Barbara Pierscionek

Barbara Pierscionek

School Associate Dean for Research

School of Science & Technology

Staff Group(s)
Associate Dean of Research


Professor Pierscionek's role as Associate Dean Research is a very broad one that involves:

  • leading, directing, co-ordinating and managing research and research related activities across the School
  • setting School research strategy and implementing College and Institutional Research strategies in the School
  • working with the Dean and HoDs to support research activities across the School
  • working with  PVC and Head of College and the Senior PVC research as well as other ADR to ensure that research is supported and to ensure that we create and maintain an environment for research to thrive and expand
  • to develop opportunities for postgraduate research students and ECRs
  • to optimise the REF submission
  • to introduce new avenues and themes for interdisciplinary research

Career overview

Professor Pierscionek graduated from Melbourne University and started her research career in Australia as an NHMRC research fellow (MRC equivalent) embracing interdisciplinary research. Barbara moved the medical research council grant and fellowship to an Engineering department, where she helped to develop optical and biomedical engineering courses.

She then moved to Faculty of Medicine at Monash University before coming to UK. Professor Pierscionek led the Vision Research group in Biomedical Science at Ulster University and was then appointed as the Associate Dean (Research and Enterprise) in the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing in Kingston University. Barbara led, directed and managed research across 8 schools which included all STEM disciplines, co-ordinated all REF activities, project managed design and building of new laboratories and developed enterprise.

Professor Pierscionek has continued as an active researcher in the areas of optics, vision, ageing, biomedical engineering, nanotechnology and Big Data. Whilst at Kingston, Barbara brought in grants from EU, charities, Royal Society and industry as well as being awarded beam time for work in Japan at the world’s largest synchrotron.

In addition to qualifications in science, she has an MBA and legal degree. Barbara's research interests are in ethico-legal aspects of Big Data and vulunerable populations. She has also worked in the criminal justice system and as a lay judge in employment tribunals.

Research areas

Barbara's current work projects:

  • investigate the optics and biomechanics of the eye
  • design of intraocular implant lenses
  • ethico-legal aspects of medical databases for harmonisation across the EU
  • new means of developing cell culture for growing cells in 3-dimensions
  • binocular vision and dyslexia
  • fibre optic sensing for medical applications
  • nanotechnologies
  • new drug modalities for eye disease

Professor Pierscionek's research is currently supported by EU Horizon 2020, Royal Society, Japanese government and Industry.

External activity

Barbara is a peer-review college member for the EPSRC and an expert evaluator for the Horizon 2020, Director of Education for School Vision UK and Scientific Director for Safer Medicines Trust.

Barbara has worked with the press and appeared on national television in Australia on the science program Quantum, on the One Show in UK and on RTE in Ireland. She has also had work published in the national press in Australia and appeared on an Insight video in the UK.

Sponsors and collaborators

Professor Pierscionek's work at the Japanese synchrotron is supported by the Japanese government in the form of beam-time; she has industry support from the optical industry: Essilor and Zeiss and collaborates with colleagues at Cardiff, Ulster and Kingston Universities in the UK, with consortia from Greece, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Sweden and Italy, with colleagues in Japan, China, India, US, New Zealand, Australia and Poland.


A critique of the regulation of data science in healthcare research in the European Union. Rumbold JMM, Pierscionek B, BMC Medical Ethics, 2017, DOI10.1186/s12910-017-0184 (in press)

The effect of the General Data Protection Regulation on Medicala Research. Rumbold JMM, Pierscionek B, Med Internet Res, 2017, 19(2), e47

Cell morphology and growth observation studies on novel, chemically unmodified and patterned polymer surfaces for advanced tissue culture applications. Trease CH, Longman MR, Augousti AT, Foot, PJS, Pierscionek BK, Polymer, 2017, 109, 13-24

A Comparative Analysis of Goldmann Tonometry Correction. Asejczyk-Widlicka M, Srodka W, Pierscionek BK, Journal of Glaucoma, 2017, 26, 233-240

Qualitative investigation into a wearable system for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: the stakeholders’ perspective. Kayyali R, Savickas V, Spruit MA, Kaimakamis E, Siva R, Costello RW, Chang J, Pierscionek B, Davies N, Vaes AW, Paradiso R, Philip N, Perantoni E, D’Arcy S, Raptopoulos A, Nabhani-Gebara S. BMJ Open 6, 2016,  e011657

On the anti-cataractogenic effects of L-carnosine:  Is it best described as an antioxidant, metal chelating agent or glycation inhibitor? Abdelkader H, Longman M, Alany RG, Pierscionek BK, Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2016, 1-11, doi:10.1155/2016/3240261

Gradient moduli lens models:how material properties and application of forces can affect deformation and distribution of stress. Wang K, Venetsanos D, Wang J, Pierscionek BK, Scientific Reports, 2016, 6, doi: 10.1038/srep31171

Abdelkader, H., Longman, M., Alany, R.G., Pierscionek, B.. Phytosome-hyaluronic acid systems for ocular delivery of L-carnosine. International J.Nanomedicine 11, 2815-27(2016)

Rumbold J. and Pierscionek B.K. Why patients shouldn’t “own” their medical records.Nature Biotechnology 34, 586 (2016)

Alteration in refractive index profile during accommodation based on mechanical modelling. Bahrami M, Haidari A, Pierscionek BK, Biomedical Optics Express, 2016, 7, 99-110

The eye lens: age-related trends and individual variations in refractive index and shape parameters. Pierscionek BK, Bahrami M, Hoshino M, Uesugi K, Regini J, Yagi N, Oncotarget, 2015, 31, 30532-30544

Refractive index degeneration in older lenses: a potential functional correlate to structural changes that underlie cataract formation. Bahrami M, Hoshino M, Pierscionek BK, Yagi N, Regini J, Uesugi K, Experimental Eye Research, 2015, 140, 19-27

Composite Modified Luneberg model of human eye lens. Gómez-Correa JE, Balderas-Mata SE, Pierscionek BK and Chávez-Cerda S, Optics Letters, 2015, 40, 3739-3742

Analytical and physicochemical characterisation of the senile cataract drug dipeptide beta alanyl-L-histidine (carnosine). Abdelkader H, Swinden J, Pierscionek BK and Alany RG, Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, 2015, 114, 241-246

Myopic shift during Hyperbaric Oxygenation Attributed to Lens Index Changes. Evanger K, Pierscionek BK, Vaagbø G, Thorsen E, Haugen OH, Optometry and Vision Science, 2015,  92, 1076-1084

The effect of cataract on early stage glaucoma detection using spatial and temporal contrast sensitivity tests. Klein H, Pierscionek BK, Lauritzen J, Derntl K, Grzybowski A and Zlatkova M, PLoS ONE, 2015, 10(6): e0128681

Analysis of 2-oxothiazolidine-4-carboxylic acid by hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography: application for ocular delivery using chitosan nanoparticles. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, Al-Kinani A, Naughton DP, Calabrese G, Vangala A, Smith JR, Pierscionek BK, Alany RG, 2015, 407, 2645-2650

Critical appraisal of alternative irritation models: three decades of testing ophthalmic pharmaceuticals. Alany RG, Abdelkader H, Pierscionek B, Carew M, British Medical Bulletin, 2015, 113, 59-71

See all of Barbara Pierscionek's publications...

Press expertise

  • Eye research and eye disease focusing on the lens and cornea, cataract and glaucoma
  • Visual and cognitive development and loss of vision with age
  • Nanotechnologies for drug treatments
  • Optics
  • Biomechanics
  • Assisted living
  • Ethico-legal aspects of Big Data.