The Future Investigators of Regenerative Medicine (FIRM) is an international society which brings together early career researchers, who are passionate about regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. Our keynotes and delegates have diverse, multidisciplinary backgrounds from molecular biology to mechanical engineering. The unique atmosphere at FIRM allows young scientists to expand their regenerative medicine network, facilitate collaborations and hone their career development skills. 

FIRM was established in 2013 by Alex Lomas, Haraklea Markides, Jim Rose and David Smith of the EPSRC Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) in Regenerative Medicine based between Loughborough, Keele and Nottingham University. Over the past 7 years, our community has grown to exceed 250 researchers from more than 60 world-class institutions based in over 20 different countries. FIRM has been a hugely successful project, and we hope you will join us on our journey to strengthen the links within regenerative medicine.

“FIRM is a friendly, interactive conference with a unique atmosphere. I couldn’t recommend it enough for PhD students in regenerative medicine.”

Current Committee


Katya Pchelintseva

Imperial College London


After completing BSc in Biology with a final year dissertation on information theory-based gene regulatory networks, Katya graduated with an MSc in Biomedical Engineering from Imperial College London in 2016. Her masters thesis was focussed on developing a novel point-of-care device for HIV detection through supramolecular host-guest interactions.


Current work

She currently is completing a PhD in Materials in Imperial College London. Katya's research interests lie within biomaterials, acoustofluidics and superresolution microscopy, particularly in the context of cardiac tissue engineering. By applying these techniques, Katya aims to develop and characterise novel platforms for cardiac tissue re drug screening, which address the limitations of existing gold standards. Katya is particularly fascinated by cell-material interactions and remote field effects on cardiomyocyte biology.  


Future interests

Katya is planning to pursue a career at the forefront of clinical translational research, developing solutions to global healthcare challenges.


Lydia Beeken

University of Nottingham


Lydia is a Biomedical Science graduate with an MRes in Translational Medicine, and is currently completing her PhD at the University of Nottingham.


Current work

She currently researches for her PhD in Academic Ophthalmology, where she investigates regenerative medicine strategies for ocular surface injuries. Her research involves exploring the therapeutic potential of corneal derived mesenchymal stem cells, and the development of a functionalised contact lens to behave as a scaffold for topical application of cells to the cornea.


Future interests

Lydia hopes to continue work within the field of cellular therapies, with an interest in clinical translation.


Catherine Beltran

University of Loughborough


Cathy is a Mechanical Engineering graduate with an MSc (Dist.) in Manufacturing Processes and Management. She is currently completing her PhD at Loughborough University.


Current work

She is currently conducting research in the Centre for Biological Engineering at
Loughborough University in collaboration with Advance Bioprocess and Hitachi Chemical.
Her research aims to reduce cost and increase quality in the manufacturing aspect of regenerative medicine by improving efficiency and controllability of its processes. To do so, she is exploring the use of mechanistic models that help to predict and then achieve desired outcomes.

Future interests

Cathy is interested in the industry side of regenerative medicine, particularly in process efficiency that allows the translation of scientific research to customer needs.


Niamh McCallum

University of Liverpool


Niamh graduated with a Master’s of Chemistry degree in 2017 and, after spending some time working for pharmaceutical company Elanco, is now completing her PhD at the University of Liverpool.


Current work

Niamh’s PhD is focused on developing bimodal contrast agents for stem cell tracking with the purpose of gathering better safety and efficacy data surrounding cell therapies. Niamh is highly passionate about materials discovery and how such materials can be applied in a biomedical setting. As well as this, she has gained a lot of interest in the ethics and safety of regenerative medicine therapies over the course of her PhD.


Future interests

Niamh is keen to continue working with Nano biomaterials for medical applications.


Domhnall Kelly

Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland


Domhnall is a Biochemistry graduate with an MSc in Regenerative Medicine and is completing his PhD in the field of Tissue Engineering at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI).


Current work

Domhnall is a PhD researcher within the Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG) at RCSI. His research focuses on the controlled delivery of scaffold-based therapeutics for the treatment of osteoarthritis and cartilage regeneration. He aims to develop a “gene-activated” platform capable of the controlled delivery of therapeutic siRNA using non-viral nanoparticle delivery vectors combined with a collagen-based scaffold which will function to reduce inflammatory responses during the regeneration of osteoarthritic cartilage.

Future interests

Domhnall hopes to continue researching the development of advanced drug delivery systems, with a particular interest on genetic therapies and their clinical translation. 

Previous Committees


  • Phoebe McCrorie - University of Nottingham

  • Daniel Green - University of Liverpool

  • Christopher Hill - University of Liverpool

  • Preeti Holland - Loughborough University

  • Juan Aviles Milan - Southampton University


  • Gianluca Cidonio - University of Southampton

  • Lia Blokpoel Ferreras - University of Nottingham

  • Zuzana Kočí - Charles University in Prague

  • Susanne Renz - University of Southampton

  • Stephen Ruck -  Loughborough University

  • Laura Ruiz-Harrison - University of Nottingham


  • Thomas Heathman - Loughborough University

  • Alex Lomas - Keele University

  • Hareklea Markides -  Keele University

  • David Smith - Loughborough University


  • Michael Glinka - University of Southampton

  • James Kusena -  Loughborough University

  • Rabea Loczenski - University of Nottingham

  • Gastón Agustín Primo - Queen Mary University of London


  • Richard Harrison - University of Nottingham

  • Helen Jesson -  Loughborough University 

  • Inés Moreno - University of Southampton



  • Alex Lomas - Keele University

  • Hareklea Markides -  Keele University

  • Jim Rose - University of Nottingham

  • David Smith - Loughborough University