Allied Health

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Cell Biology and Immunology

Our research into cell biology and immunology investigates health and disease such as human brain disorders and the neural effects of Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS, formerly ‘legal highs’), whilst our molecular and cell biologists focus on the molecular mechanisms of chemotherapy resistance, inflammation, cancer and autoimmune diseases. Our work is transdisciplinary in scope spanning neuroscience, immunology and psychology.

Immuno-moodulin: A new anxiogenic factor produced by Annexin-A1 transgenic autoimmune-prone T cells (Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 2020)

Fulvio D’Acquisto

By generating transgenic mice overexpressing Annexin-A1 exclusively in T cells to study its impact in models of autoimmune diseases, this study made the unpredicted observation of an increased level of anxiety and identified a novel anxiogenic factor, a small protein that the research team named Immuno-moodulin. This protein has been recognised as a novel peripheral determinant that modulates anxiety behaviour, being anticipated that therapies targeting Immuno-moodulin may lead to a new type of treatment for mental disorders.

Synthetic lethal targeting of oncogenic transcription factors in acute leukemia by PARP inhibitors (Nature Medicine, 2015)

Maria Teresa Esposito

This study describes a potential utility of PARPi-induced synthetic lethality for leukaemia treatment and reveal a novel molecular mechanism governing PARPi sensitivity in Acute myeloid leukaemia.

Physiology, nutrition and metabolism

Our research in the fields of physiology, nutrition, and metabolism focuses on the environmental factors that influence brain and limb haemodynamics, the physiological mechanisms of physical performance, muscle metabolism and insulin resistance, pancreatic beta-islets and their role in diabetes and the role of adipose tissue in glucose metabolism. We also explore the role of both good and bad microbes, including gut microbiota, in the regulation of metabolism, neurogenesis, infection and immunity, and the role of appetite regulation in the prevalence of overweight/obesity in adults with lower limb amputations. Our research is interdisciplinary within the themes of behavioural-physiology and energy expenditure in humans and other animal species.


Volker Behrends (third from the right in the picture on the left) is the committee secretary of the London Metabolomics Network (LMN), a specialist academia-industry network that was set up to promote informal sharing of ideas, tools and resources.

The Effects of Heat Adaptation on Physiology, Perception and Exercise Performance in the Heat: A Meta-Analysis (Sports Medicine, 2016)

Chris Tyler

This study led by Chris Tyler shows that heat adaptation regimens lasting induce many beneficial physiological and perceptual adaptations to high ambient temperatures, and improve subsequent exercise performance and capacity in the heat.

Experimental manipulation of breakfast in normal and overweight/obese participants is associated with changes to nutrient and energy intake consumption patterns (Physiology & Behavior, 2014)

Sue Reeves, Lewis G. Halsey, Yasmin Horabady-Farahani & Mehrnaz Ljadi

This study explores the effect of breakfast and breakfast omission on daily food intake in 37 normal and overweight participants, revealing significant effects of timing on energy intakes and highlighting that the timing of food intake and habitual breakfast eating behaviour are important factors when investigating why breakfast consumption may be associated with BMI.

Biomechanics and human morphology

Our research probes the mechanisms controlling gait and movement and novel approaches to limiting the damage of a sedentary lifestyle. We also focus on ways to maintain healthy living for the whole body over time and in different environmental conditions, including injury and rehabilitation, age-based biomechanics, movement patterns in clinical populations, as well as the impact of variation in skeletal morphology (particularly the birth canal). Our interdisciplinary research provides a unique perspective on the role of the environment in healthy living.

Human variation in the shape of the birth canal is significant and geographically structured (Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 2018)

Lia Betti

This study developed by Lia Betti in collaboration with Andrea Manica (University of Cambridge) shows that despite the suggested evolutionary constraints on the female pelvis, women are, in fact, extremely variable in the shape of the bony birth canal, with human populations having differently shaped pelvic canals. Neutral evolution through genetic drift and differential migration are largely responsible for the observed pattern of morphological diversity, which correlates well with neutral genetic diversity.

The effect of treatment with a non-invasive foot worn biomechanical device on subjective and objective measures in patients with knee osteoarthritis- a retrospective analysis on a UK population (BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 2020)

Christopher Miles & Andrew Greene

This study suggests that a new treatment for knee osteoarthritis, using a non-invasive foot-worn biomechanical device, can improve gait patterns, pain, function and quality of life, and may provide an additional solution to managing UK patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis.


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