Surgical Discovery Centre

The newly established Surgical Discovery Centre directed by Prof. Matthew Allen,  is a hub for developing new surgical techniques and spinning out ideas in partnership with Cambridge Enterprises. Our vision is to use research to drive the development of innovative solutions to contemporary problems in both small animal and human surgery. Key focus areas within the Surgical Discovery Centre include the development of better total joint replacement implants, limb sparing implants for patients with bone cancer, improved diagnostic techniques and treatment options for bone and joint infections.



Matthew Allen- Professor of small animal surgery.

Matthew graduated from the University of Cambridge with a veterinary degree (1991) and PhD in orthopaedics (1995). After post-doctoral training at Purdue University, He took up a research-intensive faculty appointment in Orthopedic Surgery at the Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, where he set up and ran a program on preclinical orthopaedic animal models. In 2008, He moved to the veterinary school at The Ohio State University. As director of the Surgical Research Laboratory, He performed preclinical and clinical trials in the areas of total joint replacement, orthopaedic oncology, spine surgery, regenerative medicine and osteoarthritis. In September 2014, Matthew was elected Professor of Small Animal Surgery at Cambridge. In this new position he combines clinical interests in total joint replacement (with a particular emphasis on primary and revision total knee replacement) with an expanded preclinical and clinical research effort through the newly established Surgical Discovery Centre. Matthew also participates in campus-wide research initiatives such as the Cambridge Centre for Musculoskeletal Repair, Regeneration and Replacement (r3) and the Cambridge Cancer Centre. 

Claudia Zindl - Research Assistant.

Claudia graduated in 2000 as a veterinarian from the Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover, Germany she went to do a Master’s thesis in Mexican Wolf Semen Cryopreservation at the St. Louis Zoo / St. Louis University, St Louis, MO. Thereafter she completed an additional project with Mexican zoos extracting reproductive hormones from Mexican wolf feaces to assess their reproductive cycles. Back in Germany Claudia worked as a veterinarian in a mixed practice focussed on pig health for four years, She then worked in a busy small animal referral clinic in Hannover, Germany for five years, followed by a one year surgical internship at Fitzpatrick Referrals, UK and a two year surgical research fellowship at The Ohio State University – Veterinary Medical Center,  Columbus, OH. During her fellowship she carried out biomechanical testing of novel orthopaedic spinal implants for dogs and worked on canine spinal implant retrieval histology.


Charlotte Palmer - PhD Veterinary Sciences (Oncology)

Charlotte graduated in 2014 with a first class honours degree in Biomedical Science from the University of Plymouth.  She went on to complete an internship at the University of Plymouth working on proteomic patterns in prostate cancer, and also gained further experience in molecular biology from projects at the Open University. She was awarded a scholarship from St Johns College Cambridge to complete her masters degree at Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute. During this time, she invested the deregulation of specific chromatin remodelling complexes in colorectal cancer. Charlotte is currently working towards her PhD in the Surgical Discovery Centre where her work focuses on the molecular mechanisms that drive the growth and spread of pediatric musculoskeletal tumors in humans and canines.


Fran Penrose Engineering Student

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Fran is in her 4th year in the Department of Engineering - studying Mechanical and Bioengineering. Her project is under the  joint supervision of Dr Michael Sutcliffe and Professor Matthew Allen.

 The aim of the project is to establish whether accelerometers can be used to measure the forces a dog exerts on the ground during motion. This would be to allow data gathering in a more realistic environment, where the speed and directions of movement are not fixed by the type of test. Combining the ground forces with joint angle data will allow rough estimations of the magnitudes of forces in the leg joints, which could be used to help test the suitability and efficacy of different types of total knee replacement in dogs.


Sara Ahmed Hassouna Elsayed PhD Veterinary Medicine

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Sara graduated in 2012 from The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Alexandria University, Egypt, among the top 5 of her class. She then worked as an Assistant lecturer/researcher in the Department of Surgery there from April 2013, where her duties included as a Surgeon in the Veterinary School Surgery Clinic.She was awarded her MSC degree in Veterinary Medical Science from the same University working on Augmentation Cystoplasty in dogs in November 2015, and then she successfully applied for a PhD studentship at University of Cambridge.

Sara’s study is sponsored via Newton-Mosharafa Scholarship a mutual fund between the British Council & the Egyptian Ministry of Higher education as well as the Cambridge Trust. She is working toward her PhD in the Surgical Discovery Centre, Department of Veterinary Medicine, under supervision of Prof. Matthew Allen in a project looking at innovative tissue engineering approaches for bone regeneration, which involves in vitro and in vivo studies on mesenchymal stem cells in combination with different 3D printed scaffolds.


PhD Placement for Robotic Analysis - Biomedical Engineering


We are delighted to welcome Petra Bonacic Bartolin for a 3 month visit combining engineering with orthopaedic research, under the joint supervision of Professors Michael Sutcliffe and Matthew Allen.

Petra graduated from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, University of Zagreb, Croatia in 2011.

In 2019, Petra won a short – term fellowship in the University of Cambridge, which will involve experimental testing on the canine knee model to determine and compare the biomechanical parameters of biologically healthy knee joints and those who have an implant. The research is also carried out in order to improve the testing protocol, based on the processed data, and to improve the existing prosthesis and methods for treating damaged knee joints in dogs.

Recently she got National Award for best paper Biomechanical flaws of cutting-edge approaches in ACL repair surgery tested on a sheep model,18th ESSKA Congress, 9-12 May 2018 in Glasgow, Scotland, UK.