Victoria Roberton

Senior Research Fellow

Projects: Microparticle pre-coating for controlled local delivery of tacrolimus to enable nerve allograft transplantation

Local immunosuppression to improve the welfare of animals in neural transplantation experiments

Victoria is a Senior Research Fellow in regenerative medicine at the UCL School of Pharmacy, promoted from Research Fellow in 2021. She joined the School of Pharmacy in 2019 as a co-recipient of the 2018 UCL Rosetrees Stoneygate Prize to develop novel methods of mediating the immune response to peripheral nerve transplants using biomaterials. She previously carried out post-doctoral research on a cell therapy for spinal cord injury at the UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering (2016-2018), 

Prior to joining UCL, she was a post-doctoral research associate in the Brain Repair Group at Cardiff University School of Biosciences (2013-2016), working on preclinical projects developing stem cell derived neuronal transplants for Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease (Repair-HD and Neurostemcell Repair). Alongside this she managed Cardiff Foetal Tissue Bank (CFTB), procuring and processing tissue to supply for a clinical trial for foetal tissue transplants (Transeuro) in patients with PD. 

Victoria studied Psychology, BSc (Hons) at the University of Surrey, including a professional placement year in the School of Psychology at Cardiff University carrying out behavioural neuroscience research in rodent models of Alzheimer’s disease. She received the Mark Bradshaw Memorial Prize for best undergraduate dissertation (2009). She was awarded a Wellcome Trust PhD studentship in Integrative Neuroscience (2009-2014), carrying out 3 lab rotations at Cardiff University before her PhD project in the Brain Repair Group. Thesis title “Validation and characterisation of a new method for in vivo assessment of human donor cells”

Current Research:

Local immunosuppression for cell therapies

Cell therapies are a novel therapeutic approach for a range of disorders/injuries in the nervous system. Although induced pluripotent stem cell technology offers the potential for the use of autologous cells in some circumstances, this approach is inappropriate for a large number of indications due to associated costs and logistical challenges, as well as the potential influence of disease on these cells. Therefore the use of large banks of allogeneic cells is likely to be applicable to the majority of cell therapies, necessitating the use of immunosuppression. Chronic immunosuppressive treatment is associated with severe side effects, often negating their use in some of these novel therapies. 

I am developing approaches to use biomaterials for local delivery of immunosuppressants for use in cell therapies in the nervous system, in particular for peripheral nerve repair and neural transplantation

Accelerating regeneration after nerve injury

Although peripheral nerves can naturally regenerate following injury, the slow rate of regeneration results in irreversible damage to denervated muscles. This results in severe physical and psychological effects on people with nerve injuries, and societal effects due to the need for care and the impact on workforce associated with the demographic affected by such injuries (largely younger people of working age). 

I am working on the development of therapeutics which can increase the rate of regeneration for use in the treatment of nerve injury. These are also developed in combination with novel delivery systems for local administration


Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @Vickoirr


Apr 2019 – Aug 2021Research Fellow – UCL School of Pharmacy
Apr 2018 – Aug 2019Research Consultancy – UCL Consultants
Sep 2016 – Nov 2018Research Associate – UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering (Dr. Ivan Wall)
Jan 2014 – Sep 2016Research Associate and Cardiff Foetal Tissue Bank Manager – Cardiff University Brain Repair Group (Prof. Anne Rosser and Prof. Stephen Dunnett)


PhD in Integrative Neuroscience – 2009-2014 

First class BSc (Hons) in Psychology – 2005-2009 (including professional placement year in behavioural neuroscience research at Cardiff University School of Psychology)


  • “Microparticle pre-coating for controlled local delivery of tacrolimus to enable nerve allograft transplantation” (£118,000), Rosetrees Trust Project Grant (Researcher Co-I)
  • “Local immunosuppression to improve the welfare of animals in neural transplantation experiments” (£75,045 ) NC3Rs Skills and Knowledge Transfer Award 2022 (PI)
  • “Accelerating nerve regeneration with local delivery of PI 3-kinase pathway activators” (£9,858.65). Rosetrees Trust Seedcorn Award 2020 (PI)
  • “Novel PI3-kinase pathway modulators to accelerate nerve regeneration” (£16,464.34) UCL Small Molecules Therapeutic Innovation Network Pilot Data Funding Scheme 2020 (PI)
  • UCL Researcher-Led Initiative Award 2019-20 (£1,000) for designing professional development activities for early stage researchers at UCL
  • Travel award (£300) to attend NECTAR 2019 (Cardiff, UK)
  • “Improving nerve grafting with biomaterials” (£245,568) 2018 UCL Rosetrees Stoneygate Prize (Researcher Co-I)
  • Travel award to attend NECTAR 2015 (Lund, Sweden)
  • Travel award to attend NECTAR 2014 (Galway, Ireland)
  • Travel grant from Guarantors of Brain to attend FENS Forum of Neuroscience 2012 (Barcelona)
  • Wellcome Trust Integrative Neuroscience PhD studentship, 2009-2013
  • University of Surrey Mark Bradshaw Memorial Prize for best Psychology undergraduate dissertation, 2009 


Laranjeira, S*., Roberton, V. H*., Phillips, J. B., & Shipley, R. J. (2023). Perspectives on optimizing local delivery of drugs to peripheral nerves using mathematical models. WIREs Mechanisms of Disease, e1593. (*joint first authors)

Roberton VH, Gregory HN, Angkawinitwong U, Mokrane O, Boyd AS, Shipley RJ, Williams GR, Phillips JB (2022) Local delivery of tacrolimus using electrospun poly-ε-caprolactone nanofibres suppresses the T-cell response to peripheral nerve allografts. Journal of Neural Engineering

Roberton, V. H., & Phillips, J. B. (2022). Considerations for the use of biomaterials to support cell therapy in neurodegenerative disease. In International Review of Neurobiology. Academic Press.

Kellaway, S.C., Roberton, V., Jones, J.N., Loczenski, R., Phillips, J.B., and White, L.J., Engineered Neural Tissue Made Using Hydrogels Derived from Decellularised Tissues for the Regeneration of Peripheral Nerves. Acta Biomaterialia.

Eleftheriadou, D., Evans, R. E., Atkinson, E., Abdalla, A., Gavins, F. K. H., Boyd, A. S., Williams, G. R., Knowles, J. C., Roberton, V. H., & Phillips, J. B. (2022). An alginate-based encapsulation system for delivery of therapeutic cells to the CNS. RSC Advances, 12(7), 4005–4015.

Roberton, V. H. (2021). The Immune Response and Implications for Nerve Repair. In J. Phillips, D. Hercher, T. Hausner (Eds.), Peripheral Nerve Tissue Engineering and Regeneration (pp. 1-30). Cham: Springer International Publishing. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-06217-0_15-1

Muangsanit, P., Roberton, V., Costa, E., & Phillips, J. (2021). Engineered aligned endothelial cell structures in tethered collagen hydrogels promote peripheral nerve regeneration. Acta Biomaterialia.

Choompoo, N.; Bartley, O.J.M.; Precious, S. V.; Vinh, N.; Schnell, C.; Garcia, A.; Roberton, V.H.; Williams, N.M.; Kemp, P.J.; Kelly, C.M.; et al. Induced pluripotent stem cells derived from the developing striatum as a potential donor source for cell replacement therapy for Huntington disease. Cytotherapy 2020, doi:10.1016/j.jcyt.2020.06.001.

Santiago-Toledo, G., Georgiou, M., dos Reis, J., Roberton, V.H., Valinhas, A., Wood, R.C., Phillips, J.B., Mason, C., Li, D., Li, Y., Sinden, J.D., Choi, D., Jat, P.S., Wall, I.B., 2019. Generation of c-MycER TAM-transduced human late-adherent olfactory mucosa cells for potential regenerative applications. Sci. Rep. 9, 13190. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-49315-6

Georgiou, M., Reis, J.N. dos, Wood, R., Esteban, P.P., Roberton, V., Mason, C., Li, D., Li, Y., Choi, D., Wall, I., 2018. Bioprocessing strategies to enhance the challenging isolation of neuro-regenerative cells from olfactory mucosa. Sci. Rep. 8, 14440. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-32748-w

Roberton VH, Rosser AE., McGorrian AM., Precious SV. Dissection and preparation of human primary fetal ganglionic eminence tissue for research and clinical application. Methods in Molecular Biology (in press)

Harrison D.J., Roberton V.H., Vinh N.N., Brooks S.P., Dunnett S.B., Rosser A.E.The effect of tissue preparation and donor age on striatal graft morphology in the mouse. In press (Cell Transplantation)

Kalbassi, S., Bachmann, S. O., Cross, E., Roberton, V. H., & Baudouin, S. J. (2017). Male and Female Mice Lacking Neuroligin-3 Modify the Behavior of Their Wild-Type Littermates. eNeuro, 4(4), ENEURO.0145-17.2017.

Lelos M.J., Roberton V.H, Vinh N.N., Harrison, C., Eriksen, P., Torres, E. M., Clinch, S. P., Rosser, A. E., Dunnett, S. B. (2016) Direct Comparison of Rat- and Human-Derived Ganglionic Eminence Tissue Grafts on Motor Function. Cell Transplantation, 25(4):665-75

Roberton, V.H., Rosser, A.E., Kelly, C.M. (2015) Neonatal desensitisation for the study of regenerative medicine. Regenerative Medicine, 10:3, 265-274

Roberton, V.H., Evans, A.E., Harrison, D.J., Precious, S.V., Dunnett, S.B., Kelly, C.M., Rosser, A.E. (2013). Is the adult mouse striatum a hostile host for neural transplant survival? NeuroReport, 24(18), 1010–1015

Harris, A. D., Roberton, V. H., Huckle, D. L., Saxena, N., Evans, C. J., Murphy, K., Hall, J. E. et al.(2013). Temporal dynamics of lactate concentration in the human brain during acute inspiratory hypoxia. Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging 37:739-745

Kelly, C. M., Roberton, V. H., Dunnett, S. B. and Rosser, A. E. (2012). Reply to “Neonatal desensitization does not universally prevent xenograft rejection”. Nat Meth 9:858-858

Mattsson, N., Evans, A., Rosser, A., Roberton, V., Battersby, A., Fox, S. and Huot, P. (2012). Journal Watch: Our panel of experts highlight the most important research articles across the spectrum of topics relevant to the field of neurodegenerative disease management. Neurodegenerative Disease Management 2:569-572

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