC, Technology Strategy Board (now Innovate UK), European Commission (FP6 and FP7), The Royal Society, Scottish Enterprise, The British Council, and the University of Aberdeen. Additionally, a number of PhD students in my lab have been supported by funding from the Royal Thai Government, ApaTech Ltd., the University of Aberdeen, and recently a Royal Commission of 1851 Industrial Fellowship.

Current Research

  • Cell-material interactions for bone repair applications
  • Biomimetic calcium phosphates
  • Developing synthetic materials that can guide cell behaviour

Research Grants

EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship and Associated Research Grant (approx. £332,000) - 2005-2009

Co-applicant (with Profs R.M. Aspden, C.T. Imrie and S. Ralston and Drs J.M.S. Skakle and R.P.K. Wells) of BBSRC research grant, (approx. £397,000) - 2005-2009

Co-applicant (with Prof C.D. McCaig) of Sixth EU Framework Programme (FP6) Grant (NANOBIOCOM), with a total value of €2 million (approx. £210,000) - 2005-2008

Co-applicant (with Dr I.A. Kinloch, University of Cambridge) of EPSRC PhD Studentship (approx. £50,000) - 2005-2008

PI - EPSRC CASE PhD studentship, with ApaTech Ltd (£77,000) – 2005-2008

PI (with Dr J. Skakle and Prof. R.M. Aspden) Knowledge Transfer Grant (KTG), University of Aberdeen (£20,364) – 2007

Co-applicant (with Prof. R.M. Aspden, Prof. C.D. McCaig, Dr. J. Skakle, Dr. M.H. Helfrich and Prof. M. Zhao), Royal Society, Wolfson Laboratory Refurbishment Grant (£193,971) – 2007-2008

PI (with Dr J. Skakle and Prof. R.M. Aspden) Scottish Enterprise Proof of Concept 8 (approx. £210,000) - 2007-2009

PI - British Council PMI 2 Connect Research Co-operation Award, (approx. £36,000) -  2008-2010

PI (with Dr J. Skakle and Prof. R.M. Aspden) Scottish Enterprise Proof of Concept 8 extension (approx. £165,000) - 2009-2010 

PI (with Prof. C. de Bari and Prof. C.D. McCaig) Technology Strategy Board - REGENBONE (approx. £560,000) - 2009-2012

PI - Seventh EU Framework Programme (FP7) Grant (SETNanoMetro), with a total value of €4.5 million (approx. £250,000) - 2013-2017


Teaching Responsibilities

BM4004/BM4010 - Stem Cells and Regeneration [Biomaterials and Regeneration] 

SM2001 - Foundation Skills for Medical Sciences

BT3502 - Bio-Business [Setting up a Biotechnology Company]

SX3002 - Sixth Century Course – Science and Society [Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)]

CM4518 - Advanced Chemistry [Biomaterials]

CM3037 - Inorganic and Solid State Chemistry [Crystal Structures]

CM2012 - Introduction to Materials [Medical Materials]

Further Info

Admin Responsibilities

Co-Programme Lead - Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Medicine (AMM) Programme (2015-present)

Academic Line Manager (2016-present)

Athena Swan Committee - IMS (2016-present)

Postgraduate Research Coordinator, School of Medical Sciences. CLSM Graduate School (2011-present)

Go Abroad Tutor - Medical Sciences, International Exchange Programme (2007-present)

College Representative, CLSM - North America Regional Sub Group, Internationalisation Strategy Committee (2014-present)

Potential PhD Projects

1. Directing differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells using scaffold chemistry as a guidance cue.

[contact me directly at the above e-mail address or contact our Graduate School]

2. Development of bioreactors for tissue engineering skeletal tissue constructs

[contact me directly at the above e-mail address or contact our Graduate School]