Department of Engineering / Profiles / Ms Iek Man Lei

Department of Engineering

Ms Iek Man Lei


Iek Man Lei

Research Student

Academic Division: Mechanics, Materials and Design

Research group: Biomechanics

Telephone: 760313


Personal website

Research interests

  • Biofabrication
  • Embedded 3D printing / bioprinting
  • Biomaterials (hydrogels, elastomer)
  • Soft robotics

Research projects

1. Development of a custom-designed multimaterial extrusion robotic bioprinter

  • Design a prototype of a multi-material bioprinter with heating systems
  • Entirely open-source system, allows advanced printing strategy and customisable hardware.

2. Artificial electroanatomical cochlear model for cochlear implant testing 

​Cochlear implants bring sound to millions with profound hearing loss. Today’s cochlear implants are still far from perfect, attributed to the mismatch in the perceived sound caused by the spread of stimulus within cochleae. As there is no representative model that can mimic the anatomy and the electrical properties of human cochleae, improvement is obstructed. Therefore, I developed artificial electroanatomical cochlear models using embedded 3D printing technology. The models recapitulate the human cochlear geometry, and they are sophisticatedly tuned to match the human cochlear conductivity. With 3D printing, I established a model library reproducing the current spread characteristics resulting from the broad spectrum of the electroanatomical features of human cochleae. An artificial neural network approach is then adopted to model the relationship between the electroanatomical features and the current spread characteristics. Our platform provides an economic, non-animal and physical manipulatable approach that can replicate patient-dependent current spread characteristics.

This work has been featured on BBC World Service. A preprint of this work can be found here.

3. 3D printing and biofabrication of soft materials

  • Soft hydrogels (collagen, polysaccharides, synthetic hydrogels and pH-responsive hydrogels), bioceramics and elastomer

4. Printing pH-responsive soft morphing systems.

Teaching activity

- Supervising undergraduate research project


I received the MEng degree (1st class hons) in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College London. Funded by the W D Armstrong studentship, I am currently a 4th year PhD student in Biointerface@CUED. My research interests include embedded 3D printing/bioprinting, biofabrication, soft robotics and biomaterials (in particular stimuli-responsive hydrogels). In 2020, I received the CSAR PhD students award for outstanding research with real world application. In 2021, I was awarded the best graduate student award in the International Society for Biofabrication (ISBF) online conference.

Department role and responsibilities

- Organising committee of 2018 Division C Graduate conference, Dept of Engineering, University of Cambridge.