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Dr Sharon Dewitt 


Position:Cardiff Academic Fellow

Research Theme

Tissue Engineering & Reparative Dentistry

Research Group

Extracellular Matrix (ECM) in Repair & Remodelling

Research Interests

The focus of my research is to identify the early cellular events that occur in disease processes such as arthritis. These early events can then be exploited as indicators of disease to enable early diagnosis and treatment; or as a means of manipulation and modification of the disease process.

Associated research within the School of Dentistry is focused on how extracellular matrix guides cellular responses in physiological processes but also how alterations in its constituents contribute to major diseases including arthritis.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Calcium imaging 
  • Confocal microscopy
  • Single cell Imaging
  • Image analysis and 3D Reconstruction (Imaris)
  • Neutrophil biology 
  • Micromanipulation
  • Microinjection (SLAM) 

 

Selected Projects

Medical Research Council

Control of neutrophil infiltration into inflamed airways in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Background: This is a jointly funded PhD Studentship awarded by MRC and British Lung Foundation as part of the MRC Capacity Building Studentship Competition (with MB Hallett)

Aims: To investigate the cell biological mechanism by which neutrophils infiltrate into inflamed airways and especially to establish the role of mu-calpain activation as a step common in neutrophils extravasation

Wellcome Trust

Leukocyte trafficking in calpain-1 null mice.

Background: Calpain-1 is a cytosolic Ca2+-activated protease implicated in cellular adhesion and motility, and specifically in immune cells including neutrophils and lymphocytes. The evidence accumulating for the signalling role of calpain-1, however, has largely depended on pharmacological inhibition. It is therefore important to establish the biology of cells from genetically-modified animals which do not express calpain-1 (with MB Hallett and AS Williams).

Aims: To establish whether a reduction in experimentally-induced inflammatory cell trafficking can be demonstrated in calpain-1 deficient animals

Wellcome Trust

The role of calpain in the control of phagocytosis by neutrophils.

Background: Phagocytosis of microbes by neutrophils is an important event in combating infection. Surprisingly, the mechanism by which phagocytosis occurs is not fully understood. Evidence has accumulated that Ca2+ activation of mu- calpain plays a role in neutrophil phagocytosis (with MB Hallett).

Aims: To establish the role of calpain activation during phagocytosis by neutrophils and establish the molecular events leading to membrane expansion as a permissive step in phagocytosis.