2019 Rosalind Franklin Medal and Prize
Professor Ruth Cameron for her innovative application of physics to regenerative medicine and pharmaceutical delivery.
Ruth Cameron, an IOP fellow since 2010, has an outstanding record in the physics of regenerative medicine and pharmaceutical delivery.
Cameron's research on the physics of ice-templating in regenerative medicine applies physical principles to the use of ice to create heterogeneous, biochemically functionalised 3D environments for cells. With her team, she isolated core relationships between thermal conditions, ice formation and biomacromolecular scaffold structure enabling the imposition of anisotropy necessary in complex heterogeneous clinical targets. The development of a master curve from a wide range of imposed, multi-variate freezing processes permits the mapping of scaffold pore size to a single parameter. Rigorous percolation analysis of microtomographic data gave the first exposition of the relationships between structural interconnectivity and cell invasion, enabling selective cell colonisation.
Her team's work on the chemical ablation of integrin recognition sites on scaffold surfaces led to strategies balancing physical stability, mechanics and bioactivity with the generation of ‘blank slate’ interfaces. The reintroduction and enhancement of targeted surface functionality, coded via tethered triple-helical cell-recognition motifs enable further control of the regenerative pathway.
Interdisciplinary collaborations with academic and commercial partners apply Cameron's research to the development of therapies for cardiac, dermal and neural regeneration, breast cancer diagnostics and bioreactors for blood products, with positive eight-year clinical trial results in cartilage repair. In 2018, she and her team filed a patent application for novel complex regenerative membranes from pulsed electrophoretic deposition.
Cameron has made pioneering studies of carbohydrates, medical polyurethanes and the physical mechanisms of degradation, deformation and drug release from bioresorbable polymers. She decoupled the linked effects of reaction and diffusion in degrading polymers, providing a staged picture of degradation, conceptually similar to case II diffusion, allowing the prediction of release profiles of embedded drugs. The approaches have been translated to bioactive composite structures.
Innovations in physical pharmaceutics include the first experimental technique mapping strain magnitude and direction together with local density within tablet cross-sections. Correlation with synchrotron studies established design principles for pharmaceutical compaction. The demonstration of metastable polymorph stabilisation through contact-line crystallisation extended the theory of Marangoni flows, with significant implications for high-throughput screening of polymorphs and pharmaceutical inkjet technologies.