I am an endocrinologist with a research interest in pituitary gene regulation. I have now retired from clinical work which was based in Manchester Royal Infirmary.
My research has focussed on the mechanisms for gene regulation in the pituitary gland. A major project, funded by Wellcome Trust programme grants in 2002-2009 and 2009-2016, studied the nature of dynamic gene promoter activity in living endocrine cells. This collaboration with Prof Mike White (Manchester), Prof John Mullins and Prof Alan McNeilly (Edinburgh), and Prof David Rand (Warwick) addressed the mechanisms of real-time oscillating patterns of gene expression in living pituitary cells, with a view to better understanding of hormonal regulation. We studied the spatio-temporal co-ordination of patterns of gene expression in adult and developing pituitary tissue and used advanced mathematical modelling to understand cyclical patterns in individual cells in culture (Harper et al, 2011, PLoS Biology; Dunham et al, 2017, Cell Systems). We developed detailed analysis of spatial organisation of gene expression patterns in intact pituitary tissue using stochastic switch modelling (Featherstone, eLife, 2016).
Other research projects have included a BBSRC-funded programme (2008-2012 and 2013-2016) led by Prof Andrew Loudon, with Prof Alan McNeilly and Prof Dave Burt (Roslin), investigating the mechanisms of photoperiodic regulation of the neuroendocrine axis, using prolactin as a target system which is seasonally regulated.