Our staff include the Management Team who work with the Trustees to provide the direction for the charity, our Scientists who conduct a stream of five research programmes and our Fundraising team, who raise vital funds so we can continue our science and expand our research programmes.
They all bring a wealth of experience to RAFT, passionate about making a difference to the lives of patients who have suffered major physical trauma.
Meet the scientists
Dr Stuart Brown
Stuart is a Postdoctoral Associate, primarily working on wound healing research using the SmartMatrix®dermal scaffold developed by RAFT to treat acute skin damage.
Dr Stuart J. Brown joined RAFT in January 2016, after a previous post-doctoral research post at UCL’s Institute of Child Health where, in collaboration with Great Ormond Street Hospital, he studied the child skin disease Linear Morphea. He completed his PhD at Queen Mary University of London, researching the structure and function of a family of genes linked to psoriasis. Stuart has 7 years of postdoctoral experience researching the molecular and cellular biology of skin disease.
More details on Stuart’s scientific career can be found at:
Dr Vaibhav Sharma BSc, MSc, PhD
Vaibhav is a Post doctoral Scientist working as a consultant for the start up company Smart Matrix Limited. His work revolves around manufacturing Smart Matrix®, designing its quality control parameters and is involved in the translation phase of this novel biomaterial.
Vaibhav Sharma joined RAFT in September 2010, after completing his MSc in Industrial Biotechnology (Newcastle University, UK) and BSc in Biotechnology (Manipal University, Dubai). His earlier work at RAFT involved optimizing the structure and composition of Smart Matrix® for dermal reconstruction. This work led him to enrol for a PhD with University College London, Biochemical Engineering department, under the supervision of Professor Chris Mason and Dr Elena García-Gareta. Vaibhav has recently submitted his thesis titled “Bioengineering of a novel fibrin-alginate scaffold for tissue engineering applications”.
More details on Vaibhav’s scientific career, publications and collaborators can be found at:
Dr Nupur Kohli, BSc, PhD
Dr Nupur Kohli joined RAFT in December 2015, after completing her PhD at Aston University, Birmingham on stem cells and cartilage tissue engineering. Nupur is an honours PhD/ BSc Scientist and first gained her honours in BSc Biomedical Sciences with professional training in cellular pathology in 2011. Since then, she has focussed her research interests in stem cells and regenerative medicine.
More details on Nupur’s scientific career, publications and collaborators can be found by clicking on the following link:
Dr Prasad Sawadkar, PhD, MRSB
After completing his PhD in Surgery from University College London (UCL), Prasad completed an intensive training course in clinical trials from Harvard Medical School. Prasad was a Visiting Scientist at the UCL Division of Surgery in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine.
More details on Prasad’s scientific career, publications and collaborators can be found by clicking on the following link: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Prasad_Sawadkar
Nazanin Owji, MSc
Nazanin joined RAFT in April 2016 after completing her MSc in Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering at UCL which was followed by working as a Research Assistant in the craniofacial group at UCL (Institute of Child Health) and an Editorial Assistant at UCL Science, Medicine and Society Network.
Nazanin is an honours MSc/BEng Scientist with research experience in Tissue Engineering, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Tissue Modelling and Unit operation Techniques.
Taleen Shakouri , BSc
Taleen Shakouri is a PhD student in the Department of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering at University College London. Taleen is part of the Regenerative Biomaterials Group and her research project will be focused on the development of a new composite material specifically for 3D printing to create a custom-fit facial implant.
Prior to this PhD position she undertook a BSc in Pharmaceutical Science at the University of Hertfordshire where her research focused on building computational models to predict the binding of drug molecules to enzymes in the body. In addition to computational chemistry, Taleen has research experience in Chemistry, Pharmaceutics, Biochemistry, and molecular biology.
Meet the Management Team
Dr Elena Garcia, BSc, BSc, MSc, PhD
Elena is the RAFT’s Director of Research and the Group Leader for the Regenerative Biomaterials group, leading work on novel biomaterial-based therapies for tissue regeneration.
Dr Elena Garcia joined RAFT in November 2011, after completing her PhD at University College London on tissue regeneration and regenerative medicine. She initially joined as Post-Doctoral Scientist, later as Science Team Leader and recently as Director of Research. Elena is an honours PhD/MSc/BSc/BSc scientist with over 14 years research experience in biomaterial development, tissue engineering, stem cell biology, biochemistry and analytical chemistry. Her research background includes the biotechnology, academic and charity sectors.
More details on Elena’s scientific career, publications and collaborators can be found at:
Nick joined joined RAFT in 2018 and is responsible for the finance function and back office support. Nick is a Chartered Accountant who has worked in a variety of real estate environments and more recently in the not for profit sector, including strategic philanthropy and disability. He has a degree in Engineering from the University of Leicester .
Nick is a Trustee and Treasurer of a local Mencap charity and is mentoring an exciting start-up charity. He was a governor at a school for young people with special needs and involved for a number of years in the design, construction and relocation to inspirational new premises.
Mimmo Di Giacomo
Mr. Mimmo Di Giacomo joins RAFT in the newly created position of Director of Development. Italian-born and naturalised Canadian, he comes with 20 years of experience in diverse geographical markets (from North America to Asia Pacific) and serving different sectors; from international development to conservation and animal welfare. Mimmo brings extensive expertise and innovative methods through a broad range of funding strategies, from traditional philanthropic giving to more “commercially viable” approaches.
His achievements include the negotiation and establishment of a multi-year, multi-million dollar funding commitment to marine conservation work in the North-East Pacific Region (from the Gulf of Mexico to Alaska) while at World Wildlife Fund (WWF). And more recently, Mimmo created and launched a global, sub-branded platform (END AIDS) for awareness, engagement and fundraising to significantly enhance the impact of the International HIV/Aids Alliance partners to combat and end transmission of the disease in Asia.
Meet the fundraising and support team
Richard Ellis, BSc (HONS)
Juliette McGing, AAT
Sonia Ho, BSc, PhD
Sonia is the marketing and communications manager at RAFT. She is assisting both Mimmo and Hannah with raising much needed funds to continue the life-changing research undergoing in RAFT.
She joined RAFT in 2017 and worked with Dr Nupur Kohli on the bone regeneration project, before moving to the fundraising team in 2018. Sonia is an honours PhD/BSc Scientist and gained her honours in BSc Microbiology, as well as a PhD in Biotechnology from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.