Engineering to Change Lives – TheGuardian Ada Lovelace Day


A professor of tissue engineering, the work of Sheila MacNeil from the University of Sheffield has had a deeply practical impact on people’s lives. Amongst Sheila’s life changing work is the development of MySkin, a treatment for skin replacement based on tissue engineering which has been available for NHS burns patients since 2005; and her work to deliver stem cell therapy to the eye in order to help the natural repair of eyes damaged by accident or disease.

Professor MacNeil’s inspiration is Professor Lillian Mary Pickford (14 August 1902 – 14 August 2002), a pioneering neuroendocrinologist and Fellow of the Royal Society (1966). Lillian was the first woman to be elected to the Pharmacological Society and the first woman appointed to a medical professorship at Edinburgh University. Sheila said: “I had the great privilege of having Professor Pickford as my external PhD examiner in1976 – she was a very warm and human woman whose natural enthusiasm for research shone through.”

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