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Dr Philipp Seib

Senior Lecturer

Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Personal statement


Our research mission can be divided into bottom up, curiosity-driven fundamental research and top-down, challenge-based activities: the common thread to these activities are biomaterials, especially silk. Current research in the Seib lab spans the nano- to macro scale in the examination of silk for use in drug and cell delivery. 

Personal lab webpage is at: 


Silk-based drug delivery systems

We have a particular interest in exploring the use of silk for drug and cell delivery applications. Silk is an approved biopolymer for use in humans and has remarkable physical properties (e.g. it is tougher than any manmade fibre). Silk, a common suture material, has long been recognised for its biocompatibility and biodegradability. We are using it as a scaffold for tissue engineering and as a biopolymer for drug and cell delivery. Silk can be processed under mild aqueous conditions to generate several biomedically useful formats, including self-assembling silk hydrogels, nanoparticles, films and scaffolds.


Advanced drug delivery systems: the cellular response

We study the cellular response of drug delivery systems, including nanomedicines. Nanomedicines are specifically engineered, multiple-component, nanosized drugs and drug delivery systems whose use is emerging as a promising approach for treating many diseases, including cancer. The drug payloads of nanomedicines can differ widely, but the effectiveness of any nanomedicine relies on its ability to reach the tumour microenvironment. In addition, the nanomedicine often must deliver its drug payload to a specific internal cell compartment in order to yield the desired therapeutic effect. One of the bottlenecks for the translation of nanomedicines into clinical practice is the lack of suitable model systems for monitoring the cellular fate of nanomedicines, both in vitro and in vivo. Our laboratory focuses on the development of a repertoire of technologies for studying the cellular responses of nanomedicines. Our interests span the range from intracellular trafficking to application-oriented biocompatibility testing.


Engineering cellular microenvironments for stem and cancer cells

Our in vitro research focuses on overcoming the issues that arise when stem cells are studied in a highly artificial context that ignores their native microenvironment. The typical in vitro cell culture environment strips cells of most of the contextual signals and physical cues that arise from accessory cells and the extracellular matrix (ECM) found in intact tissues (e.g. tumours). The standard culture substrate for cells is treated polystyrene, which not only fails to mimic the complexity of the actual cell microenvironment, but also generates an artificial two-dimensional cell layer. We are developing a number of culture systems that better reflect the cellular microenvironments that occur in healthy and diseased tissues, including the three-dimensional space that stem cells normally occupy in a tissue.

We have recently extended the concept of an engineered stem cell microenvironment to three-dimensional scaffolds that are implanted in vivo and can serve as “traps” for circulating tumour cells. An emerging paradigm is that the stem cell niche can be hijacked by circulating tumour cells during the process of cancer metastasis. We are exploiting this feature to engineer artificial in vivo stem cell niches that selectively lure and trap cancer cells within the scaffold. The outcome of these studies will be unique new strategies for cancer therapy.




The biomedical use of silk : past, present, future
Holland Chris, Numata Keiji, Rnjak-Kovacina Jelena , Seib F. Philipp
Advanced Healthcare Materials, (2018)
In vitro studies on space-conforming self-assembling silk hydrogels as a mesenchymal stem cell-support matrix suitable for minimally invasive brain application
Osama I., Gorenkova N., McKittrick C.M., Wongpinyochit T., Goudie A., Seib F.P., Carswell H.V.O.
Scientific Reports Vol 8, (2018)
Impact of the hypoxia phenotype on the uptake and efflux of nanoparticles by human breast cancer cells
Brownlee William J., Seib F. Philipp
Scientific Reports Vol 8, (2018)
Reverse-engineered silk hydrogels for cell and drug delivery
Seib F Philipp
Therapeutic Delivery Vol 9, pp. 469-487, (2018)
Soft and flexible poly(ethylene glycol) nanotubes for local drug delivery
Newland B., Taplan C., Pette D., Friedrichs J., Steinhart M., Wang W., Voit B., Seib F.P., Werner C.
Nanoscale Vol 10, pp. 8413-8421, (2018)
Self-assembling hydrogels from reverse-engineered silk
Seib Philipp
Self-assembling BiomaterialsSelf-assembling Biomaterials, (2018)

more publications

Professional activities

Advanced Materials (Journal)
Peer reviewer
Biomacromolecules (Journal)
Peer reviewer
Acta Biomaterialia (Journal)
Peer reviewer
Angewandte Chemie International Edition (Journal)
Peer reviewer
APS Nanomedicines for the Delivery of Biologics
Grant reviewer

more professional activities


Impact Acceleration Account - University of Strathclyde 2017 / R170483-114
Seib, Philipp (Principal Investigator)
Period 01-Apr-2017 - 31-Mar-2020
Tracing the fate of nanomedicines in the tumour microenvironment (MC Career Integration) | Totten, John
Seib, Philipp (Principal Investigator) Johnston, Blair (Co-investigator) Totten, John (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2015 - 01-Apr-2019
EPSRC Doctoral Training Grant - DTA, University of Strathclyde | Brownlee, William John
Seib, Philipp (Principal Investigator) Wilson, Clive (Co-investigator) Brownlee, William John (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Feb-2015 - 01-Feb-2018
Engineered culture surfaces for the isolation and expansion of bone fide mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs)
Seib, Philipp (Principal Investigator)
Period 01-Mar-2017 - 28-Feb-2018
EPSRC Doctoral Training Grant - DTA, University of Strathclyde | Huff Guelbert, Samuel
Seib, Philipp (Principal Investigator) Wilson, Clive (Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2013 - 17-Mar-2017
Engineering self-assembling silk hydrogels for the delivery of stem cells
Seib, Philipp (Principal Investigator)
Period 13-Oct-2016 - 27-Jan-2019

more projects


Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences
Robertson Wing

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