This cluster encompasses research on health, inflammation cancer and cardiovascular biology. It has particular expertise in primary cell isolation and culture ranging from vascular smooth muscle, endothelial and inflammatory cells, 3-D organoid and tumouroid models and gut and eye organotypic culture. Research advances are facilitated by considerable portfolio of funding from UKRI (BBSRC, Stokes, O’Connell, Warren), British Heart Foundation (Warren) and Diabetes UK (Warren) NNHCT (Sanderson).
- Advances in vascular tissue pharmacology uncovering mechanisms of stem cells migration with therapeutic potential for restenosis and development of new drugs for patients with vascular diseases (Warren).
- O’Connell along with multidisciplinary team of researchers (JIC and Ghent University) developed a novel plant transient transfection technology for rapid preparative access to plant-derived molecules.
- Stokes identified ginsenosides as novel potent allosteric modulators of P2X7 channels that may account for some of the reported immune modulatory actions of protopanaxdiol ginsenosides in vivo (followed with a BBSRC-grant).
- Sanderson demonstrated that human mesenchymal stem cells and platelet-derived growth factor provide significant protection to cells of the human retina, supporting observations seen in rodent models of optic nerve injury.
- Sobolewski identified novel autocrine and paracrine signalling loops in the gut epithelium vital for maintaining gut homeostasis.
- Mueller described a role for PKC and PKD in CXCL12 directed Prostate Cancer Migration.
This research cluster is led by Professor Maria O’Connell.
Prof Maria O'ConnellProf O’Connell’s research interests lie in age-related disease and cellular antioxidants as well as dietary, plant and marine bioactives and mechanisms of action in inflammation and chronic disease. Prof O’Connell also investigates novel therapeutics for cancer.
Prof Anja MuellerProf Mueller’s investigates the role of chemokine receptors in cancer metastasis and novel therapeutics for cancer treatment. Research in this group also extends to studying the activation patterns of chemokine receptors in inflammatory disease
Dr Julie SandersonDr Sanderson’s research areas include understanding the mechanisms underlying retinal ganglion cell neurodegradation in glaucoma and purinergic signalling in ocular disease. Dr Sanderson also develops ex vivo human tissue models for the study of ocular disease and toxicology.
Dr Anastasia SobolewskiDr Sobolewski’s research group is interested in the mucosal immunology of the gut and lung and in particular, how immune cells (monocytes, macrophages and granulocytes) regulate epithelial regeneration in health, inflammation and cancer. Dr Sobolewski has a number of primary 3-D ex vivo organ and organoids and tumouroid models for the study of lung and gut diseases.
Dr Leanne StokesDr Stokes' lab has expertise in the pharmacology of purinergic ion channels and purinergic receptor signalling pathways in immune cells. Dr Stokes also studies inflammatory signalling in glial cells.
Dr Derek WarrenDr Warren’s research focusses on the mechanisms of vascular cell contraction, migration and mechanotransduction. Dr Warren also develops experimental models using hydrogels to better represent healthy and disease vascular environments.