Bachelor of Arts, University of Cambridge (2002)
B of Medicine and B of Surgery, University of Cambridge (2005)
Master of Arts, University of Cambridge (2006)
Improvements in medical care, nutrition and social care are resulting in a commendable change in world population demographics with an ever increasing skew towards an aging population. As the proportion of the world's population that is considered elderly increases, so does the incidence of osteodegenerative disease and the resultant burden on healthcare. The increasing demand coupled with the limitations of contemporary approaches, have provided the impetus to develop novel tissue regeneration therapies. The use of stem cells, with their potential for self-renewal and differentiation, is one potential solution. Adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs), which are relatively easy to harvest and readily available have emerged as an ideal candidate. In this review, we explore the potential for ASCs to provide tangible therapies for craniofacial and long bone skeletal defects, outline key signaling pathways that direct these cells and describe how the developmental signaling program may provide clues on how to guide these cells in vivo. This review also provides an overview of the importance of establishing an osteogenic microniche using appropriately customized scaffolds and delineates some of the key challenges that still need to be overcome for adult stem cell skeletal regenerative therapy to become a clinical reality.
View details for DOI 10.3390/ijms15069314
View details for Web of Science ID 000338639000009
In 2006, Dr. Yamanaka created the induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) by reprogramming adult fibroblasts back to an immature, pluripotent state. Effectively bypassing the ethical constraints of human embryonic stem cells, iPSCs have expanded the horizons of regenerative medicine by offering a means to derive autologous patient-matched cells and tissues for clinical transplantation. However, persisting safety concerns must be addressed prior to their widespread clinical application. In this review, we discuss the history of iPSCs, derivation strategies, and current research involving gene therapy and disease modeling. We review the potential of iPSCs for improving a range of cell-based therapies and obstacles to their clinical implementation.
View details for Web of Science ID 000331890000001
View details for PubMedID 24359141
Harvesting adipose-derived stromal cells (ASCs) for tissue engineering is frequently done through liposuction. However, several different techniques exist. Although third-generation ultrasound-assisted liposuction has been shown to not have a negative effect on ASCs, the impact of laser-assisted liposuction on the quality and differentiation potential of ASCs has not been studied. Therefore, ASCs were harvested from laser-assisted lipoaspirate and suction-assisted lipoaspirate. Next, in vitro parameters of cell yield, cell viability and proliferation, surface marker phenotype, osteogenic differentiation, and adipogenic differentiation were performed. Finally, in vivo bone formation was assessed using a critical-sized cranial defect in athymic nude mice. Although ASCs isolated from suction-assisted lipoaspirate and laser-assisted lipoaspirate both successfully underwent osteogenic and adipogenic differentiation, the cell yield, viability, proliferation, and frequency of ASCs (CD34(+)CD31(-)CD45(-)) in the stromal vascular fraction were all significantly less with laser-assisted liposuction in vitro (p < .05). In vivo, quantification of osseous healing by micro-computed tomography revealed significantly more healing with ASCs isolated from suction-assisted lipoaspirate relative to laser-assisted lipoaspirate at the 4-, 6-, and 8-week time points (p < .05). Therefore, as laser-assisted liposuction appears to negatively impact the biology of ASCs, cell harvest using suction-assisted liposuction is preferable for tissue-engineering purposes.
View details for DOI 10.5966/sctm.2012-0183
View details for Web of Science ID 000325384600015
The mammalian skull vault, a product of a unique and tightly regulated evolutionary process, in which components of disparate embryonic origin are integrated, is an elegant model with which to study osteoblast biology. Our laboratory has demonstrated that this distinct embryonic origin of frontal and parietal bones confer differences in embryonic and postnatal osteogenic potential and skeletal regenerative capacity, with frontal neural crest derived osteoblasts benefitting from greater osteogenic potential. We outline how this model has been used to elucidate some of the molecular mechanisms which underlie these differences and place these findings into the context of our current understanding of the key, highly conserved, pathways which govern the osteoblast lineage including FGF, BMP, Wnt and TGFβ signaling. Furthermore, we explore recent studies which have provided a tantalizing insight into way these pathways interact, with evidence accumulating for certain transcription factors, such as Runx2, acting as a nexus for cross-talk.
View details for DOI 10.3390/ijms14035978
View details for Web of Science ID 000316609800086
View details for PubMedID 23502464
Craniosynostosis describes the premature fusion of one or more cranial sutures and can lead to dramatic manifestations in terms of appearance and functional impairment. Contemporary approaches for this condition are primarily surgical and are associated with considerable morbidity and mortality. The additional post-operative problems of suture refusion and bony relapse may also necessitate repeated surgeries with their own attendant risks. Therefore, a need exists to not only optimize current strategies but also to develop novel biological therapies which could obviate the need for surgery and potentially treat or even prevent premature suture fusion. Clinical studies of patients with syndromic craniosynostosis have provided some useful insights into the important signaling pathways and molecular events guiding suture fate. Furthermore, the highly conserved nature of craniofacial development between humans and other species have permitted more focused and step-wise elucidation of the molecular underpinnings of craniosynostosis. This review will describe the clinical manifestations of craniosynostosis, reflect on our understanding of syndromic and non-syndromic craniosynostoses and outline the different approaches that have been adopted in our laboratory and elsewhere to better understand the pathogenesis of premature suture fusion. Finally, we will assess to what extent our improved understanding of the pathogenesis of craniosynostosis, achieved through laboratory-based and clinical studies, have made the possibility of a non-surgical pharmacological approach both realistic and tangible.
View details for PubMedID 23249483