Key Research Interests and Expertise

My primary research interest is the molecular pathology of soft connective tissues such as tendon and ligament. These tissues are common sites of injury, often affected by long-term pain and prone to rupture, even in non-athletic individuals. Our research uses techniques of cell and molecular biology, histology, immunohistochemistry and biochemistry. We collaborate with clinicians and surgeons at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, in particular the Institute of Orthopaedics, to obtain human tissue samples for analysis.

Current Research Projects

These include: 1) the development of in vitro models to study tendon cell biology 2) mechanobiology: investigating the mechanism of the cell response to applied mechanical load 3) tendon biomechanics: investigating the physical properties of the tendon extracellular matrix 4) clinical tissue studies: investigating cell and molecular changes in human connective tissue pathology.

Life in our research group

We investigate a number of questions relating to the causes of tendon pain and rupture. We occupy space in the Biomedical Research Centre, a modern purpose-built research building that is well equipped for cell and molecular biology. The open-plan laboratory brings us into everyday contact with other researchers with similar interests. We are part of the Cellular Protease Group (CPG), which has a broad interest in the role of proteases in a variety of different diseases. We are also an integral part of the Musculoskeletal Research Group, which has research interests in cartilage, bone, tendon, ligament and fascia, all common sites of joint disease. We collaborate with scientists and clinicians in UEA and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, as well as colleagues outside the Norwich Research Park. For example, we have a major and growing collaboration with a team of biomedical engineers from Queen Mary, University of London. Our work is funded by major charities, such as Arthritis Research UK and The Wellcome Trust, as well as local charities such as Action Arthritis. We have regular lab meetings, attend seminars, and engage with other scientists from a range of disciplines at national and international research meetings. In a typical year we will present our work at the biannual conferences of the British Society for Matrix Biology and the annual conference of the British Society for Rheumatology. Highlights in 2013 include a plenary lecture at the Combined Orthopaedic Research Society meeting in Venice, Italy, and a keynote lecture at the International Symposium on Ligaments and Tendons in Arezzo, Italy.

PhD Positions

Click here for current PhD opportunities in Biological Sciences. But feel free to email me to discuss projects outside these areas and alternative sources of funding.

Postdocs & Fellows

I am always pleased to discuss possible research collaborations, grant applications and opportunities for graduate and postdoctoral appointments in my group. We can explore potential funding routes such as project grant applications and fellowships from bodies such as Arthritis Research UK, MRC, BBSRC, and the Wellcome Trust.

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