Welcome to the website of the AmbuLung project


This project is performed by an interdiscipliary, multinational team of experts.

Imperial College is a world-leading university in science, engineering & medicine. Imperial is responsible for the performance of WP3 within the AmbuLung project and is tasked with developing the bioprocessing platform, the SOPs for the expansion of hESC and differentiation towards the endothelial cell and alveolar cell lineages. The work will be performed at the Biological Systems Engineering Laboratory (BSEL) at Imperial (www.imperial.ac.uk/bsel), which has state-of-the-art 2,000 ft2 experimental research facilities for bioprocess engineering. Specifically, BSEL is equipped with a GLP HEPA-filtered tissue culture room, an EPICS ALTRA flow cytometer/sorter, image-analysis fluorescent microscopes, a molecular biology laboratory (including real time PCR), and material fabrication/characterisation equipment. Furthermore, BSEL has a NovaBio Bioprofiler which allows for the online or offline characterisation of culture media (glucose, glutamine, ammonia, lactate, pH, pO2, PCO2, and ions) as well as having access to proteomics, multi-photon microscopy, SEM and TEM facilities. The Imperial group has expertise in embryonic stem cell bioprocessing and lung tissue engineering.

The Imperial team

Prof. Dame Julia Polak (Emeritus Professor) has a deep expertise in histopathology, pulmonary deseases and stem cell differentiation. Specifically Prof. Polak demonstrated for first time that embryonic stem cells can differentiate into peripheral lung cells and discovered that prolonged culture conditions and the use of a specific growth medium are key factors for lung cell differentiation. She has studied extensively the signals required for the efficient differentiation of embryonic stem cells towards endoderm as well as the interaction of cells and biomaterials and how this interaction influences cellular behaviour and differentiation. Due to her extraordinary experience and reputation Julia plays an important advisory role both for the Imperial team as for the entire AmbuLung project.


Athanasios (Sakis) Mantalaris (Professor in Biosystems Engineering) has sound expertise in bioprocess engineering with a focus on the development of novel three-dimensional (3D) bioreactors, bioprocess optimization and embryonic stem cell culture. He also has expertise on scaffold fabrication and surface modification. Sakis leads the team at Imperial and is also the Scientific Director of the AmbuLung project.

Iliana Fauzi (BSc., Ph.D) holds a Ph.D degree in Stem Cell Bioprocessing, is a stem cells biologist with broad experiences on stem cells differentiation. Specialise in human and mouse pluripotent stem cells culture (including human embryonic stem cells [hESCs] and human induced pluripotent stem cells [hIPSCs]), her research interest focus more on stem cells isolation, differentiation and characterisation, endothelial and red blood cells lineage formation, hydrogel encapsulation, application of three-dimensional (3D) culture system and bioreactor.
Spyros Vernardis
(Ph.D) studied biology and bioinformatics and carried his Ph.D thesis in the fields of cell culture engineering and metabolomics. His interests include systems biology, network biology, biotechnology and, recently, stem cell bioprocessing. He holds a strong belief that a holistic view of the biological systems is the key that can reveal the secrets of the biological mechanisms and this is the way he guides his research on stem cell applications.

Xiaomei Lu (MB BS, PhD) has extensive research experience in endothelial progenitor cell and mesenchymal stem cell differentiation and identification. She also has expertise in human primary cell isolation and culture (such as endothelial cells, fibroblasts and epithelial cells).

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This project is funded by the European Union EU-Flagge sfp