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Dr Sharon Dewitt

Dr Sharon Dewitt

Lecturer

School of Dentistry

Users
Available for postgraduate supervision

Overview

Research theme

Oral and biomedical sciences

Research group

Matrix Biology and Tissue Repair

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
  • Neutrophil biology
  • Micromanipulation/Microinjection

Ongoing Projects:

  • Validation of a stem cell derived cartilage model for osteoarthritis research and drug screening
  • Role of sensor protein in development of osteoarthritis
  • Investigating a candidate biomarker of osteoarthritis: Role in pathogenesis and efficacy to diagnose disease
  • Identifying a utility for dentally derived extracellular vesicles to restore impaired bone healing associated with age-related systemic conditions
  • Novel cancer drug regulates disintegrin and metalloproteinase (ADAM) activity in Head and Neck cancer
  • Control of the surface topology of human neutrophils
  • Modulation of neutrophil signalling by new generation anti-inflammatory drugs

Biography

Career profile

1999: First degree in Pharmacology, UWCM

2003: PhD from the University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff (Phagocytosis by Neutrophils: The Roles of Ca2+)

2004;   2010: Wellcome Trust funded Postdoctoral role in the Neutrophil Signalling Group, Cardiff University to investigate the mechanisms of neutrophil function; Awarded a Wellcome Trust VIP award to further research in neutrophil phagocytosis. Successful co-applicant of a Wellcome Trust grant, investigating the role of calpain in the control of phagocytosis by neutrophils (with Prof. MB Hallett).
Successful co-applicant for a PhD studentship awarded by the MRC and British Lung Foundation as part of the MRC Capacity Building Studentship Competition (with Prof. MB Hallett).

2010: ARC Cardiff Academic Fellowship (Cardiff University, School of Dentistry) working with Prof Aeschlimann and the ARCBBC (now the 'Biomechanics and Bioengineering Research Centre Versus Arthritis') team, to develop biomarker assays that predict pathology, pain, inflammation and changes in joint function in musculoskeletal diseases

2015: Appointment to Lecturer in School of Dentistry, Cardiff University

Teaching profile

Postgraduate supervision:

PhD Supervision:

  • Validation of a stem cell derived cartilage model for osteoarthritis research and drug screening
  • Role of sensor protein in development of osteoarthritis
  • Investigating a candidate biomarker of osteoarthritis: Role in pathogenesis and efficacy to diagnose disease
  • Novel cancer drug regulates disintegrin and metalloproteinase (ADAM) activity in Head and Neck cancer

Undergraduate teaching:

Yr 2 BDS: Oral Ecosystems  
Deputy course leader, lectures/practicals in:

Tooth Development                
Dentine Structure                
Dentine physiology and sensitivity                
Dentine Structure & Dentine Pulp Complex (practical)                
Amelogenesis (practical)                
Enamel Structure                
Periodontal Ligament (practical)

Postgraduate teaching:

MSc Oral Biology, DET066:Tissue Repair, Regeneration and Scientific Methods              
Module leader, lectures, practical in:

Analysis of a Research Paper
Use of Antibodies in Research
Principles of Microscopy
Confocal microscopy (practical)

Publications

2020

2019

2017

2015

2014

2013

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2004

2003

2002

Teaching

Dr Dewitt is involved in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching. She is deputy lead for the Year 2 BDS Oral Ecosystems course, and leads lectures, practicals and Team-based learning sessions focussed around the early stages of tooth development.

Dr Dewitt also leads the Tissue Repair, Regeneration and Scientific Methods module of the MSc Oral Biology course. This module covers the principles of oral tissue repair and regeneration at the cellular level, as well the laboratory techniques that are typically used to investigate such processes.

Supervision

I am interested in supervising research students in the following areas:

- Novel biomarkers for arthritis
- In vitro cartilage tissue engineering to model arthritis
- Modulation of neutrophil signalling and behaviour

Current supervision

Uzma Ghulam

Research student

Ana Carregosa

Research student

Taqwa Abusalem

Research student

Frank Antwi

Research student

Past projects

Maha Al-Jumaa (2012-2018) ‘Control of the surface topology of human neutrophils’
(1st prize oral presentation at Scientific Society for Saudi Students Conference).

Rhiannon Roberts (2014- 2018) ‘Modulation of neutrophil signalling by new generation anti-inflammatory drugs’
(Cardiff University Postgraduate Research Day 1st prize oral presentation, 2016; 1st prize "3min PhD thesis pitch" 2014; Poster prize 2015; Cardiff-KU Leuven Collaborative award to undertake collaborative research in Leuven University, Belgium (KU Leuven), 2015)

Andreas Heil (2011-15) 'Development of a novel 3D human cartilage model system to investigate changes associated with osteoarthritis'
(Unilever poster prize at BSODR meeting Bath, 2013; poster prize at Cardiff University postgraduate day 2013)

Tim Wanger (2011-2014) ‘TROP2 a stem cell marker with oncogenic potential in prostate cancer: Differential cleavage and regulation by PKC isoforms

Magdalena Adamczyk (2009-2013) 'Biomarkers for arthritis: Regulation of transglutaminase activity by non-conventional export'
(2nd prize for poster at BSODR meeting, Bath, 2013; Prize for best presentation 5th UK Purine Club Symposium, Cambridge, 2013; awarded Arthritis Research UK Foundation fellowship, 2014-17)

Reezal Ishak (2009-2013) ‘Calpain-1: Investigating its Role in Murine Neutrophils’

Geetha Elumalai (2008-2012) ‘Cytosolic signalling and behaviour of oral neutrophils’
(Dental School Research Day Poster award 2011, I3 award for presentation, Atlantic College, 2010)

Kimberly Lewis (2008-2012) ‘Control of neutrophil infiltration into inflamed airways in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease’