My research has involved harnessing both established techniques and the development and optimisation of novel methodologies to; (1) investigate human disease mechanisms (Alopecia areata and currently osteoarthritis) and (2) study fundamental cellular processes common to all higher eukaryotes, with specific focus on the nuclear envelope, associated pore components and the protein translation machinery. This has resulted in many first-author, and several senior author, publications in international peer-reviewed journals. This complementary combination of basic and translational research has given me expansive practical knowledge of cellular and biochemical experimental techniques with a sound understanding of cellular processes and pathways with which to further my current investigations of human osteoarthritis.
My current work focuses on investigation of the chondro-protective, anti-inflammatory properties of TNF-stimulated gene-6 (TSG-6) within the context of human cartilage and osteoarthritis (OA). To this end I have set-up and validate an in vitro cell-based model for study of chondrocyte/cartilage homeostasis using human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) differentiated into chondrocytes in 3D pellet culture together with varied molecular biology techniques such as lentiviral transfection and ZFN-mediated genomic editing. This in vitro work complements my comprehensive immunofluorescence analyses of sections of human OA of the knee (tibial plateau). Analysis of the entirety of full-length tissue sections has allowed quantitative correlation of antigens of interest with all regions of articular cartilage (from highly fibrillated; in OA donor samples, to full thickness). Human cartilage explant assays have also been used to investigate if TSG-6 can protect mature human cartilage during inflammation.