Natural Materials Association board

Below is a list of contacts for the Natural Materials Association. Click on a highlighted name to send an email to that person.

Chris Holland (Chair)

Dr Chris Holland is based in The University of Sheffield in the Materials Science and Engineering Department where he leads the Natural Materials Group ( He currently holds an EPSRC Early Career Fellowship and was previously at Oxford’s Zoology Dept. where he undertook his degrees and JRF. Outside the lab he is an Associate Editor for ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering and Chair of the IOM3 Natural Materials Association. His research uses tools developed for the physical sciences to better understand how processing effects performance in natural materials. Using silk as a model system and studying it is spun he has been able to gain unique insights into this material's biodiversity, structure and evolution. Additionally, this work has made important links between natural and industrial fibre processing which has led to several patents and a fundamentally new way of designing, testing and fabricating bio-inspired materials which is now being realised as Co-ordinator of the H2020 FET Open project FLIPT (


Graham Ormondroyd (Vice-Chair)

Dr. Graham Ormondroyd is Head of Materials at the BioComposites Centre, Bangor University ( . Graham has a degree in Forestry and Forest products, and a PhD in Wood Science and now leads a team of multi-disciplined materials scientists researching areas from solid wood to polymers and their use and end of life. With a background in forestry, forest industries technology and natural materials science Dr. Graham Ormondroyd’s research work has focused on novel wood protection techniques, chemical modification and novel resin systems. Graham sits on a number of committees throughout the UK and Europe and these include standards committees, advisory committees and scientific committees for organizations such as the COST actions. 


Iris Anderson BEM

Iris Anderson has spent the majority of her career within MAFF, DEFRA and more recently in The Department of Energy and Climate Change. Her various roles have included Head of Energy Innovation and Head of Renewable Materials. She had overall responsibility for R & D coordination in the UK and an overview of the activity within the EU. She was involved with the National Non Food Crops Centre and led the project to inject biomethane into the national gas grid. She set up the Anaerobic Digestion Demonstration Facility at CPI, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult in Wilton. She is a Technical expert promoting bio renewable opportunities to businesses and provides consultancy and advice to businesses that develop and adopt bio renewables. Her work has given her a unique knowledge of the various stakeholders in the bioenergy and biomass industries including industry, academia and innovation bodies. She has supported bioenergy and biomass developments and other related initiatives in energy and renewables, including the Biomass gasifier review. She has developed UK policy on the use of bio resources, with emphasis on bioenergy and energy from waste to maximise efficiency and greenhouse gas reductions.


Parvez Alam

Dr Parvez Alam is currently a Senior Lecturer in Materials Modelling and Design at The University of Edinburgh in the UK. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (UK), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (UK), a Chartered Engineer with the Institution for Mechanical Engineers (UK), an Adjunct Professor of Composite Materials and Biostructures (Finland), and a Visiting Professor of Biomimetics (Indonesia). He has also previously held a Senior Marie Curie Fellowship where he worked on developing materials for use in renewable energy technologies. His research efforts are primarily focused on; composite materials, materials mechanics, comparative biomechanics, biomimetic design and engineering structures. Website:


Hector Archila

Dr Hector Archila is a Senior Lecturer at UWE, and is the founder and Director of Research and Innovation at Amphibia BASE Ltd ( where he leads the development of commercially sound bio-based products using engineered bamboo as the primary material. He is a professional architect, researcher and entrepreneur with an industrial and scholar with a background in architecture, material science and structural engineering. His professional and academic career has revolved around these disciplines and a long-standing interest in finding context-appropriate, sustainable and technologically and economically feasible bio-based solutions for the built environment (more at Hector finished a PhD on materials science and engineering at the University of Bath, where he is now a visiting research fellow. He has delivered several lectures on the use of engineered bamboo products and technologies in construction and participates actively in scientific, advisory and standardization committees such as ISO technical committees and the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR)’s Task Force on Bamboo Construction. His on-going research activities and interests include the study of thermo-hydro-mechanical modifications applied to bamboo, the design and development of bio-based products and technological solutions for medium to high rise buildings and lightweight free-form structures and the use of computational and parametric design tools in architectural and structural engineering. Hector believes that there is an untapped potential for optimised, commercially and technically feasible bio-based structures for taller, energy and thermally efficient green buildings that respond to emerging concerns over resource availability, climate change, rapid population growth and urban expansion.


Issi Rousseva

Issi Rousseva is an architect specialising in zero carbon and low energy designs previously at Koru Architects and now at Brighton and Hove City Council. Her designs incorporate biophilic principles and natural materials and she is fascinated by how designing in this way can influence buildings and their effect on health and well-being, as well as the circular economy. She is also interested in innovative technologies, particularly those associated with smart materials and renewable energy; this has shaped her ongoing research into how technological developments in those areas can be used to influence architecture and the built environment to produce the most socially and environmentally sustainable solutions. She has worked on architectural projects in the UK and abroad which has given her an insight into international diversity in relation to construction materials and methods and their effect on the environment. Issi has close ties to environmental organisations, as well as businesses in the construction industry and works to promote the message of environmentally sustainable initiatives that could easily be adopted. She also has an interest in policymaking and has been working with various ‘green' groups on policy recommendations and campaigning on critical issues around the built environment, industry and environmental sustainability. Issi believes educating and knowledge-sharing on environmental impacts and new technologies is key in the construction industry in order to make progress in what she feels is an otherwise very narrow and change-adverse industry. 


Dr. Dipa Roy is a Senior Lecturer in Composite Materials and Processing at the University of Edinburgh (UoE). She has over 20 years of experience in the field of polymers (both natural and synthetic) and composites. She joined the School of Engineering at UoE in January 2017. She was an Assistant Professor at the University of Calcutta, India, between 2003 to 2011 in the Department of Polymer Science and Technology, where she led five Government of India-funded projects as Principal Investigator. She guided eight PhD students and several B.Tech /M.Tech Theses there as Principal Supervisor. She was the Visiting Faculty at the Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur, India between 2003-2011. In 2011 she joined the Irish Composites Centre (IComp) at the University of Limerick, Ireland and conducted collaborative research with industries like Bombardier, Henkel etc. She participated in several Irish Government and EU funded proposals. She holds a patent on dielectric heating of polymeric materials (WO2016170046A1) which originated from an Enterprise Ireland funded Commercialisation project. After joining UoE in 2017, she was PI on a Feasibility Study project on thermoplastic fibre-metal hybrid laminates (EP/P006701/1) funded by the EPSRC Future Composites Manufacturing Research Hub. She has received funding in March 2019 as PI from the Scottish Research Partnership in Engineering (SRPe)-National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland (NMIS) and Hexcel Advanced Composites Ltd. She has published over 70 peer-reviewed journal papers and 12 book chapters. She has been the editor to an Elsevier book in 2017. She has published over 35 conference papers.


Vijay Kumar Thakur

Prior to commencing in the School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing at Cranfield University, Dr. Vijay Kumar Thakur was working as a Staff Scientist in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Washington State University, U.S.A. Some of his other prior significant appointments include being a Research Scientist in Temasek Laboratories at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (2009-2012) and a Visiting Research Fellow in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at LHU–Taiwan. He did his post-doctoral study in Materials Science & Engineering at Iowa State University and received Ph.D. in Polymer Chemistry (2009) at the National Institute of Technology. In his academic career, he has published more than 115 SCI journal research articles and holds one United States patent. Among these, 11 of his research papers have been highlighted as "Highly Cited Papers" in Web of Science (less than 1% of published papers receive this ranking) while 3 papers have been highlighted as "Hot Papers" (Hot papers are selected by virtue of being cited among the top one-tenth of one percent-0.1%) in a current bimonthly period in Web of Science). Dr Thakur is an editorial board member of several international journals, as well as a member of scientific bodies around the globe. He is the book series editor for Gels Horizon: From Science to Smart Materials (Springer Nature); Materials Horizon: From Nature to Nanomaterials and Polymers and Fibers (Elsevier), and sits on grant review panels for governmental agencies and educational institutions in the UK, US, South Africa, Poland, Chile, Cyprus, Germany, Austria, Singapore, Portugal and India.


Lauren Eggleton

Lauren Eggleton is a Postgraduate Researcher in the Natural Materials Group at The University of Sheffield. She has a Masters in Biomaterials Science and previously held a position at Philips Research working in Oral Healthcare. With a background in biomaterials, her research focus is primarily on understanding and bridging the gap between structure and function in gastropod mucus and developing them as a model organism for the study of ecto secretions.
Nilmini Dissanayake
Dr Nilmini Dissanayake joined National Physical Laboratory in 2019 as a Higher Research Scientist after being awarded a Daphne Jackson Fellowship following her career break. She is currently conducting research in durability of flax fibre reinforced polymer matrix composites using accelerate aging techniques, mechanical testing and thermal analysis at NPL. Her research interests include natural fibres for reinforcement in composites, bio-derived composites, bioplastics, life cycle assessment, sustainability, plastic recycling and plastic pollution crisis. Prior to her career break, she worked at University of Exeter as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on an EPSRC funded collaborative project with seven other UK universities to develop advanced polymer matrix composites using natural fibres for car body panels to have similar performance man-made fibre reinforcement. She completed her PhD at University of Plymouth in 2011 with a thesis titled Life Cycle Assessment of flax fibres for reinforcement in polymer matrix composites. She has written number of journal articles, book chapters and conference papers. 


Angela Morris

CEO of The Wool Packaging Company. Angela Morris, BA Hons, MA, MinstPkg, FRSA, ran her own creative packaging design businesses for over 30 years and is now CEO and founder of The Wool Packaging Company and creator of the Woolcool® brand. Angela’s packaging experience covers a variety of different sectors, from major UK retail high street stores such as BHS, global confectionery companies Nestlé and Cadbury’s, to water filtration systems for Fairey Industrial Ceramics and automotive components for Roll-Royce. Working as a packaging consultant and advisor to her clients, she often became an integral part of their businesses, helping companies to market their products successfully, through the introduction of superior and innovative packaging solutions, in many cases utilising natural materials. While Angela was engaged as a packaging consultant with the National Trust in 2002, using pure sheep wool as an insulated packaging material was first conceived. By 2007 the ‘Green Agenda’ had become a major focus globally and potential food industry customers saw wool-based packaging as a genuine environmentally friendly option for delivering their fresh and frozen perishable foodstuffs direct to the consumer via Internet mail order. In June 2009 The Wool Packaging Company Limited was founded and the flagship product Woolcool® has since grown to become the insulated packaging of choice for many leading UK and European food companies such as Abel & Cole, Riverford, Fortnum & Mason and Hello Fresh GmbH. Woolcool® is now being further developed with the help of UK Government ‘SMART’ funding, to create innovative, sustainable cold chain packaging solutions for the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, particularly in the field of global vaccine delivery. Angela has lectured and supervised postgraduate students and given talks on Design Management, Innovation and Green Entrepreneurship at several universities across the UK. Due to the vision, passion, dedication and experience of The Wool Packaging Company founder, Angela was invited by the IOM3 organisation in 2013 to launch and Chair the new Natural Materials Association (NMA), a position she held until October 2016.