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Personal profile

Area of academic expertise - outline

I am a cell biologist with interests in pro-inflammatory signalling networks and regulation of gene expression, especially with regard to the activity of proteases and extracellular matrix turnover in disease, particularly osteoarthritis and co-morbidities such as obesity.

Consequently I have applied expertise in joint/cartilage and adipose tissue biology and a range of techniques encompassing in vivo disease and exercise models, tissue explant and 2D/3D cell culture, immunohisto/cytochemistry, microscopy, protein chemistry and proteolysis (particularly matrix metalloproteinases), gene expression modification and transcriptomic analyses, in order to study disease mechanisms.

Current research activities

My primary research focus is on elucidating the molecular mechanisms underpinning the importance of proteinase-activated receptor 2 (PAR2) in osteoarthritis, the most prevalent musculoskeletal disease. PAR2 exhibits profound roles in joint destruction/remodelling, inflammation and pain, making this protease sensor an attractive potential target for new therapeutics. This work has been a key stimulus leading me to develop new and collaborative interests in complementary areas such as bone biology, exercise physiology, mechanotransduction, wound healing and mesenchymal stem cells.

I have recently become very active in respiratory science as part of BREATH (Border and REgions Airways Training Hub): a major cross-border partnership (academic/clinical/enterprise) focused on better understanding, treatment, diagnosis, management and awareness of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). I lead studies elucidating novel roles for PARs and other therapeutic targets in premature lung aging, airway epithelial and smooth muscle function, and regulation of key ion channels.

 

Desired research direction

The goal of my research on PAR2 and other therapeutic targets is to inform and facilitate the development of new therapeutic agents that will positively impact the lives of patients blighted by chronic diseases such as osteoarthritis and COPD. As my work continues to yield new insights into disease mechanisms and illuminate novel potential drug targets, I will seek to exploit this knowledge and expertise in partnership with commercial organisations, to expedite translation of scientific findings toward solutions realising patient benefit.  

Target collaborative organisations

NHS

Universities (Glasgow, Strathclyde, Newcastle, Liverpool)

Charities (e.g. Arthritis Research UK)

Target collaborative companies

Life Science (SME)

Pharma

External positions

Honorary Lecturer, University of Glasgow

1 Apr 201431 Mar 2019

Keywords

  • QP Physiology
  • Arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • Cartilage
  • Adipose
  • Inflammation
  • Protease
  • Extracellular Matrix
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase
  • Obesity
  • Proteinase-activated receptor 2
  • Cell Signalling
  • Gene expression
  • Cytokine
  • Tissue Remodelling
  • Leptin
  • Chondrocyte

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