This interdisciplinary program joins together researchers developing novel therapies and technologies to restore structure and functions of tissues and organs affected by diseases, injury and age.

Our research aims to reveal therapeutic potential and mechanisms of action of mesenchymal stem cells including circulating osteoprogenitor (COP) cells for the treatment of osteoporosis, sarcopenia, bone frailty and injury, damaged cartilage, muscular dystrophy, enteric neuropathy associated with inflammatory bowel disease and damage to the organs caused by anti-cancer chemotherapy.

Apart from stem cell-based therapies, we are working on the development of novel immunotherapies, vaccines, anabolic and pharmacological treatments that stimulate tissue regeneration. Our team is developing delivery systems for stem cell-based therapies, immunotherapeutic and pharmacological agents to increase their therapeutic efficacy while reducing their side-effects. 

In our studies we use pre-clinical animal models of osteosarcopenia, inflammatory bowel disease, Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy, cancer and chemotherapy as well as human tissues.

This research focuses on:

  • Identification of the mechanisms of mesenchymal stem cells differentiation into bone, muscle and fat. Investigation the interactions between these cells and development of new therapeutic approaches that stimulate differentiation of stem cells into bone and muscle at the expense of fat.
  • The role of circulating osteoprogenitor cells in age-related diseases such as osteoporosis, sarcopenia and frailty.
  • Investigating lamin A expression in circulating osteoprogenitor cells as a potential biomarker for musculoskeletal diseases.
  • The interaction of a potential bone anabolic with human mesenchymal stem cells.
  • Mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of enteric neuropathy associated with IBD: understanding mechanisms underlying their therapeutic potential.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease-induced osteoporosis: changes in the bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells. Stem cell-based therapies for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease-induced osteoporosis.
  • Novel treatments for gastrointestinal, neurological and musculoskeletal side-effects of chemotherapy.
  • Optimisation of colorectal cancer treatment by smart nano-drug delivery system.
  • Investigating potential treatments for Duchenne muscular dystrophy and other muscle wasting conditions.
  • Development of novel biologic therapies for the treatment of enteric neuropathy.
  • Vaccine against multiple sclerosis

Program Members

Kulmira Nurgali

Program Director

Professor Gustavo Duque

Linked Program Director

Professor John Hamilton

Linked Program Director

Professor Alan Hayes

Linked Program Director

Professor Vasso Apostolopoulos

Linked Program Director

Professor John Price

Linked Program Director

Dr Emma Rybalka

Linked Program Director

Dr Sean Yan

Project Director

Dr Sarah Fraser

Member-in-Training

Dr Rachel McQuade

Member-in-Training

Dr Rhian Stavely

Member-in-Training

Dr Ainsley Robinson

Member-in-Training

Dr Nyanbol Kuol

Member-in-Training

Dr Jack Feehan

Member-in-Training

Ms Shilpa Sharma

Member-in-Training

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