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Dr Martin Clift

Dr Martin Clift

Associate Professor, Biomedical Sciences
Academic Office - 427
Fourth Floor
Institute of Life Science 1
Singleton Campus
Available For Postgraduate Supervision


Martin gained his PhD at Edinburgh Napier University in 2009, in Nanoparticle In Vitro Toxicolog. From 2008 to 2015, Martin spent his post-doctoral studies in Switzerland at both the University of Bern, as well as the Adolphe Merkle Institute, University of Fribourg. Martin joined Swansea University Medical School in Dec 2015. 

Martin has a core competence in particle and fibre toxicology. Martin’s research is focused on the nanoparticle-(mammalian)cell interaction, with a view to determining the mechanistic toxicological, immunological and genotoxic effects that nanoparticles, with varying physico-chemcial characteristics, may cause at the cellular level by using advanced, next-level in vitro systems combined with state-of-the-art microscopy and bioanalytical approaches. Special interests include the ability for nanoparticle geometry and surface properties to interfere with the human immune system and bloodstream. Another clear ambition of Martin's research is to create, study and promote alternative in vitro models that mimic in vivo environments, in order to gain a mechanistic understanding of how nanoparticles may, potentially, adversely impact human health. Special focus is also given to creating disease-based in vitro models and the role nanoparticles play in disease onsert and/or exacerbation. Martin has >100 publications within the field of nanotoxicology and the nanoparticle-cell interaction in vitro.

Martin further supervises a number of PGR students at both the MSc and PhD level. Martin also actively contributes to teaching, on the MSc Nanomedicine Taught Master's Programme as well the Genetics-Biochemistry and the Applied Medical Sciences BSc programmes.

Areas Of Expertise

  • Advanced In Vitro Cellular Systems
  • Advanced Exposure Approaches (i.e. Air-liquid interface)
  • Nanotoxicology
  • Particle and Fibre Toxicology
  • Air Pollution
  • Lung
  • Immunology
  • Nanoparticle-Cell Interactions

Career Highlights


Martin’s expertise and research interests include studying the interaction of nano-sized materials with a variety of different biological systems, and to determine how these interactions affect molecular mechanisms within them, thus establishing structure-activity relationships. Furthermore, by creating sophisticated in vitro multi-cellular models of different human organs in combination with state-of-the art microscopic and biochemical analyses, Martin is able to obtain a mechanistic understanding of the health risks posed by nanomaterials under realistic conditions, as well as gain valuable insight into the potential of in vitro as alternative test systems to in vivo methodologies.

Award Highlights
  • British Toxicology Society Early Career Investigator Award 2019.
  • Inducted into the Association of Fellows for the European Respiratory Society (2011).

In addition to numerous academic collaborations worldwide (Switzerland (Adolphe Merkle Institute, University of Fribourg), Canada (Health Canada), United States of America (University of South Carolina), Europe (IUF-Leibniz) Duesseldorf and Helmholtz Zentrum, Munich (both Germany), and numerous in the United Kingdom (e.g. University of Edinburgh, Imperial College London), Martin has led, or been part of industrial collaborations with major industrial companies such as Unilever, KNAUF Insulation Ltd. and Rolls Royce, as well as SME’s, e.g.  Perpetuus Carbon Technologies Ltd., Lumo Liquids Ltd., Applied Graphene Materials, and Surrey NanoSystems). Further, Martin collaborates closely with Federal Public Health bodies, including Public Health England (PHE) and RIVM (The Netherlands), as well as associated Governmental committees.