Arthritis Research UK Medical Research Council

CIMA Profiles - University of Liverpool

CIMA is led by the Centre Director, Professor Malcolm Jackson, in collaboration with Site Directors Professor Eugene McCloskey 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.


CIMA PhD Student

Mr Gulam Altab

University of Liverpool

PhD project: The role of regulatory RNAs in the ageing muscle and their modulation by diet

PhD supervisors: Dr João Pedro de Magalhães (Liverpool), Dr Kasia Whysall (Liverpool), Professor David Young (Newcastle)

Collaborators

Professor George Bou-Gharios

University of Liverpool

Professor Bou-Gharios is Professor of Matrix Biology in the Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease.

Research interests: regulation of matrix molecules that maintain connective tissue homeostasis, including in (i) fibrotic diseases where excess deposition of matrix lead to loss of function and (ii) osteoarthritis, where there is increased degradation of matrix leading to failure of cartilage function. 

Co-Investigators

Professor Peter Clegg

University of Liverpool

Biography: Professor Clegg graduated in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Cambridge in 1987. After working as a veterinary surgeon in practice, he undertook a three-year period of postgraduate clinical training in equine orthopaedics at the Royal Veterinary College, University of London. He then moved to the University of Liverpool on a research training scholarship and was awarded a PhD in 1997 for studies investigating proteinases in cartilage degradation in osteoarthritis (OA). Subsequently, Peter was appointed Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer in veterinary orthopaedics and combined clinical and research duties. In 2003, he was awarded a Wellcome Trust Research Leave Fellowship, which he undertook in Professor Tim Hardingham’s laboratory in the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix Research at the University of Manchester investigating chondrocyte phenotype variation in both OA and cartilage regeneration. In 2006 he was appointed to a personal chair in comparative orthopaedics at the University of Liverpool. His research is in human and veterinary musculoskeletal biology, in particular cell and matrix regulation of cartilage and tendon during healthy ageing, regeneration and disease.

Research: Peter’s principle research interest is in understanding how chondrocyte and tenocyte cell phenotype varies, and how this is regulated during physiological and pathological states. There is an emphasis on relating both cartilage matrix degradation through proteinase activities, and cartilage matrix regeneration by the action of the chondrogenic transcription factor SOX9. This has led to a strong interest in posttranscriptional gene regulation, and the mechanisms of how this is controlled, in musculoskeletal tissues. He has had long-term interest in understanding the differences between healthy ageing and pathology, and developing proteomics approaches to quantify matrix turnover to distinguish variations between healthy ageing and OA in cartilage. Finally, he has a strong interest in the role of the osteochondral junction in the development of articular pathology. In tendon, he has developed interests in understanding tenocyte phenotypic variation, and how this can be manipulated. He has a strong interest in determining how tendon ages, and in particular how tendons with different mechanical functions and injury risk, age. Currently he is determining mechanisms of age-related tendon failure. 

Funding: Professor Clegg’s research is funded by Arthritis Research UK, the Wellcome Trust, Horserace Betting Levy Board, BBSRC and the pharmaceutical industry.

Professor Peter Clegg

Collaborators

Dr Dan Cuthbertson

University of Liverpool

Dr Cutbertson is Reader and Honorary Consultant Physician in the Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease.

CIMA PhD Studentship Primary Supervisor: 'Are older people at increased risk of adverse physiological consequences of sedentary behaviour?'

CIMA PhD Studentship Co-Supervisor: 'Impact of physical activity and vitamin D supplementation in obese older adults with musculoskeletal pain: a cross-sectional study and randomised control trial.'

CIMA PhD Studentship Co-Supervisor: 'Combining mechanical loading and anabolic therapy in postmenopausal women - a pilot study.'

Research Interests: Insulin resistance, obesity, insulin signalling, AMPK, skeletal muscle, NASH, PCOS, magnetic resonance spectroscopy, MEN

Dr Kristiaan D’Août

University of Liverpool

Dr D‘Août is a lecturer in the Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease.

Research: He is part of the Evolutionary Morphology and Biomechanics Research Group. His research interests focus on human gait (esp. foot function) and include evolutionary aspects, the impact of footwear, and the diabetic foot. He uses, among others, kinematic, kinetic, and electromyographic techniques in the lab and in the field.

Dr Kristiaan D’Août

CIMA PhD Student

Mr Daniel Green

University of Liverpool

PhD project: Nutritional modulation of epigenetic signatures of musculoskeletal ageing

PhD supervisors: Dr Elizabeth Laird (Liverpool), Professor Peter Clegg (Liverpool)

Collaborators

Dr Jacqui-Ann Hanley

University of Liverpool

I am the CIMA Centre Manager and I am responsible for the day-to-day management and coordination of the Centre. I have a background in Cellular & Molecular Physiology, and I have previously worked in grants management at multiple medical research charities.

Dr Jacqui-Ann Hanley

Dr James Henstock

University of Liverpool

Dr Henstock is a Tenure Track Fellow, based at the Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease. 

Research interests: tissue engineering of cartilage and bone, and particularly the application of advanced technologies to treat age-related diseases such as arthritis and osteoporosis.

Dr Lesley Iwanejko

University of Liverpool

Dr Iwanejko is a Lecturer in Genetics in the Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease.

Research: Dr Iwanejko's specific interests are in interdisciplinary research and include using molecular techniques to study DNA repair and recombination processes in fungi, recently extending this to include studying the role of DNA damage and modifications and the ageing process in human volunteers and in model organisms.

Directors

Professor Malcolm Jackson

University of Liverpool

Biography: Professor Jackson graduated with a BSc in Biochemistry from the University of Surrey in 1974, completed a PhD at University College London in 1980, was awarded a DSc in 1994 and FRCPath in 1997. He was a Lecturer at University College London in 1982, Senior Lecturer at Liverpool University in 1984 and appointed Professor in 1994. He has served as Head of the Department of Medicine (1997-2001), Deputy Dean (2000-2001), Interim Dean of the Faculty of Medicine (2001-2002) and Associate Dean for Research (2005-2009). He was Head of the Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease from 2010 to 2016. Malcolm has served on the MRC Population and Systems Medicine Board and Interdisciplinary Expert Group on ME/CFS, the BBSRC Healthy Organism Strategy Panel and Ageing Working Group and the Joint Research Councils Life Long Health and Wellbeing Panel. He was Deputy Chair of the Research into Ageing National Scientific Advisory Committee (2003-2006) and has been President of the Society for Free Radical Research-International.

Research: Malcolm’s primary research interests are in the roles of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cell signaling and degeneration, particularly relating to ageing and skeletal muscle. His group made some of the earliest descriptions of free radical generation by contracting skeletal muscle and of the effects of antioxidants. He has characterised the role of ROS as mediators of muscle damage following lengthening contractions and was among the first to recognise the physiological roles of ROS as mediators of adaptive responses to stress, specifically relating to skeletal muscle. His group has also contributed new analytical approaches to studying ROS in muscle in cell culture models and in vivo allowing them to characterise the multiple pathways for ROS generation in skeletal muscle. He has also identified protein targets for oxidation in ageing skeletal muscle. More recent work has sought to understand the role of ROS in normal muscle physiology and ageing with translation of the work through human biopsy and intervention studies.

Professor Malcolm Jackson

Co-Investigators

Professor Graham Kemp

University of Liverpool

Biography: Professor Kemp graduated in medicine from Merton College, University of Oxford in 1980. After training in pathology in Leicester and Sheffield he began his research career in 1984 working on cellular phosphate transport at the Department of Human Metabolism and Clinical Biochemistry, University of Sheffield. Since then he has pursued human research in vivo by mainly magnetic resonance techniques, starting in 1989 at the MRC Biochemical & Clinical Magnetic Resonance Unit and Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, and continuing from 1996 at the University of Liverpool, where he is in the Department of Musculoskeletal Biology, Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease. Prof Kemp is Director of the Magnetic Resonance and Image Analysis Research Centre, a Shared Research Facility of the Technology Directorate of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences. He holds an honorary NHS consultant post in Chemical Pathology at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust. Prof Kemp is also Director of Postgraduate Research for the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, and Vice-Chair of the University Research Ethics Sub-Committee for Physical Interventions.

Professor Kemp is a Chartered Scientist (CSci), a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists, the Society of Biologists and the Higher Education Academy, and a member of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, the American Physiological Society, the Biochemical Society and the Association for Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine.

Research: Professor Kemp’s principal research interest is in the quantitative interpretation of data acquired noninvasively in vivo, particularly by magnetic resonance spectroscopy and imaging methods, supported by modelling approaches and techniques such as near-infrared spectroscopy and electromyography. He has a number of research collaborations within the UK (notably Oxford, Cambridge, Leeds) and with important international groups (including Eindhoven, Marseille, Nijmegen, UCLA, Vienna). He has authored or co-authored over 200 papers, mainly on muscle and neuromuscular function and pathophysiology and aspects of metabolic regulation, but also including brain structure and function, endocrine, hepatic and renal disease.

Professor Kemp is a member of the Editorial Board of Clinical Science, and a regular reviewer of papers for physiology, biochemistry, biophysics, sports science, magnetic resonance and clinical research journals, and of grant applications for a number of UK and overseas funding councils and charities.

Funding: Professor Kemp’s recent research has been supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Science and Technology Facilities Council, the European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes, the Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation and the pharmaceutical industry.

Professor Graham Kemp

CIMA PhD Student

Ms Jekaterina Kumiscia

University of Liverpool

PhD project: Computational modelling to identify novel anti-inflammatory interventions to preserve musculoskeletal function in old mice

PhD supervisors: Professor Anne McArdle (Liverpool), Dr Lesley Iwanejko (Liverpool), Dr Carole Proctor (Newcastle), Dr Daryl Shanley (Newcastle)

Collaborators

Dr Elizabeth Laird

University of Liverpool

Dr Laird is Senior Lecturer in Orthopaedic Sciences in the Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease.

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

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

Research Interests: My research goals are to characterise the mechanisms of collagenous tissue development, repair and renewal. Current research interests include understanding the dynamics of collagen synthesis and turnover, the role of stem cells in musculoskeletal homeostasis and the role of glucose in musculoskeletal ageing. Tissues of interest are primarily tendon and ligament but include cartilage, bone, cornea and intervertebral disc, as well as fibrotic tissue.

This research is important because age-related degeneration and loss of function in musculoskeletal tissues is associated with chronic joint pain, limited movement, tendinopathy, ligament damage, intervertebral disc degeneration and osteoarthritis. There is both a loss of tissue integrity and propensity to fibrosis indicating that homeostasis of the collagenous extracellular matrix is lost with age. Understanding the molecular processes that create functional musculoskeletal tissues during development and growth, and which malfunction or cease to operate in aged tissues is key to developing new strategies for tissue engineering, to activate intrinsic stem cell repair mechanisms and to develop beneficial pharmaceutical, dietary or exercise-based interventions in an increasingly aged society.

Co-Investigators

Dr Joao Pedro Magalhaes

University of Liverpool

Dr de Magalhaes graduated in Microbiology in 1999 from the Escola Superior de Biotecnologia in his hometown of Porto, Portugal, and then obtained his PhD in 2004 from the University of Namur in Belgium. Following a postdoc with genomics pioneer Prof George Church at Harvard Medical School, in 2008 Dr de Magalhaes was recruited to the University of Liverpool. He now leads the Integrative Genomics of Ageing Group (http://pcwww.liv.ac.uk/~aging/) which focuses on understanding the genetic, cellular, and molecular mechanisms of ageing. Dr de Magalhaes has given over 100 invited talks, including three TEDx talks, and his research has been widely featured in the popular press (BBC, CNN, the Washington Post, the Financial Times and many others).

Dr Joao Pedro Magalhaes

Professor Anne McArdle

University of Liverpool

Biography: Professor McArdle graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry from the University of Liverpool in 1988 and completed a PhD in the Department of Medicine in 1993. Anne undertook postdoctoral training at the Institute of Gerontology at the University of Michigan and was awarded a Research into Ageing Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Fellowship in 1998 to examine the mechanisms by which the age-related failure of muscle to adapt to contractions resulted in sarcopenia. Anne was appointed as Lecturer at the University of Liverpool in 2001 and as Professor in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at the University of Liverpool in 2007. Anne is past Chair of the British Society for Research on Ageing and the British Council for Ageing. She is an active member of the American Physiological Society and the UK Physiological Society and Biochemical Society. Professor McArdle is Associate Editor for the American Journal of Physiology, International Advisor on the Environmental & Exercise Physiology Committee of the American Physiological Society and a core member of BBSRC Grant Committee A. Professor McArdle’s work on frailty has received considerable public interest with press releases and presentation of her applied work to the general public at several events. As School Director of Postgraduate Research, Anne led a complete overhaul of student monitoring and support procedures within the School which has led to substantial improvements in the student experience.

Research interests: Professor McArdle’s research interests include the basic processes by which cells respond and adapt to stress and damage and in particular, the role that the age-related failure in the stress response plays in the development of age-related skeletal muscle dysfunction and has made key observations in this area of research. Her research group has demonstrated the importance of rapid induction of responses to the increased ROS generated by contractions in maintaining muscle viability and the role that attenuation of these ROS signals and responses play in muscle ageing. Anne has considerable experience of cell and molecular biological studies at the sub-cellular level through to physiological analysis of muscle function in a number of model systems including cell culture, animal models and in humans. This work is funded by the National Institutes of Health (USA), MRC, BBSRC and AgeUK.

Professor Anne McArdle

Collaborators

Dr Rachel Oldershaw

University of Liverpool

Dr Oldershaw is Lecturer in the Department of Musculoskeletal Biology I at the Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease. 

Research interests: the application of stem cells for the repair and regeneration of tissues which have become damaged by trauma or disease and the development of protocols for the translation of these cell therapies into clinical use.

Dr Mandy Peffers

University of Liverpool

Dr Peffers is a Wellcome Trust Clinical Intermediate Fellow in the Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease.

Research: Dr Peffers is part of the Comparative Musculoskeletal Sciences Research Group which investigates development, maturation, ageing and disorders of musculoskeletal soft tissues in both humans and domestic animal species.

Dr Blandine Poulet

University of Liverpool

Dr Blandine Poulet is an Arthritis Research UK Career Development Fellow and holds a tenure track position in the Department of  Musculoskeletal Biology I at the Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease.

Research interests: the effect of Fibrillin-1 loss in osteoarthritis

CIMA PhD Student

Ms Kiran Riasat

University of Liverpool

PhD project: The role of epigenetics in tendon ageing: investigation of the effect of age and disease on the methlyation and non-coding RNA changes in tendon

PhD supervisors: Dr Mandy Peffers (Liverpool), Dr Simon Cockell (Newcastle), Dr Carole Proctor (Newcastle), Professor Alison Gartland (Sheffield)

Ms Elizabeth Sutton

University of Liverpool

PhD project: Can time-scheduled exercise improve age-associated epigenetic signature of genes regulating circadian timing in the musculoskeletal system?

PhD supervisors: Dr Vanja Pekovic-Vaughan (Liverpool), Dr Mandy Peffers (Liverpool), Dr Daryl Shanley (Newcastle)

Collaborators

Dr Simon Tew

University of Liverpool

Dr Tew is a Senior Lecturer in Orthopaedic Sciences in the Department of Musculoskeletal Biology I at the Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease. 

Research interests: how genes are regulated in cartilage cells, particularly at the post transcriptional level, and how such processes are affected during disease and tissue regeneration.

Dr Aphrodite Vasilaki

University of Liverpool

Dr Vasilaki is a Senior Lecturer in the Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease.

CIMA PhD Studentship Co-Supervisor: 'Combining mechanical loading and anabolic therapy in postmenopausal women - a pilot study.'

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

Research: Dr Vasilaki is part of the Skeletal Muscle Pathophysiology Research Group which looks at the mechanisms of cell damage related to skeletal muscle disorders.

Dr Katarzyna Whysall

University of Liverpool

Dr Whysall is a Senior Lecturer in the Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease.

CIMA PhD Studentship Primary Supervisor: 'miRNA: target interactions in ageing and regeneration of musculoskeletal tissues.'

Research interests: Epigenetic events, such as DNA methylation, chromatin remodelling or microRNA-mediated regulation of gene expression play a key role during organism development, life and ageing. My research is focused on the phenomenon of gene and chromatin regulation by microRNAs in maintaining muscle homeostasis. We use both high-throughput and focused approaches, as well as  in vitro and in vivo models,  to decipher the role of epigenetic changes and microRNA:target interactions during muscle regeneration and ageing. 

Dr Katarzyna Whysall

CIMA MRes Student

Miss Phaedra Winstanley-Zarach

University of Liverpool

Supervisor Dr. Simon Tew, research project on ADAMTS5 alternative polyadenylation. ADAMTS5 is a proteinase that degrades aggrecan, the main component of proteoglycan in the cartilage. Aggrecan is required for the cartilage to undergo compression upon load. Alternative polyadenylation is the variation in mRNA transcript length due to longer or shorter poly A tails. This affects how the mRNA is regulated, so loss of poly A tail portions means ADAMTS5 may be overexpressed due to lack of regulation, leading to cartilage degradation in osteoarthritis.



Previously Bsc. Biomedical science at Liverpool John Moores university and Msc. Medical Genetics at chester uni.

Miss Phaedra  Winstanley-Zarach

Collaborators

Dr Helen L Wright

University of Liverpool

Dr Wright is an Arthritis Research UK Career Development Fellow in the Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease

CIMA PhD Studentship Co-Supervisor: "In vivo modelling of epigenetic regulation of neutrophil phenotype in musculoskeletal ageing."

Research Interests: I have a special interest in the role of neutrophils in the pathogenesis of rheumatic diseases, with a focus on both the regulation of gene expression in neutrophils, and identifying neutrophil-derived biomarkers for the development of a personalised medicine approach to the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). I have used RNA-seq transcriptomics to identify potential biomarkers of response to TNF inhibitor drugs in RA, and as part of my Fellowship I am using computational biology to understand the mediators and functional consequences of neutrophil activation in RA.  As part of my wider interest in neutrophil function I have used proteomics to study neutrophil extracelllular traps (NETs) and metabolomics to investigate drug actions.  A number of functional immuno-assays for neutrophils are available and routinely used in my lab.

Dr Helen L Wright