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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


Universities (Glasgow, Strathclyde, Newcastle, Liverpool)

Charities (e.g. Arthritis Research UK)

Target collaborative companies

Life Science (SME)


External positions

Honorary Lecturer, University of Glasgow

1 Apr 201431 Mar 2019


  • 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

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

Osteoarthritis Medicine & Life Sciences
Muscle Cells Medicine & Life Sciences
Chondrocytes Medicine & Life Sciences
Cartilage Medicine & Life Sciences
Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt Medicine & Life Sciences
Muscle Chemical Compounds
Insulin Medicine & Life Sciences
Insulin Resistance Medicine & Life Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1999 2018

pollution policy
health policy
atmospheric pollution
particulate matter

Assessment of the effects of exercise on a murine model of OA

Huesa, C., Dunning, L., Macdougall, K., Ortiz, A., Villaluz, M. M., Fegen, M., Crilly, A., Litherland, G., MacKenzie, A., van't Hof, R., Goodyear, C. & Lockhart, J. 8 Jan 2018 (Accepted/In press)

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

Tibial Meniscus

Cytokine-induced cysteine- serine-rich nuclear protein-1 (CSRNP1) selectively contributes to MMP1 expression in human chondrocytes

Macdonald, C. D., Falconer, A. M. D., Chan, C. M., Wilkinson, D. J., Skelton, A., Reynard, L., Litherland, G. J., Europe-Finner, G. N. & Rowan, A. D. 15 Nov 2018 In : PLoS ONE. 13, 11, 16 p., e0207240

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
nuclear proteins
Nuclear Proteins
Activating Transcription Factor 3

Protein kinase D3 modulates MMP1 and MMP13 expression in human chondrocytes

Baker, J., Falconer, A., Wilkinson, D. J., Europe-Finner, G. N., Litherland, G. & Rowan, A. D. 13 Apr 2018 In : PLoS ONE. 13, 4, 19 p., e0195864

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
interstitial collagenase
Matrix Metalloproteinase 1
Matrix Metalloproteinase 13

Rheumatic disease: protease-activated receptor-2 in synovial joint pathobiology

McCulloch, K., McGrath, S., Huesa, C., Dunning, L., Litherland, G., Crilly, A., Hultin, L., Ferrell, W. R., Lockhart, J. & Goodyear, C. 23 May 2018 In : Frontiers in Endocrinology. 9, 257

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Open Access
PAR-2 Receptor
Rheumatic Diseases


Asthma/COPD Project of the Year, 19th Northern Ireland Healthcare Awards 2018

Lorraine Martin (Recipient), Lorcan McGarvey (Recipient), Fionnuala Lundy (Recipient), Gary Litherland (Recipient), John Lockhart (Recipient), Anne Crilly (Recipient), Carl Goodyear (Recipient), Keith Thornbury (Recipient), Mark Hollywood (Recipient), Gerard Sergeant (Recipient) & Noel McHale (Recipient), 22 Feb 2018

Prize: National/international honour


Gary Litherland (Recipient), 2014

Prize: Election to learned society

Activities 2008 2019

BREATH PI Meeting, Belfast (QUB)

Lockhart, J. (Speaker), Crilly, A. (Speaker), Litherland, G. (Speaker)
15 Jan 2019

Activity: Participation in workshop, seminar, course

BREATH team meeting with Clinical team at Ayr Hospital

Lockhart, J. (Participant), Litherland, G. (Organiser), Brzeszczynska, J. (Participant), Karen Bell (Participant), Anur Guhan (Participant)
28 Feb 2019

Activity: Other

Meeting with Glasgow Respiratory Clinicians

Lockhart, J. (Participant), MacKenzie, A. (Organiser), Litherland, G. (Participant), Crilly, A. (Participant), MacKay, W. (Participant), Williams, C. (Participant), Brzeszczynska, J. (Participant), Bailo, M. (Presenter), McCallum, K. (Presenter), Bryn Short (Presenter), Black, K. (Presenter), Tarhini, F. (Presenter), David Anderson (Participant), Hannah Bayes (Participant), Pallavai Bedi (Participant)
8 Feb 2019

Activity: Other

BREATH team meeting with Clinical & Biomedical Team at Dumfries & Gallloway Royal Infirmary

Lockhart, J. (Organiser), Litherland, G. (Organiser), Brzeszczynska, J. (Participant), Carly Woods (Participant), Phyllis Murphie (Participant), Adele Foster (Participant)
13 Mar 2019

Activity: Other

Press / Media

Scientists honoured for their bid to ease lung disease misery

John Lockhart, Gary Litherland, Anne Crilly, Carl Goodyear, Lorraine Martin, Keith Thornbury, Mark Hollywood, Gerard Sergeant, Fionnuala Lundy & Lorcan McGarvey


1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Research

Health Gong for Uni Link

John Lockhart, Gary Litherland, Anne Crilly, Iain McLellan, Andrew Hursthouse & Carl Goodyear


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Research


John Lockhart, Gary Litherland & Anne Crilly


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Research


Mari Bailo

Kimberly Black

Margaret Fegen

Tibial Meniscus

Kirsty McCallum

PAR-2 Receptor
Premature Aging
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Scott Nicholson