Chondrocytes are cells that produce the specialised extracellular matrix that makes up cartilage. During development chondrocytes are responsible for forming the skeleton and in adulthood they maintain the articular cartilage of joints. I am interested in the molecular mechanisms that control chondrocyte phenotype during development and in diseases such as skeletal dysplasia and osteoarthritis. I am particularly interested in the function of microRNAs, the ion channel TRPV4 and the extracellular matrix proteins Matrilin-3 and COMP.
I completed my PhD project on ‘The role of osteoarthritis regulated microRNAs in skeletal development pathways’ under the supervision of Professor David Young at Newcastle University. I am currently a postdoctoral research associate in Professor Susan Kimber’s group at the University of Manchester, where I am using patient derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to model rare diseases of cartilage in vitro. I use a range of techniques including microarray, RNA-seq, stem cell culture/differentiation, CRISPR-Cas9, siRNA knockdown and luciferase reporter assays.