Dr Lynda K HarrisPhD

Senior Lecturer in Pharmaceutics

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Senior Lecturer in Pharmaceutics

Scientific Co-Director, Tommy’s Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre, University of Manchester, (2018-present)

Editorial board member, Placenta (2019 - present)

Editorial board member, Molecular Medicine Reports (2018 - present)

Mentor, BBSRC Future Leader Fellows


I received a B.Sc. in Pathobiology (1999) and PhD (2003) from the University of Reading, where I worked with Dr David Leake, in collaboration with Professor Giovanni Mann at King's College London, to investigate how cell death in the arterial wall contributes to the development of atherosclerosis. I subsequently moved to The Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre at The University of Manchester to work in the laboratories of Professor John Aplin and Professor Phillip Baker. My postdoctoral research focused on how placental-derived trophoblast cells and uterine natural killer cells interact with and remodel the uterine spiral arteries during pregnancy. I also investigated the mechanisms that regulate trophoblast invasion, proliferation and survival. In 2010, I was awarded the prestigious Gabor Than Award for my contribution to the field of placentology.

In the same year, I was awarded a BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship to develop the use of vascular homing peptides as a targeted drug delivery system in pregnancy. I spent 2011 working in the laboratory of Professor Erkki Ruoslahti, where I identified a series of novel placental homing peptides. Upon my return to Manchester, I sought to utilize these peptides to create biocompatible nanocarriers for targeted delivery of therapeutics to the placenta. In May 2013, my two PhD students and I won second prize of £10,000 in the OBR OneStart European business start-up competition, reflecting the continued success of my research programme.

Social responsibility

  • In September 2017, I ran a stall at the University of Manchester “Before you were born” public engagement event at Manchester Central to educate the public about the biology of pregnancy, placental function and pregnancy complications. I used a series of interactive activities to show how we can selectively deliver drugs to the placenta to improve its function and demonstrate how viscosity can improve or hinder drug delivery.
  • In June 2017, I participated in the University of Manchester Community Open day to educate the public about the role of viscosity in formulation of medicines. I developed a series of interactive activities to demonstrate the effects of viscosity in different delivery devices. 
  • In July 2016 (European City of Science) and Feb 2017 (World Cancer Day), I developed 3 interactive activities and ran a stand at the Manchester Pharmacy School Cancer Treatment: From Bench to Bedside Event to educate 11-18 year olds about the importance of viscosity when designing and formulating medicines.
  • In July 2016, I gave a 1 hour live interview for the Nanotechnology Inside Out Program on the YouTube channel NanoWeb TV.
  • In July 2015, I participated in a Science Connections event at Levenshulme High School. I talked to groups of girls about my education, career path and what my job entails from day to day. I also held a discussion about science and pregnancy in the news, to gauge the girls’ opinions on cloning, IVF, designer babies and embryo selection. 
  • In 2015, I participated in a Dragonfly Day speed networking event organised by The University of Manchester. Groups of local school girls aged 12-15 asked me questions about my education, career path and current job. The aim of the programme was for the girls to meet and chat with female staff working in STEM areas, improve their self-confidence and communication skills, challenge their perceptions of scientists and highlight careers they may not have considered.
  • In 2014, I was team lead for a stall at the Manchester Pharmacy School Bugs to Drugs Community Open Day to educate 5-75 year olds about microbes and antibiotic resistance. I showed children how to isolate their DNA from a saliva sample and how to identify different bacteria under the microscope.
  • In 2014, I was team lead for a stall at the FLS/FMHS Community Open Day to educate 5-12 year olds about the placenta. I developed a series of interactive activities to demonstrate the importance of optimal placental function and to explain how we can treat poor placental function. 
  • In 2014, I organised a half day visit to the Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre for thirty Year 10 biology students from Flixton Girls School. The students took part in lab tours, a debate, a careers session and learned about the research we do.
  • I co-ran an interactive science stall for pupils in Years 7-9 at The University of Manchester’s Science Extravaganza for National Science and Engineering Week, March 2013.
  • In collaboration with Nowgen, I host up to four “Meet the Scientist” sessions a year. This allows small groups of A Level biology students from local colleges to visit The Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre, tour the laboratories, learn about our research and find out about careers in science.
  • My research has received external coverage on the BBSRC website and Twitter feed as part of the BBSRC: 20 years of Bioscience campaign, and was the subject of an article in the BBSRC business magazine (Summer 2013).


  • BSc (1st Class Hons) Pathobiology, University of Reading, 1999
  • PhD, University of Reading, 2003

Biology, Medicine and Health (BMH) Domains


  • placenta, pregnancy, drug delivery

Related information


Activity: Participating in or organising event(s)Participating in a conference, workshop, exhibition, performance, inquiry, course etc

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial work

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