The Health Science Research Centre (HSRC) conducts and delivers multidisciplinary research, consultancy and teaching in Neuroscience, Nutrition/Regulation of Metabolism, Immunology, Cell Biology, and Microbiology.
Our current research projects include studies on the immunoprotective role of Vitamin D in multiple sclerosis, addictive nature of novel psychoactive drugs, mechanisms of brain cell death and repair using stem cells, cellular mechanisms of diabetes, myeloma and acute leukaemia, and novel therapies to control microbial resistance to antibiotics. We study dietary approaches to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and gut microbiome in health-and-disease. Our research is currently funded by the MS Society, MSIF, MRC, Science without Borders, Cancer Research UK, Leuka, and smaller grants and industry funding.
The HSRC and Sport & Exercise Science Research Centre submitted jointly to REF2014: 84% of our research outputs were rated as 3* and 4* in terms of originality, significance and rigour (3* is internationally excellent and 4* world-leading).
Our research is not only considered to be of high quality and attracting productive partnerships; it is also directly relevant to society.
Research on autoimmune diseases – Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society and the MS International Federation grants
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a devastating autoimmune disease that targets components of the brain and spinal cord. In this condition, the body’s immune system attacks the central nervous system due to a miscommunication between cells. Although no single cause of this disease has been established, there is research evidence that a good supply of vitamin D from sunlight or diet can lower the risk of developing MS. Vitamin D, well-known for its role in bone protection, also exerts complex effects on the immune and nervous systems. Dr Robert Busch leads a project on how vitamin D protects against MS, funded by the MS Society and the MS International Federation. Dr Busch and his PhD student Nakul Shah are examining how vitamin D influences the production and fate of tissue antigens that have been implicated in genetic risk of MS. They are collaborating with their co-investigator, Professor Jolanta Opacka-Juffry (Health Sciences Research Centre at Roehampton) and Dr Camilla Blain, a consultant neurologist at St George’s Hospital, London who specialises in MS, as well as with researchers at the Cambridge Centre for Proteomics.