Dr Irundika Dias

  • Position: Teaching in MBChB programme and block lead for Pathological Processes
  • Telephone: 01212044678
  • Email: h.k.i.dias1@aston.ac.uk
  • Room Number: 314C


I graduated in 2003 with a BSc in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology followed by Masters in Medical Genetics with Immunology in 2004. I took up a PhD project in Professor Helen Griffiths laboratory studying hyperactivity of neutrophils observed in inflammatory periodontitis. I continued my post-doctoral research in Professor Griffiths lab (2009-2014) that involved isolation and characterisation of modified lipids in low density lipoproteins (LDL) in plasma from cardiovascular patients and Dementia patients. Using biochemical assays, colorimetry and mass spectrometry techniques, I have shown that LDL isolated from patients with hypercholesterolemia has higher level of lipid and protein oxidation and these lipid affect neuronal cell viability and processing of amyloid beta protein in a neuronal cell line via a redox driven mechanism. These investigations resulted number of publications. In 2014, I was awarded prestigious Kidney Research UK (KRUK) Research Fellowship within the Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing at Aston University. During this time, I investigated lipid oxidative products and lipid mediators in chronic kidney disease comorbid with chronic inflammatory periodontitis. I developed high sensitive lipid biomarker detection by mass spectrometry. I use flow cytometry to investigate the effects of lipids on immune cell markers.  I have used different model systems to study inflammation, including cell culture, ex vivo studies and animal models through collaborations. I was appointed as a lecturer in April 2018 in Aston Medical School. I have interdisciplinary collaborations with both scientists and clinicians and particularly interested in defining lipidomic profiles of biological fluids and understanding the underlying mechanisms and prevention strategies of disease development and progression.

• 2017: Post graduate Diploma in Learning and Teaching in HE

• 2016: Post graduate certificate of Learning and Teaching in HE

• 2009: PhD in Biomedical Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham

• 2004: MSc in Medical Genetics with Immunology, Brunel University, London

• 2003: BSc in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka

• 2018-to date: Lecturer, Aston Medical School, Aston University   

• 2014-2018: Research Fellow, Aston University

• 2009-2014: Post-doctoral Researcher, Aston University

• 2005: Honorary Research Student, National Blood Services, London

• 2004: Research Assistant, Industrial Technology Institute, Sri Lanka

• 2003-2004: Teaching Assistant, Department of Chemistry, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka

The primary focus of my current research is investigating the role of oxidative stress and lipid oxidation in chronic diseases. In particular, I am investigating lipid oxidation products in chronic kidney disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

During the inflammation, bio active lipids play a pivotal role by recruiting phagocytes first in to the site of infection/injury. Late inflammatory process is actively limited by activation of a resolution phase, often via generation of structurally specific oxidised lipids whose function is to orchestrate resolution of inflammation. Imbalance of these processes result chronic inflammation and disease progression.

I use cell culture model systems and primary blood cell isolations and take various approaches; molecular biology, immunoassay, proteomic and lipidomic tools, to study protein and lipid oxidation in cells and tissue. My previous work heavily involved studying hyperactive behaviour of human neutrophils towards chronic periodontitis. Recent work in the lab on monocyte shows promising approach to study inflammatory cascades and how lipids involve in this process.

We have recently developed new mass spectrometry-based approach (LC-MS/MS) to analyse cholesterol oxidation and phospholipid oxidation products in biological fluids, cell and tissue.

  • Does hydrogen sulphide improve endothelial dysfunction via protein S-sulfhydration? PhD student, Lorena Diaz-Sanchez
  • Changes to oxysterol levels in Alzheimer’s disease. Analysis of oxysterols by LC-MS
  • Analysis of lipid oxidation products (Phospholipids and phospholipid metabolites) by LC-MS   
  • January 2017: ARUK network grant: Do oxysterols induce mitochondrial impairment and neuronal toxicity in Alzheimer’s disease? £4700
  •  February 2016: ARUK network grant: Oxysterol homeostasis in AD £3950
  • 2014-2017: Kidney Research UK fellowship award: Periodontitis as a co-morbidity for adverse cardiovascular outcomes in patients with chronic kidney disease; do plasma lipids provide a critical link? £185,619

• Society for Free Radical Research- Europe (SFRR-E), 2010-todate

• Higher Education Academy (HEA), 2016-todate

• Biochemical Society, 2005-todate

• International Association for Dental Research (IADR), 2005-todate
  • Chakrabarti L, Shephard F, Dias I. Mitochondrial oxysterols in Alzheimer’s disease. 20-21 September 2018. Bologna, Italy (Talk)
  • Ivana Milic, Thierry Durand, Andrew Devitt, Helen Griffiths, Irundika Dias. Mass spectrometry based profiling of PUFA-derived lipid oxidation in Alzheimer’s disease patients. BIRAX, 4-6 September 2018, London (Poster)
  • Irundika HK Dias. Analysis of oxidised lipids; validation and application. SFRR-I 4-7 June 2018, Lisbon, Portugal (Talk)
  • Dias HKI, Ademowo S, Milic I, Devitt A, Sharma P, Stringer S, Cockwell P, Chapple ILC, Griffiths HR. Periodontal treatments reduce oxysterols in patients with chronic kidney disease. ENOR, 21-22, September 2017 Brussels (Talk)
  • Irundika HK Dias, Ivana Milic, Andrew Devitt, Cristina Polidori, Helen R Griffiths. Mass spectrometry based method to measure circulating oxysterols in Alzheimer’s disease. AAIC, 17-20 July, 2017, London (Talk)
  • Irundika HK Dias, Ivana Milic, Andrew Devitt, Cristina Polidori, Helen R Griffiths. Targeted lipidomic analysis of oxysterols in plasma from patients with Alzheimer’s disease. GRC conference, 19-24 March 2017, Italy (Talk)
  • Irundika HK Dias, Ivana Milic, Andrew Devitt, Gregory YH Lip, Helen R Griffiths. Statin intervention reduces circulating oxysterols in hypercholesterolemic patients, Biochemical Society focus meeting, 5-6 January 2017, Birmingham (Talk)
  • Dias HKI, Ademowo S, Milic I, Devitt A, Sharma P, Stringer S, Cockwell P, Chapple ILC, Griffiths HR. Mass spectrometry based methods to measure lipid oxidation in plasma of patients with chronic kidney disease. KRUK Fellows day (2016) 8-9 September, Cambridge (Poster)
  • Irundika HK Dias, Ivana Milic, Andrew Devitt, Corinne M Spickett, Andrew R Pitt, Helen R Griffiths. Mass spectrometry based method for measurement of oxysterols, SFRR-E, Budapest, 8-12 June 2016, Hungary (Talk)
  • H.K.I. Dias, J. M. Cristina Polidori, and H.R. Griffiths. Lipid mediators in Chronic diseases. Newton fund researcher links workshop 16th-18th March 2016, Brazil (Poster)

Watkins, A. J., Dias, I., Tsuro, H., Allen, D., Emes, R. D., Moreton, J., Wilson, R., Ingram, R. J. M. & Sinclair, K. D 2018. Paternal diet programs offspring health through sperm- and seminal plasma-specific pathways in mice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.115 (40):10064-10069. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1806333115.

Irundika H.K. Dias, Caroline L. Brown, Kiran Shabir, M. Cristina Polidori and Helen R. Griffiths. miRNA 933 Expression by Endothelial Cells is Increased by 27-Hydroxycholesterol and is More Prevalent in Plasma from Dementia Patients. (2018) 64(3):1009-1017. doi: 10.3233/JAD-180201.

Irundika H.K. Dias, Steven R. Wilson, Hanne Roberg-Larsen. Chromatography of oxysterols. Biochimie. 9 May 2018. 153:3-12. doi: 10.1016/j.biochi.2018.05.004.

Irundika Dias, Ivana Milic, Gregory Y H Lip, Andrew Devitt, Maria C Polidori, Helen R Griffiths. Simvastatin reduces circulating oxysterol levels in men with hypercholesterolemia. Redox Biology, 2018. Redox Biol. 2018 Jun; 16: 139–145.

Egea J. et al. European contribution to the study of ROS: A summary of the findings and prospects for the future from the COST action BM1203 (EU-ROS). Redox Biol. 2017 Oct; 13: 94–162.

Ademowo OS, Dias HKI, Burton DGA, Griffiths HR. Lipid (per) oxidation in mitochondria: an emerging target in the ageing process? Biogerontology. 2017 May 24. doi: 10.1007/s10522-017-9710-z.

Ademowo OS, Dias HK, Milic I, Devitt A, Moran R, Mulcahy R, Howard AN, Nolan JM, Griffiths HR. Phospholipid oxidation and carotenoid supplementation in Alzheimer's disease patients. Free Radic Biol Med. 2017 Mar 14. pii: S0891-5849(17)30132-6

Reddy P, Dias I, Holland C, Campbell N, Nagar I, Connolly L, Krustrup P, Hubball H. Walking football as sustainable exercise for older adults - A pilot investigation. Eur J Sport Sci. 2017 Mar 19:1-8

Sowmya A Castro, Russell Collighan, Peter A Lambert, Irundika HK Dias, Parbata Chauhan, Charlotte E Bland, Ivana Milic, Michael R Milward, Paul R Cooper, Andrew Devitt. Porphyromonas gingivalis gingipains cause defective macrophage migration towards apoptotic cells and inhibit phagocytosis of primary apoptotic neutrophils. Cell Death Dis. 2017 Mar; 8(3): e2644.

Roberts H, White P, Dias I, McKaig S, Veeramachaneni R, Thakker N, Grant M, Chapple I.Characterization of neutrophil function in Papillon-Lefèvre syndrome. J Leukoc Biol. 2016 Mar 8. pii: jlb.5A1015-489R
  • June 2018: Catherine Pasquier award from International Society for Free Radical Research.  Lisbon, Portugal.
  • September 2016: Poster prize: ARUK midland network
  • January 2013: Poster Prize for the best poster at Biochemical Society hot topic meeting titled "Nutrient mechanisms in inflammation, infection and immunity"
  • July 2010: President’s prize for the best periodontology research
  • June 2006: Best poster at Aston University to go towards Regional competition