School of Life & Health Sciences
Tel: +44 (0)121 204 4085
Room number: MB 357F
Molecular Biomedical Research
Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing (ARCHA)
I joined the School of Life and Health Sciences in January 2011, after 17 years as an academic member of staff at the University of Strathclyde. I have a broad scientific background and interests in redox biology and oxidative stress ranging from molecular processes to inflammation in disease.
I have extensive collaborations in Europe: currently I am treasurer of the Society for Free Radical Research (Europe), and a member of the International HNE-Club committee. I have been a Workgroup leader in 2 COST Actions: B35 on "Lipid Peroxidation in Health and Disease", and CM1001 on “Chemistry of non-enzymatic protein modification”.
I am currently leading the Horizon 2020 Innovative Training Network MASSTRPLAN, a collaborative project with 10 full partners and 15 associated partners that will train 14 early stage researchers in mass spectrometry and complementary techniques to study lipoxidation in biological and biomedical sciences. MASSTRPLAN started on the 1st October 2015 and will run until 30th September 2019.
I have taught extensively on biochemistry, metabolism, proteins and enzymes, and molecular events in cardiovascular disease. I lecture regularly at the University of Barcelona for their Masters in Integrative Physiology, and have also lectured at the Spetses Free Radical Summer School run by the Society of Free Radical Research Europe.
At Aston University, I am module leader for Molecular Pathology and Cancer (BY2PA2 and EA3PA2) and for the masters level module Oxidative Stress and Inflammatory Disease. I also teach in modules on Nutrition and Biological basis of human disease, give key skills tutorials for BY1KS1 and BY2KS2 and contribute to the Final Year, MBiol and Masters research projects.
I am responsible for Continuing Professional Development in the shape of Top-up modules for Biomedical Science Accreditation, and recently developed a distance-learning version of these modules.
My research is focused in the field of redox biology and oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when the level of free radicals or oxidants in a system exceeds the capacity of antioxidants to protect against them. This can lead to oxidative damage, thus harming the cell or tissue. This often happens in inflammation, which occurs in infectious diseases as well chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. These diseases are a major cause of ill-health and mortality in all developed countries, and increasingly in developing countries. Oxidative stress and damage is also an important factor in toxicology and adverse drug reactions, which can cause modification of proteins and
Oxidants are formed in many metabolic and environmental processes. They are also be released by phagocytes during their role in early immune defence against pathogens, but in severe inflammation may result in host tissue damage and pathology. I am interested in various aspects of oxidant metabolism, from mechanisms of cell killing by oxidants and cell antioxidant defence to the role of immune cell-derived oxidants in disease and immunomodulatory effects of oxidised macromolecules. Much of the research in my group relates to cardiovascular disease (CVD) and atherosclerosis, conditions where oxidative stress is clearly implicated in the pathology of the disease, through the increased cellular uptake of oxidized low density lipoprotein (LDL). One of the major techniques used is electrospray mass spectrometry (ESMS), which can be applied to the analysis of phospholipid and protein oxidation. We are developing new mass spectrometry-based approaches to analysing and studying both lipid and protein oxidation in cells and tissues.
It is now understood that protein oxidation, especially at susceptible cysteine residues, is a mechanisms of regulation of enzyme activity and protein function. We have also been studying the effects of oxidation on protein-protein interactions, and reported for the first time how the interactome of the tumour suppressor protein PTEN changes when the PTEN is reversibly oxidized. Research is ongoing to characterize the oxidation and investigate the biological effects downstream of PTEN signaling.
International HNE-Club - Secretary 2004-10, Committee member 2010
COST Action B35 on Lipid Peroxidation Associated Disorders - Management Committee and Workgroup Leader 2006-10
Society for Free Radical Research-Europe - Treasurer 2009-12
08-EuroMEMBRANES-FP-021: Molecular level physiology and pathology of oxidized phospholipids (2009-12). Associated Partner.
COST Action CM1001 on Chemistry of non-enzymatic protein modification - modulation of protein structure and function - Management Committee and Workgroup Leader (2010-2014)
Funding for my research has come from a variety of sources, including research councils (BBSRC), charities (British Heart Foundation; Tenovus Scotland), government (Chief Scientist Office Scottish Exectutive; EU), and industry.
European Research Development Framework “Promoting Biomarker Development in West Midlands SME's”. (2011-2015) Joint with Prof Helen R. Griffiths, Prof Andrew R Pitt, Prof Anthony Hilton.
I have supervised 16 graduate research students and more than fifteen visiting scientists from a variety of countries. Currently I am supervising 2 PhD students and an MRes student who are still based in Glasgow.
Browser does not support script.