Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy

Serena Best

Serena Best portrait

Professor of Materials Science

BSc University of Surrey
PhD University of London

+44 (0)1223 334307

Bioactive Ceramics, Coatings and Composites

Together with Ruth Cameron I direct the Cambridge Centre for Medical Materials. My research aims to expand the range and performance of bioactive scaffolds in clinical applications.

Skeletal implants: Optimization of substituted hydroxyapatite bone grafts

A range of synthetic substituted hydroxyapatite (HA) materials has been developed with physiologically relevant ionic lattice substitutions. The materials are designed for skeletal defect filling and as scaffolds for tissue engineering. The performance of these materials is evaluated alongside phase-pure HA and bioactive glasses and glass ceramics through in-vitro cell culture and in-vivo implantation models.

Surface modification using bioceramics

The repair of bone defects can be enhanced by the control of either the surface chemistry or topography. This research area encompasses a number of projects to deposit bioactive ceramics on a range of substrates. Deposition techniques include RF-sputtering, electrostatic atomization and vacuum plasma spraying to produce a range of surface topographies.

Bioactive and bioresorbable composites for tissue engineering

We aim to develop composites with properties tailored to their specific application. The organic matrices comprise a range of biodegradable polymers. The fillers include bioactive ceramics, glasses and glass ceramics. Filler particles with a variety of morphologies and dimensions are being investigated along with the refinement of techniques to produce porous structures over a range of different densities and with controlled pore shape and size.

Collagen Scaffolds

The design of porous architectures with controlled mechanical properties and surface chemistries is essential to optimise the repair and reconstruction soft tissues. Applications for collagen-GAG based scaffolds include dental materials, heart tissue repair and the production of platelets. We are seeking to gain fundamental understanding of the effects of production parameters and the effects of biochemical surface modification on the biological mechanisms of action, to produce tailor-made three dimensional porous structures.


Confocal image of osteoblast cells attaching on silicon-substituted hydroxyapatite nanocrystals
Confocal image of osteoblast cells attaching on silicon-substituted hydroxyapatite nanocrystals
  • N. Davidenko, T. Gibb, C. Schuster, S.M. Best, J.J. Campbell, C.J. Watson, R.E. Cameron, "Biomimetic Collagen Scaffolds with Anisotropic Pore Architecture", Acta Biomaterialia, 8, 667-676 (2012).
  • E.S. Thian, Z. Ahmad, J. Huang, M.J. Edirisinghe, S.N. Jayasinghe, D.C. Ireland, R.A. Brooks, N. Rushton, W. Bonfield, S.M. Best, "The role of surface wettability and surface charge of electrosprayed nanoapatites on the behaviour of osteoblasts", Acta Biomateriala, 6(3), 750-755 (2010).
  • K. M. Pawelec, A. Husmann, S. M. Best, R. E. Cameron, "A design protocol for tailoring ice-templated scaffold structure", Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 11 92 article number 20130958 (2014).
  • Z. Yang, S. M. Best, R. E. Cameron, "The Influence of a-Tricalcium Phosphate Nanoparticles and Microparticles on the Degradation of Poly(D,L-lactide-co-glycolide)", Advanced Materials, 21 (38-39), 3900-3904 (2009).
  • C.N. Grover, S.M. Best, R.E. Cameron, "Investigating the morphological, mechanical and degradation properties of scaffolds comprising collagen, gelatin and elastin for use in soft tissue engineering", Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, (10), 62-74 (2012).