Biomarkers and Immunometabolism in Musculoskeletal Health and Ageing

Research group is primary focused on cartilage biology, immunometabolism, biomarkers of osteoarthritis, and biomimetic in vitro models of cartilage and intervertebral disc degeneration / regeneration

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Research group leader

Research group description

The primary focus areas of our group include cartilage biology, identification and validation of biomarkers of osteoarthritis, and the development and application of biomimetic in vitro models for the study of cartilage, synovium and intervertebral disc in the context of extracellular matrix (ECM) degeneration and regeneration.

The principal investigator has a track record in biochemical research and an ongoing interest in developing and using in vitro biomimetic 3-dimensional models of chondrocytes and articular cartilage for drug screening.

In vitro models have been used for proteomic studies of the chondrocyte membranome and the secretome of articular cartilage explants for identification of new osteoarthritis-related biomarkers.

We also work with several international collaborators on the topic of immunometabolism.

Our group is also working on in vitro and animal models of intervertebral disc degeneration, which is an important contributing factor to low back pain (LBP). Nutrient deprivation in the cartilage endplate (CEP) of the intervertebral disc is thought to contribute to early degeneration.

Our work on intervertebral disc will test a number of experimental therapeutics repositioned from the field of osteoarthritis therapy, for the treatment of LBP.

Our future work will focus on developing co-culture models of joint tissues, adipocytes and macrophages to gain mechanistic insight into the role of obesity and fibrosis in the ECM.


We have ongoing collaborations with several companies including Chiron and Kolon TissueGene. The PI is currently consulting for Sanofi, Sanofi Consumer Healthcare, HALEON, and Pacira Biosciences. In recent years we have collaborated with Merck Serono and co-supervised PhD students with Mars (WALTHAM).