My research focuses on utilising biomaterials to direct stem cell differentiation for tissue engineering. We are particularly interested in regenerating osteochondral tissue, which is composed of the soft cartilage that covers the ends of bones and its underlying bone. My interdisciplinary research interests also include studying the fundamental mechanisms of biomineralisation and the role of mechano-sensing in stem cell differentiation and tissue development. I also work with a range of other biomaterials, including bioactive glasses, and am interested in the biological effects of surface free energy and ion release on stem cell response.
My primary research interest is to better understand aspects of protein degradation pathways in cancer, with the ultimate goal of finding novel therapeutic approaches. My lab studies the signalling pathways that promote cell death or survival in cancer cells when protein breakdown is blocked. As a clinician I also see patients with a particular type of blood cancer called multiple myeloma, and I take part in and lead clinical studies of the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT), and the Myeloma UK Clinical Trials Network.
We are both early career researchers trying to establish our research groups. Neither of us has family in the UK, so we have to balance looking after Elsa and building our careers. I took 18 weeks maternity leave and worked flexibly for the next four months by bringing Elsa to the office until she started nursery. Now, Holger does the dropping off and picking up from nursery. With his clinical commitments, having the baby has limited the time he has to devote to research, but the flexibility of our academic careers has allowed us to be equal carers for her.