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Dr Emma Blain BSc, PhD, FHEA

Dr Emma Blain

BSc, PhD, FHEA

Reader

School of Biosciences

Email
blain@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 5171
Fax:
+44 (0)29 2087 4594
Campuses
Sir Martin Evans Building, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX
Users
Available for postgraduate supervision

Overview

My research elucidates the cellular and molecular events that are involved in the mechano-regulation of articular cartilage homeostasis, the mechanism/s that propagate mechanically-mediated joint degeneration and identification of therapeutic targets for intervention. I am a Co-applicant of the Biomechanics and Bioengineering Research Centre Versus Arthritis in Cardiff University and manage the mechanical loading laboratory in the School of Biosciences (Figure 1), where I have established cell, explant and animal models to investigate how mechanical load influences joint homeostasis and pathology.Co-Chair Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team.

Roles

Co-Chair Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team

Staff and Working Environment committee member

Module Lead: BI3353 Advanced Musculoskeletal Biology and Tissue Engineering

Module Lead: BIT001 Cellular and Molecular Biology

Personal Tutor

Interested in joining my lab as a self-funded post-graduate student or a postdoc/fellow?  Please contact me by email.

Biography

1998: BSc (1st Class Hons) Biochemistry with Medical Biochemistry (Cardiff)

2002: PhD (BBSRC CASE Award with Amersham Biosciences, Cardiff)

2016: Postgraduate Certificate in University Teaching and Learning (FHEA)

Honours and awards

2018 Journal of Orthopaedic Research Basic Science Award

2008: British Society for Matrix Biology Young Investigator Award

Professional memberships

British Society for Matrix Biology

Biochemical Society

Physiological Society

Cardiff Institute of Tissue Engineering and Repair

Academic positions

2020 - present: Reader, Cardiff University

2016 - 2020: Senior Lecturer, Cardiff University

2014 – 2016: Lecturer, Cardiff University

2009 – 2014: Arthritis Research UK Biomechanics & Bioengineering Centre Academic Fellow

2007 – 2009: Senior Research Associate, Cardiff University

2002 – 2007: Research Associate, Cardiff University

Committees and reviewing

2020 – 2023   NC3Rs Training Fellowship Assessment Panel member

I regularly review grants for the BBSRC, MRC, Dunhill Medical Trust and JGW Patterson Foundation. In addition, I review manuscripts for Arthritis & Rheumatism, Osteoarthritis & Cartilage and a number of other specialist journals in the field. I have acted as both internal and external examiner on a number of PhD, MD and MSc theses.

Publications

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

Teaching

Teaching profile

BI0001 – Cells and the Chemistry of Life

BI2233 – Developmental and Stem Cell Biology

BI3353 – Advanced Musculoskeletal Biology and Tissue Engineering

BI3001 – Final Year Projects (laboratory and literature)

BIT001 – Cellular and Molecular Biology (MSc Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine)

Week-long Research Experience Lead for ‘In vitro model of inflammatory arthritis’ practical.

My research interests encompass the cellular and molecular events that are involved in the mechano-regulation of articular cartilage tissue homeostasis, the mechanism/s that propagate mechanically-mediated joint degeneration i.e. osteoarthritis and identification of therapeutic targets for intervention. More specifically, my research interests are:-

  • Investigating mechano-regulation of microRNAs in articular cartilage.
  • Investigating why ankle osteoarthritis only develops as a result of previous mechanical trauma.
  • Elucidating the role of the chondrocyte cytoskeleton, particularly the vimentin intermediate filaments (Figure 2), in sensing mechanical load, and how these intracellular networks transduce mechanical signals into a biochemical response in articular cartilage.
  • Delineating the role of the canonical and non-canonical WNT pathways in transducing mechanical signals in articular cartilage.

Current funding

  • Versus Arthritis
  • AO UK
  • British Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society

Previous funding

  • MRC DPFS (in collaboration with Newcastle University)
  • Arthritis Research UK
  • Dunhill Medical Trust
  • EPSRC DTP
  • Orthopaedic Research UK
  • Kuwait Embassy Studentship
  • BBSRC CASE Studentship (AstraZeneca)
  • EPSRC Dorothy Hodgkin Studentship
  • SARTRE
  • Cardiff University Partnership Fund

Collaborators

External

Professor David Young (Institute of Cellular Medicine, Newcastle University)

Professor Martin Knight (School of Engineering, Queen Mary University of London)

Dr Chrissy Hammond (School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience, University of Bristol)

Internal

Professor Clare Hughes (School of Biosciences)

Dr Emyr Lloyd-Evans (School of Biosciences)

Dr Craig Boote (School of Optometry)

Dr Hanxing Zhu (School of Engineering)

Dr Bronwen Evans (School of Medicine)

Current research group members

Dr Cleo Bonnet (post-doctoral research associate)

Ms Helen Davies (MRes student)

Engagement

2018 – present: STEM Ambassador

2017 – 2019:  Member of Personal and Public Involvement and Engagement committee for the Arthritis Research UK Biomechanics and Bioengineering Centre

I regularly contribute to public engagement activities involving patients with musculoskeletal diseases and school children. Recent public engagement activities have included Festival of the Mind (Dementia awareness week), Knee Education clinic (Cardiff and Vale Orthopaedic Centre) and attendance at the Genetics and Genomics for the Third Generation, 3G Conference informing the public on the research being conducted within the Biomechanics and Bioengineering Research Centre Versus Arthritis and within my lab.