Associate Professor
Biomedical Sciences
Telephone: (01792) 602742
Room: Academic Office - 427
Fourth Floor
Institute of Life Science 1
Singleton Campus

Martin gained his PhD at Edinburgh Napier University in 2009, in Nanoparticle In Vitro Toxicology, and spent the next 7.5 years in Switzerland conducting his post-doctoral research career before joining Swansea University Medical School in Dec 2015. 

Martin is motivated and enthusiastic, with 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 to gain a mechanistic understanding of how nano-sized materials may, potentially, be adverse to human health. Special focus is also given to creating disease-based in vitro models and the role nanoparticles play in disease progression/exacerbation. 

In addition to his research interests, Martin is the Co-Director of Post-Graduate Research and Co-Chair of the SUMS Research Sub-Committee. Martin further supervises a number of PGR students at both the MSc and PhD level. Martin also actively contributes to teaching, on both the MSc Nanomedicine Taught Master's Programme as well the Genetics and Biochemistry Degree programmes.

Martin is Associate Edditor for the Journal of Nanobiotechnology, and an Editorial board member for Particle and Fibre Toxicology, Food and Chemical Toxicology, as well as Mutagenesis. Martin is the Deputy Chair and Secretary of the UK In Vitro Toxicology Society and is a panel member of the British Toxicology Society Sub-Committee. He is a Fellow of the European Respiratory Society (ERS Fellow), a Member of the Royal Society of Biology (MRSB), a Member of the UK Environmental Mutagenesis Society (UKEMS) and a panel member of the NC3Rs working group on Nanotoxicology. Martin has also been regularly contributing towards both National and International Conference organisation within the field of particle and fibre toxicology and in vitro systems.  

Areas of Expertise

  • Nanotoxicology
  • In Vitro Toxicology
  • Multi-cellular In Vitro Systems
  • Immunology
  • Nanoparticle-Cell Interactions
  • Microscopy
  • Air Pollution
  • Human Health Hazard Assessment
  • Lung
  • Air-Liquid Exposure Systems
  • Nanoscience
  • (Nano)Fibres


  1. Hočevar, S., Milošević, A., Rodriguez-Lorenzo, L., Ackermann-Hirschi, L., Mottas, I., Petri-Fink, A., Rothen-Rutishauser, B., Bourquin, C., Clift, M. Polymer-Coated Gold Nanospheres Do Not Impair the Innate Immune Function of Human B Lymphocytes in Vitro ACS Nano
  2. Chortarea, S., Zerimariam, F., Barosova, H., Septiadi, D., Clift, M., Petri-Fink, A., Rothen-Rutishauser, B. Profibrotic Activity of Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes Upon Prolonged Exposures in Different Human Lung Cell Types Applied In Vitro Toxicology 5 1 47 61
  3. Evans, S., Jenkins, G., Doak, S., Clift, M. Cellular Defense Mechanisms Following Nanomaterial Exposure: A Focus on Oxidative Stress and Cytotoxicity (Ed.), Biological Responses to Nanoscale Particles 243 254
  4. Barosova, H., Chortarea, S., Peikertova, P., Clift, M., Petri-Fink, A., Kukutschova, J., Rothen-Rutishauser, B. Biological response of an in vitro human 3D lung cell model exposed to brake wear debris varies based on brake pad formulation Archives of Toxicology 92 7 2339 2351
  5. Foster, E., Moon, R., Agarwal, U., Bortner, M., Bras, J., Camarero-Espinosa, S., Chan, K., Clift, M., Cranston, E., Eichhorn, S., Fox, D., Hamad, W., Heux, L., Jean, B., Korey, M., Nieh, W., Ong, K., Reid, M., Renneckar, S., Roberts, R., Shatkin, J., Simonsen, J., Stinson-Bagby, K., Wanasekara, N., Youngblood, J. Current characterization methods for cellulose nanomaterials Chemical Society Reviews 47 8 2609 2679

See more...


  • PM-273 Advances in Toxicology: Pick Your Poison

    BSc Medical Pharmacology module, follow on from PM-147 Introduction to Toxicology. This module will provide students with the opportunity to expand their toxicology knowledge and apply it to analytical experience. This module will encompass medical toxicology, applied toxicology, and clinical poison information. Content will be analytical, forensic and clinical toxicology.

  • PM-304 Biomolecular Research Project


  • PM-341 Human Biology and the Environment

    This module is intended to provide an understanding of how our environmental factors impact on key aspects of human biology. Various environmental factors such as diet, stress, and pollution will be considered with a focus on their effects on epigenetics, inflammation, gut microbiota, mitochondrial health, and oxidative stress in non-communicable diseases in particular (e.g. chronic respiratory disease, cancer and metabolic disorders). The effect of extreme environments (e.g. altitude, space) and ageing on multiple organ systems will be considered. Students will gain practical experience in communicating these issues to scientific and non-scientific audiences.

  • PM-344 Capstone Project

    The aim of this module is to provide a capstone experience to students¿ learning, through participating in their own enquiry-based research project. Depending on the student's employability strand within the programme, the project may be laboratory, data, or education-based, but it will always involve a research question that is drawn from the literature, focused on a topic relevant to medical science. It will ask a novel research question and involve the critical analysis of research findings. Students will refine their oral and written communication skills to a graduate level through creating an introductory presentation on the project background, and a written dissertation and oral presentation on their research conclusions.

  • PM-351 Nanotoxicology

    Nanomaterials are comprised of very small particles that provide many of the products we use increased strength, chemical reactivity or conductivity. They can also be the by-product of e.g. industrial processes or they can occur naturally, as with soot from forest fires or volcanic ash. The particles range in size from approximately 1 to 100 nanometres; that is 1 / 1,000,000,000th of a metre. Due to their small size they can readily enter our bodies through a number of exposure routes, of which inhalation, ingestion or absorption through the skin, as well as injection into the circulation are dominant. These particles have unique properties compared to their larger counterparts and we are only beginning to understand what their health effects may be. The purpose of this module is to give an introduction into the field of nanoscience, nanotechnology and the potential risks posed by this new Industrial Age to humans.

  • PM-M28 Nano(geno)toxicology

    The field of nanotechnology is ever increasing in size, and the number of nano-sized (1-100nm) particles being produced on a daily basis is at the tonnage level. Although nanotechnology-based applications are considered to be advantageous for a plethora of human activities, the potential risks posed by human exposure to nanoparticles is a constantly developing field of research. The purpose of this module therefore is to introduce to the student to particle toxicology and how it can impact upon human health. Further to this, the students will undertake a specific practical component to complement that of the theoretical content of the module. To this extent, the students will undertake a week-long, 'mini-project', covering the major areas of nanoparticle toxicology. From this approach, it is intended that the student will experience the key points of the field.

  • PMLM01 Analytical Techniques for Medicinal Chemistry and Nanomedicine

    This module will enable students to understand the basic and advanced concepts of separation science, how it is integrated with several forms of compound detection, gain `hands on¿ problem solving experience and strategic method development for complete bioanalysis according to compound chemical characteristics and method application.

  • PMND00 Nanomedicine Research Dissertation

    This module builds on the knowledge and skills developed in teaching components in part one of their relevant programme. Students will work independently in order to critically explore and add to the evidence base for a topic of relevance to their area of study within nanomedicine.


  • Defining the mechanistic toxicity of metal oxide nanoparticles under physiologically relevant oxygen concentrations (current)

    Other supervisor: Dr Martin Clift
    Other supervisor: Prof Shareen Doak
  • Studying the mechanistic process associated with nanoparticle genotoxicity. (current)

    Other supervisor: Prof Shareen Doak
    Other supervisor: Dr Martin Clift
  • Co-exposure of human epithelial cells to infectious bacteria and carbon-based nanoparticles, in advanced in vitro systems. (current)

    Other supervisor: Dr Martin Clift
    Other supervisor: Dr Thomas Wilkinson
  • Untitled (current)

    Other supervisor: Prof Shareen Doak
    Other supervisor: Dr Martin Clift
  • Controlling the toxicity of Zinc Oxide Nanowires in in vitro skin models (current)

    Other supervisor: Dr Martin Clift
    Other supervisor: Dr Thierry Maffeis
  • Investigating the human health implications of e-cigarettes: An in vitro mechanistic toxicology approach. (current)

    Other supervisor: Prof Shareen Doak
    Other supervisor: Dr Martin Clift
  • Understanding the human health impacts of graphene-based nanomaterials under occupational exposure scenarios (current)

    Other supervisor: Prof Shareen Doak
    Other supervisor: Dr Martin Clift
  • An advanced multi-cellular and dynamic flow model of the human alveolar airway to study the impact of inhaled particulate (current)

    Other supervisor: Prof Shareen Doak
    Other supervisor: Dr Martin Clift
  • Mechanisms of Mammalian Egg Resilience, from the Macro to the Nano scale (current)

    Other supervisor: Dr Martin Clift
    Other supervisor: Prof Martin Sheldon
  • Deducing the impacts and associated mechanisms of engineered nanoparticles upon telomere status in lung epithelial cells in vitro. (awarded 2019)

    Other supervisor: Prof Shareen Doak
    Other supervisor: Dr Martin Clift
  • Evaluating the long term effects of BOBATH for the management of children with cerebral palsy. (awarded 2019)

    Other supervisor: Dr Paul Rees
    Other supervisor: Dr Martin Clift
    Other supervisor: Dr Martin Clift
    Other supervisor: Dr Alice Hoon
  • In Vitro Lung Deposition Models to Assess the Mechanistic Genotoxicity of Characterised Few-Layer Graphene (awarded 2019)

    Other supervisor: Dr Martin Clift
    Other supervisor: Prof Shareen Doak

Administrative Responsibilities

  • Co-Director Post-Graduate Research and Co-Chair SUMS Research Su

    2017 - Present

Career History

Start Date End Date Position Held Location
September 2008 September 2010 Post-Doctoral Researcher Institute of Anatomy, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
October 2010 October 2011 European Respiratory Society Long-Term Research Fellow Department of Clinical Research, University Hospital Bern, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
November 2011 November 2012 Senior Research Associate BioNanomaterials, Adolphe Merkle Institute, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland
November 2012 November 2015 Scientific Group Leader BioNanomaterials, Adolphe Merkle Institute, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland
December 2015 February 2017 Lecturer Swansea University Medical School, Swansea, Wales, UK
March 2017 Present Senior Lecturer Swansea University Medical School, Swansea, Wales, UK

Collaborative Partners

Partner Name Description
Unilever SEAC Collaboration via funded PhD studentship on advanced in vitro models

Academic History

Date Qualification Location
July 2004 BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science Napier University, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
July 2009 Doctor of Philosophy Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland, UK

External Responsibilities