Arthritis Research UK Medical Research Council

CIMA Profiles - Newcastle University

CIMA is led by the Centre Director, Professor Eugene McCloskey, in collaboration with Site Directors Professor Malcolm Jackson and Professor John Loughlin. To view the profiles of our Directors, Co-Investigators, Research Collaborators and Students at each site, please click on the 'View Profiles' buttons at the bottom of this page.


Collaborators

Dr Fraser Birrell

Newcastle University

Dr Birrell is an Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer in the Institute of Cellular Medicine, and is part of the Musculoskeletal Research Group in Newcastle. He is the Centre's Impact and Engagement lead

Dr Hyang-Min Byun

Newcastle University

Dr Hyang-Min Byun is a Newcastle University Research Fellow in the Institute of Cellular Medicine. 

Research interests: epigenetic epidemiology, effects of diet on human health through DNA methylation changes

CIMA MRes Student

Ms Sharmilla Chandrasegaran

Newcastle University

I graduated with a BSc in Biomedical Sciences from Newcastle University in 2018. My dissertation involved constructing bioinformatics workflows for the analysis of time course data in tgfb1 signalling. I am currently based in the Centre for Ageing and Vitality, where I am working on my MRes project under the supervision of Dr. Daryl Shanley. The focus of my research involves using systems approaches to identify and model age-related changes in the miR:mRNA interaction network regulating collagen maintenance in dermal fibroblasts.

Ms Sharmilla Chandrasegaran

Collaborators

Ms Alison Clapp

Newcastle University

Ms Clapp is e-Learning Teaching Fellow in the Centre for  Ageing and Vitality. Ms Clapp is Module Coordinator for the Biology of Ageing Module, delivered as part of the CIMA MRes in Musculoskeletal Ageing.

CIMA PhD Student

Mr Raul Fulea

Newcastle University

PhD project: Investigation of the effect of age-related methylation changes within enhancer regions on target gene expression using CRISPR-Ca9 technology 

PhD supervisors: Dr Louise Reynard (Newcastle), Professor David Young (Newcastle), Professor George Bou-Gharios (Liverpool)

CIMA MRes Student

Ms Eleanor Hayes

Newcastle University

Eleanor Hayes graduated with a BSc in Exercise and Sport Science from the University of Exeter in 2018. Her undergraduate dissertation investigated the efficacy of cherry powder in enhancing rowing performance. Her previous research has examined the effects of a high-nitrate beetroot supplement on the performance and oxygen cost of moderate intensity exercise and sprint cycling. Eleanor's current research is investigating whole food approaches to enhance exercise recovery, muscular strength and functional performance in older adults.

Mr Dan J Hayman

Newcastle University

I studied Genetics at an undergraduate level at the University of Sheffield and graduated with first class honours. Alongside my final year of undergraduate studies, I also volunteered in the Simons Lab at the University of Sheffield, investigating links between dietary restriction and ageing using fruitflies. I am now an MRes student in the Young Lab at Newcastle University, investigating the effects of noncoding RNAs on ageing and osteoarthritis, and following the completion of my MRes I will continue on as part of the Young Lab to undertake a three year PhD.

Mr Dan J Hayman

Collaborators

Dr Thomas Hill

Newcastle University

Dr Hill is Senior Lecturer at the Human Nutrition Research Centre.

CIMA PhD Studentship Co-Supervisor: 'The effect of age and body weight in vitamin D metabolism.'

Research Interests: Nutrition and musculoskeletal health, micronutrients and health, vitamin D

Dr Thomas Hill

Professor Carol Jagger

Newcastle University

Professor Jagger is AXA Professor of Epidemiology of Ageing at the Institute for Ageing and Health.

Research interests: demography and epidemiology of ageing with a focus on late life functioning, both physical and mental, and including measurement as well as determinants and consequences for care.

Professor Carol Jagger

CIMA MRes Student

Ms Yulia Kehayova

Newcastle University

I got my undergraduate degree in Forensic Science from the University of Central Lancashire. I was then accepted onto the CIMA project and am working currently on an MRes project in Newcastle University under the supervision of Prof. John Loughlin and Dr. Sarah Rice. For the project I will be characterising a mQTL operating on a previously identified OA susceptibility marker.

Ms Yulia Kehayova

Directors

Professor John Loughlin

Newcastle University

Biography: Professor Loughlin is a molecular and cell biologist with a background in genetics. His first degree was in applied biochemistry at Liverpool John Moores University followed by a PhD in developmental biology at the University of Leeds. His postdoctoral studies were undertaken in the group of Professor Bryan Sykes at the Institute of Molecular Medicine at the University of Oxford. These involved a molecular genetic analysis of diseases of the musculoskeletal system. He subsequently obtained a fellowship from the Arthritis Research Campaign (now known as Arthritis Research UK) and established a group at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics. At that point his focus became the genetic analysis of osteoarthritis (OA). In 2002 he was awarded a tenured lectureship at Oxford and in 2008 moved to Newcastle as Professor of Musculoskeletal Research. Professor Loughlin is Professor of Musculoskeletal Research in the Institute of Cellular Medicine. 

Research: My group's principal research focus is identifying and then characterising those genes that confer risk towards the development and progression of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common disease involving loss of normal joint function. It is painful, debilitating and impacts not only on the quality of life but also on the length of life (http://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/conditions/osteoarthritis.aspx).The form of the disease that we mostly work on is the one that arises without an obvious cause, such as in the absence of a clear injury. This form of OA, known as primary OA, affects older people.

A number of epidemiological studies have demonstrated that OA has a large genetic component. Through the application of powerful genome-wide association scans involving tens of thousands of OA patients we have identified a number genes harbouring susceptibility alleles for OA. Our efforts are directed toward comprehensive functional analysis of the risk alleles within these genes and in others that are emerging from ongoing scans (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3575889).

Professor John Loughlin

Co-Investigators

Professor John Mathers

Newcastle University

Biography: Professor Mathers graduated with a BSc in Agricultural Biochemistry and Nutrition from Newcastle University in 1971. He was awarded a Diploma in Nutrition (with Distinction) from University of Cambridge in 1973 and PhD from University of Cambridge in 1979. Professor Mathers undertook post-doctoral training in the Department of Applied Biology in the University of Cambridge and in the Department of Tropical Animal Health, University of Edinburgh. In 1983 he was appointed as Lecturer in Human Nutrition in Newcastle University. In 1994, he established the Human Nutrition Research Centre, Newcastle University and was appointed Professor of Human Nutrition in Newcastle University in 1995. 

Research interests: John’s major research interests are in understanding the role of diet in the aetiology and prevention of common age-related diseases and in the modulation of the ageing process. This research includes studies from the molecular and cellular levels to large-scale human intervention trials. He has a particular interest in diet-gene interactions. His current work includes the LiveWell Programme which is developing and piloting lifestyle-based interventions to promote healthy ageing and developing tools to measure the healthy ageing phenotype. In addition, he is using post-genomic technologies to i) develop and test biomarkers of bowel cancer risk which are modifiable by dietary factors, ii) investigate of the effect of nutrient supply in utero on health in later life with a particular focus on the role of epigenetic mechanisms and iii) develop novel biomarkers of dietary exposure using metabolomics approaches. 

Professor Mathers’ research is funded by the MRC through the LifeLong Health and Wellbeing initiative, the BBSRC and the EU.

Professor John Mathers

Collaborators

Dr João Passos

Newcastle University

Dr Passos is a Reader in Biology of Ageing at the Institute for Ageing and Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences.

Research interests: Molecular mechanisms involved in ageing, in particular the role of mitochondrial ROS production and its interaction with telomeres, the role of cysteine oxidation in ageing, systems biology approaches to study the ageing process.

CIMA PhD Student

Miss Giorgia Perri

Newcastle University


I studied Zoology as an Undergraduate at Newcastle University and achieved a first class honours. I then went on to study an Animal Behaviour MRes looking into nicotine addiction in bumblebees. I worked in the Bee Laboratory for two summers owned by the Institute of Neuroscience in the university where we focused on honeybee nutrition. I am currently an MRes student in the Institute of Cellular Medicine at Newcastle University where I will be exploring the associations between musculoskeletal outcomes and nutrition, specifically selenium using the Newcastle 85+ data. This will allow me to begin my PhD which will continue the research of selenium and musculoskeletal issues, with special attention given to osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.


Miss Giorgia Perri

Collaborators

Dr Arthur Pratt

Newcastle University

Dr Pratt is Intermediate Clinical Fellow at the Institute of  Cellular Medicine and and Honorary Consultant Rheumatologist  at the Freeman Hospital. 

Research interests: I am interested in how an improved understanding of the aetiopathogenesis of early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) might improve our ability to diagnose and treat patients with the disease. My research seeks to identify molecular biomarkers that begin to stratify this highly heterogeneous condition into subgroups of clinical significance.

Dr Carole Proctor

Newcastle University

Dr Proctor is a Lecturer in the Institute of Cellular Medicine and Institute for Ageing and Programme Director for the CIMA MRes in Musculoskeletal Ageing at Newcastle University.

CIMA PhD Studentship Primary Supervisor: 'Examining the effects of G protein-coupled receptors and inflammatory signalling pathways on cartilage homeostasis using a systems biology approach.'

CIMA PhD Studentship Co-Supervisor: 'Epigenetic regulation of stem cell differentiation to musculoskeletal tissues.'

CIMA PhD Studentship Co-Supervisor: Systems modelling to maintain redox homeostasis in ageing skeletal muscle.'

Research interests: Modelling the molecular mechanisms of ageing such as telomere shortening and uncapping; DNA damage checkpoint response pathways; cell signalling pathways; and the role of chaperones and protein degradation pathways in maintaining protein homeostasis; and the decline of these systems with age. I have extensively modelled the mechanisms and pathways involved in the decline in protein homeostasis and how this leads to the aggregation of proteins. 

Dr Louise Reynard

Newcastle University

Dr Reynard is a Lecturer in the Institute of Cellular Medicine. 

CIMA PhD Studentship Co-Supervisor: 'How does glucose modulate age-related epigenetic alterations in musculoskeletal tissues?' 

CIMA PhD Studentship Co-Supervisor: 'An examination using murine models of the epigenetic changes that occur with age in bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells.'

Research interests: Dr Reynard’s research is focused on the functional characterisation of osteoarthritis (OA) susceptibility loci that have been identified by the arcOGEN consortium. Elucidating the molecular mechanisms that underlie the susceptibility mediated by these genes will increase our understanding of OA etiology, potentially aid diagnosis and treatment, and will suggest relevant targets for therapeutic investigation. Louise is also interested in the molecular interplay between genetics and epigenetics in OA susceptibility, in particular, how DNA methylation can modulate the effect of genetic variation on disease penetrance and severity. She is currently looking at the effect DNA methylation has on the expression of the OA susceptibility gene GDF5 in different synovial joint tissues.

Professor Drew Rowan

Newcastle University


Professor Rowan is Professor of Molecular Rheumatology in the Institute of Cellular Medicine.

CIMA PhD Studentship Primary Supervisor: 'The effect of cartilage-dependent matriptase activity on remodelling events in cartilage and bone in health and disease,'

CIMA PhD Studentship Co-Supervisor: 'Examining the effects of G protein-coupled receptors and inflammatory signalling pathways on cartilage homeostasis using a systems biology approach.'

Research Interests: I am a proteinase biochemist with an interest in the molecular mechanisms that regulate enzymic activity and the transcriptional control of proteinase genes within the setting of joint diseases such as rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.

Professor Drew Rowan

Professor Avan Sayer

Newcastle University

Professor Sayer is Professor of Geriatric Medicine and Director of the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre (BRC).

Biography: I am Director of the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) and we were delighted to be awarded £16.2M for a further 5 years funding in the most recent national competition. Newcastle’s reputation for excellence in ageing research across the translational pathway combined with the opportunity to lead the BRC, considered by many to be the ‘jewel in the crown’ of NIHR research infrastructure, were key to my decision to move to Newcastle. My clinical speciality is geriatric medicine and I have international recognition in the field of Geriatrics and Gerontology for my research on ageing, sarcopenia (the age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass and function), frailty and multimorbidity. Major research contributions to date include i) discovery of early life influences on human ageing; ii) development of a life course approach to sarcopenia and frailty using clinical, epidemiological and biological approaches; and iii) innovative ageing experimental medicine to optimise health and healthcare in later life.

I was previously an MRC Principal Investigator, Programme Leader and Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, where I now hold a Visiting Professor position. Other current roles include Secretary to the UK Association of Academic Geriatric Medicine, Member of the Academic Board of the European Union Geriatric Medicine Society, Associate Editor at Age and Ageing and recently Raine Visiting Professor at the University of Western Australia. I serve on a number of UK and international advisory committees and expert panels.

Research: The three main aims of the BRC are: to drive innovation in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of ill-health through early translational (experimental medicine) research; to translate advances in biomedical research into benefits for patients, the health system and for broader economic gain; and to provide a key component of the NHS contribution to national and international competitiveness. So we are now perfectly positioned to exploit Newcastle’s established track record in experimental medicine and apply it to optimising health and healthcare in ageing and long-term conditions. A particular focus will be sustainable capacity building in ageing experimental medicine in the North East and wider, building on my track record of setting up a flourishing NIHR integrated academic training programme in geriatric medicine and leading an innovative interdisciplinary gerontology group in Southampton prior to moving to Newcastle.

Dr Daryl Shanley

Newcastle University

Dr Shanley is a Senior Lecturer in the Institute for Ageing and Health, and Director of the Centre for Integrative Systems Biology of Ageing and Nutrition (CISBAN). 

CIMA PhD Studentship Primary Supervisor: 'Systems modelling to maintain redox homeostasis in ageing skeletal muscle.'

CIMA PhD Studentship Primary Supervisor: 'Modelling the mTOR pathway to optimise the effect of dietary restriction on the musculoskeletal system.'

Research interests: I have spent several years developing mathematical models that examine ageing as an integral part of an optimal life history. One of my main aims is to gain a more in-depth understanding of the ageing process by building models with a solid mechanistic base and making them available for use by others.

Professor Falko Sniehotta

Newcastle University


Professor Sniehotta is a Professor in Behaviour Medicine and Health Psychology in the Institute of Health and Society.

Research Interests: My research programme aims to develop and test: a) theory of behaviour change and b) interventions to change behaviours relevant to health and health care. I am passionate about contributing to the development of an evidence-based science of behaviour change. My research covers a range of behaviours of patients, members of the public and health care professionals and a range of methodologies including randomised controlled trials, systematic reviews, experiments, predictive studies and n-of-1 studies. Much of my empirical work is conducted in interdisciplinary collaboration and I have a particular focus on capacity development and training. 

Professor Falko Sniehotta

Professor Emma Stevenson

Newcastle University

Professor Stevenson is Professor of Sport and Exercise Science at the Institute of Cellular Medicine. 

Research interests: t

he role of nutritional interventions in exercise recovery, e


xercise, nutrition and postprandial glycaemic control, p


rotein, exercise and appetite regulation with a particular focus on dairy proteins, n


utrition, exercise and and healthy ageing.

Professor Sir Doug Turnbull

Newcastle University

Professor Sir Doug Turnbull is Professor of Neurology and Director of the Institute for Ageing and Health and Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Mitochondrial Research

Research interests: Professor Sir Doug Turnbull's major research interest is the role of mitochondrial DNA mutations in disease, exploring the role of mitochondrial abnormalities in neurodegenerative disease, ageing and cancer.

Professor Sir Doug Turnbull

Professor Thomas von Zglinicki

Newcastle University



Professor von Zglinicki is Professor of Cellular Gerontology in the Institute for Ageing and Health.

Research interests: Telomeres appear to be a key to switch human cells between mortality and immortality.  Telomere shortening eventually triggers the check point mechanisms leading to replicative senescence, while maintenance of telomeres, for instance by active telomerase, allows unrestricted growth.  We have shown that a major reason for the shortening of telomeres (in addition to a minor contribution from the end-replication problem) is oxidative damage, combining for the first time the free radical theory of ageing with the telomere hypothesis of cellular senescence (von Zglinicki et al 1995, von Zglinicki et al 2000).  In comparison to the rest of the genome, telomeres are somewhat deficient in single-strand break (base excision) repair (Petersen et al 1998), resulting in telomere-specific accumulation of damage in non-dividing cells, which in turn hinders complete replication of telomeres, leading to telomere shortening during DNA replication (Sitte et al 1998, von Zglinicki 2000).  We demonstrated that free single-stranded G-rich telomeric DNA (free overhangs) are potent trigger for a p53-dependent, senescence-like cell cycle arrest (Saretzki et al 1999).  In addition, we were interested in inhibition of telomerase in tumor cells (Mueller et al 1998) and in the role of protein turnover and lipofuscin accumulation during replicative senescence and postmitotic ageing (Sitte et al 2000a, b).

Cellular ageing and telomere maintenance: Accelerated telomere shortening due to increased oxidative stress results in premature ageing of normal cells, while senescence can be delayed if the telomere shortening rate is decreased by increasing the cell's antioxidative capacity.  Telomerase activation occurs most probable at crisis, and can result in immortal growth.

Professor David Young

Newcastle University


Professor Young is Professor of Musculoskeletal Biology in the Institute of Genetic Medicine.

CIMA PhD Studentship Primary Supervisor: 'Epigenetic regulation of stem cell differentiation to muscuolskeletal tissue,'

CIMA PhD Studentship Co-Supervisor: 'Inflamm-ageing and tissue homeostasis: how does inflammatory mediator TGFβ regulate the synthesis of degradation-resistant type 1 collagen (l).'

Research Interests: My research interests include the expression and regulation of metalloproteinases (MPs) and their inhibitors the TIMPs, particularly in the context of osteoarthritis (OA). My laboratory focus is how these genes are epigenetically regulated; by microRNAs, DNA methylation and chromatin modifications. We are also investigating the role of mitochondria and the role of ubiquitination in OA.

Main techniques: Gene expression analysis/profiling (Real-time PCR, Taqman Low density arrays, microarray, RNA-seq). Cell signalling analysis. RNAi (siRNA, shRNA). miRNA analysis. Transcription factor analysis (EMSA, mutagenesis, reporter assays). Epigenetic analysis.

Professor David Young