Interdisciplinary Centre for Implant Research (IRIS)

Spearheading interdisciplinary research into the provision and use of medical implants and devices to promote patient safety and quality of care, and to examine how implants impact being human.

Knee implants - Image via Shutterstock
An Iris - Image via Shutterstock

IRIS is the only research centre of its kind that aims to map, interrogate and illuminate the field of medical implants, connecting multidisciplinary researchers in this area. Medical implants are devices that are inserted into the human body to replace, support or augment an existing biological structure, for medical and/or cosmetic reasons. Focusing primarily on high-risk, paused and banned products, IRIS provides critical, evidence-based insights on controversial implants such as breast implants, surgical mesh, and metal-on-metal hip implants. It also serves as a ready-made, expert unit that can mobilise quickly to respond to urgent, unanticipated and emerging implant-related issues.

Working with existing national and international collaborators, interdisciplinary researchers at IRIS are investigating developments and interventions relating to medical implants across three key themes:

  • Health and wellbeing impacts upon patients and consumers, including how shifting policies and clinical practices affect patient and consumer behaviour, decision-making and patient-reported outcomes
  • Social and psychological impacts on identities, relationships and inequalities (e.g. concerning gender, class, and race)
  • Political and criminology issues in relation to regulation and reports of patient harm

Future work at IRIS aims to include:

  • Ethical debates, legal frameworks and regulatory norms, practices and policies
  • Industrial manufacture and promotion of medtech devices for diverse markets
  • Posthumanist futures implied by the globalisation of medical implant technologies and their incorporation into everyday life
  • Bioscientific, laboratory-based evidence and its integration and dissemination within wider clinical, regulatory, manufacturing and commercial implant practices


Research at IRIS is undertaken in collaboration with partners from a range of disciplines and interdisciplinary fields, from medicine to sociology, gender studies to medical ethics and law, technology to toxicology.

  • Professor Nik Brown (Professor of Sociology - University of York)
  • Professor Marie-Andree Jacob (Professor of Law - University of Leeds)
  • Professor Dr Jan Willem Cohen Tervaert (Professor of Immunology - University of Alberta, Canada)
  • James Cook (Breast Implant Victim Advocacy, Texas, USA)
  • Nicole Daruda (Founder of Breast Implant Illness and Healing, and Director of the Healing Breast Implant Illness Society, North America)
  • Dr Henry Dijkman (HAN University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands)
  • Professor Fabio Santanelli di Pompeo (Professor in Plastic Surgery, Sapienza University, Rome Italy)
  • Erick Vogelenzang (President, Patient Advocacy)
  • Sharma K, Gilmour A, Jones G, O’Donoghue JM (2022). A descriptive systematic review of outcomes following the treatment of breast implant associated anapaestic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). Submitted to JPRAS Open (The Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery (14th May 2022).
  • Staniford LJ, Gough B, Ashley, L, Wyld L, Sharma, K, Deva, A, Sharma, B, Jones GL. What psycho-social issues are reported by women who are concerned about or diagnosed with breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)?: a systematic review. Completed and manuscript in preparation for submission to Psycho-Oncology.

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