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Dr Tamsin Spelman

Dr Tamsin Spelman

Research Associate

Sainsbury Laboratory
University of Cambridge
47 Bateman Street
Cambridge CB2 1LR


Tamsin received her undergraduate and master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Cambridge in 2013. She remained in the same department to complete her PhD supervised by Professor Eric Lauga entitled “Artificial micro-devices: armoured microbubbles and a magnetically driven cilium”, completed in 2017. After 2 months spent at the Univesité Grenoble Alpes performing microfluidic experiments, she continued with post-doctoral studies at the University of Glasgow for 15 months researching patterns of retinal haemorrhage working with Dr Peter Stewart. She joined SLCU in January 2019 as a Research Associate in the group of Professor Henrik Jonsson, working on the deformation of plant cell nuclei when cells are subjected to stress.

Research Interests

My interests are in microscale systems. Such systems cover a wide range of problems in fields ranging from biology to medicine to engineering. In nature, it encompasses phenomena from bacterial locomotion (e.g. E. coli) to blood flow to plant cell growth. But there also many interesting questions in developing new technologies, such as fundamental research in self-propelled devices to deliver drugs direct to target cancer cells in our bodies. 

I primarily use computational models and mathematical techniques for my research, but preferentially work closely with experimentalists and practical scientists, to maximise the impact of my research.

Figure 1: Artificial microdevices at the fundamental development stage. (Left) Scanning Electron Microscopy image of an eight-hole Armoured Microbubble (AMB) which I constructed using two-photon polymerisation techniques at the Université Grenoble Alpes. Part of a larger project, which demonstrated the use of Armoured Microbubbles for mixing fluid in microfluidic channel and as an object which could self-propel, when subjected to an ultrasound field.  (Right) Simulation of an artificial cilium. Arrays of cilia are currently being developed for uses including transporting fluid within microfluidic devices.

Figure 2: Modelling retinal haemorrhage (bleeding) in the human eye, with the aim to help inform medical diagnosis of conditions with this symptom. (Top) Schematic of the Central Retinal Artery and Vein at the entry to the eye. (Bottom) Simulation of the blood vessel cross-sectional area in response to a sharp increase in CSF pressure, representing head trauma.

Key Publications

Bubble-based acoustic micropropulsors: active surfaces and mixers, N.Bertin, T.A.Spelman, T.Combriat, H.Hue, O.Stephan, E.Lauga, and P.Marmottant, Lab Chip,17,1515-1528, 2017

Arbitrary axisymmetric steady streaming: flow, force and propulsion, T.A.Spelman and E.Lauga, J. Eng. Math, 105, 31-65, 2017

Propulsion of bubble-based acoustic microswimmers, N.Bertin, T.A.Spelman, O.Stephan, L.Gredy, M.Bouriau, E.Lauga, and P.Marmottant, Phys. Rev. Applied, 4, 064012, 2015

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