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Lecturer, Immunology, University of the West of Scotland

My area of expertise is in immunology and the cellular and molecular mechanisms driving inflammation and tissue remodelling during disease pathology. I am interested in a protease receptor called protease activated receptor 2 (PAR2) which is expressed by both immune and non-immune cells and which appears to have a pivotal role in regulating inflammatory effector response in a number of conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). I have expertise in a range of research techniques including in vitro and in vivo models of disease, molecular biology, immunohistochemistry, flow cytometry.

My research is aligned to the Centre for Musculoskeletal Science (CMS), School of Health and Life sciences, University of the West of Scotland. I am interested in the role of the synovial fibroblast in driving inflammation within the osteoarthritic joint, including secretion of small extracellular vesicles (sEV) and their potential ability to regulate cartilage erosion (funded by Tenovus Scotland). I have a long standing interest in the role of innate immune cells, such as macrophages and mast cells, in osteoarthritis along with PAR2 regulation of osteoclasts development and function. I am also interested in looking at the therapeutic potential of targeting osteoclasts using novel IKK alpha inhibitor approaches in conditions such as osteoarthritis where these cells have been linked with pain (funded by a Carnegie Collaborative Grant).

My interest in PAR2 as an innate sensor for detecting and responding to changes in the local protease environment has been extended to the lung and the chronic lung condition, COPD, where I am a co-investigator on the Interreg VA BREATH (Borders and Regions Airways Training Hub) Research programme. I am interested in PA2 regulation of lung epithelial cell inflammatory effector response and the possibility of cross-talk with other innate receptors, called toll-like receptors (TLRs). This work has recently been supported by The Cunningham Trust to look specifically at PAR2 interaction and cross-talk with other innate receptors called toll-like receptors. This study will also look at the potential of PAR2 as a therapeutic target for COPD, using small molecule inhibitors and gene editing approaches.


  • –present
    Lecturer, University of the West of Scotland