Personal profile

Personal Statement

Immunopharmacology lecturer and research scientist- Cell signalling and inflammation.

I have been a researcher in the field of immunopharmacology in relation to cell signalling and inflammation since 2004, specialising in the area of cell signalling in inflammation and G-protein coupled receptors.

My research area covers:

1) The cellular mechanisms underlying the inflammatory environment linked to breast cancer progression, with an emphasis on CXCL12 and the NFkB pathway. 

2) understanding the molecular mechanisims of PAR2 signalling in the proccesses that underpin inflammation (focus on arthritis), with an emphasis on targert validation and drug discovery.  

Recent preliminary projects have taken me in the direction of CXCL12 signalling in breast cancer, where I have uncovered a link between the non-canonical NFkB pathway and CXCL12 production in cancer cell lines. With the aid of first in class novel IKKa inhibitors I am in an excellent position to investigate this further. In the lab we  also have several 'hit compounds' from a SULSA screen which target CXCL12 transcriptional activity, this will allow further drug discovery/evaluation work in this area. Targeting the chemokine directly is a novel approach which will by pass many of the unwanted side effects evident with inhibition of its target receptor -  CXCR4. 

I had the privilege of being part of a group which was one of the first to recognise the biological relevance of PAR2, developed one of the first PAR2 knockout models and indeed my research career started within the Ferrell and Lockhart group, who along with my current group, have forged a world lead in the area of chronic inflammation (arthritis). 

I teach across all years in the biomedical sciences programme, predominantly in Pharmacology but some Immunology also. I also coordinate and teach the Advanced Masters programme in Pharmacology, along with key PGR lead modules within the department.


Research Interests

Current Collaborators: 

CXCL12-IKKa project = Professor Valerie Speirs (University of Aberdeen) and Dr Craig Jamieson (UoS)

PAR2-Osteoarthrits project = Professor Robin Plevin (UoS), Dr Anne Crilly (University of the West of Scotland), Dr Craig Jamieson (UoS) and Dr Zahra Rattray (UoS)


Teaching Interests

I was awarded my PG Cert in teaching, learning and assesment in 2016 where I also become a recognised fellow of the higher education academy.

I have since 2014 taught and more recently co-ordinated the PP904 compulsory PhD class on abstract writing, poster presentation and presentation skills. I was also actively involved in the organisation of the CPU summer school run here in SIPBS.

I am module co-ordinator and teach on both year 3 and year 4 Pharmacology semester One classes, I also coordinate and teach on the MSc Advanced Pharmacology module. I also coordinate year 2 Introduction to Immunology. 

I am teaching Pharmacology across years 2-4 and at Masters level and Immunology across years 2-3. I am actively involved in research with both Honours and Masters level students in the lab to complete wet lab projects.  I am also part of the BMS accreditation team and leading the redesign of the critical analysis projects at Masters level. I am currently involved with the redesign of the Introductory content for Immunology. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Science, PAR2 mediated inhibition of TNF driven JNK signalling, University of Paisley

1 Oct 200430 Sept 2008

Award Date: 30 Sept 2008


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