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Personal profile

Research interests

Michael’s research takes a multi-disciplinary approach to the development of novel biomedical devices centred around a strong understanding of soft-tissue biomechanics on the micron-scale.  Within this realm, his work is then focussed on the following areas:

  1. Understanding the fundamental properties of tissue biomechanics and how they are perturbed;
  2. Microfabrication of minimally-invasive sensing technologies for health and disease;
  3. Biomimetic ways to interact with tissues and how this can be used to develop new materials etc.

The main goal of Michael’s research is to develop simple, effective technology for patient health using a materials-based, micron-scale approach.


Michael was born and grew up in Edinburgh prior to moving to Glasgow to undertake his undergraduate degree.  He completed an undergraduate Masters at the University of Glasgow in Aeronautical Engineering (MEng (hons)), and then spent a short time in the aerospace industry before moving to Brisbane, Australia to complete a PhD.  He completed this at the University of Queensland in Biomedical Engineering, working on a microneedle vaccine technology (the Nanopatch).   His work in this area led to a number of publications, conference presentations and patents which were licenced to Vaxxas Pty Ltd, a start-up company established with $15m funding to commercialise this technology. 

In 2011 Michael joined Vaxxas as a foundational team member working on a variety of projects and leading aspects of the device development engineering.  Although he enjoyed this role he chose to return to academic research in 2014 where he has been establishing new lines of research in the area of microdevices for health.

In late 2017 Michael returned to Scotland where he joined Heriot-Watt University’s School of Engineering and Physical Sciences as an Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering.  In this position he is building his research program focussed on simple microtechnolgies for tissue-based measurement and sensing.  He is also involved in teaching on the undergraduate engineering programmes within the school.

Research Group Contact Details

Email: M.Crichton@hw.ac.uk

Phone: 0131 451 4367

Group website: https://tissuedevices.hw.ac.uk/

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


  • TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • microfabrication
  • Tissue biomechanics
  • mechanobiology


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