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Personal profile

Research interests

My research interest is cartilage – often thought of as an inert, gristly material, in reality is a fascinating tissue.

Articular cartilage

Articular cartilage – lines the surface of bones of articulating joints, protecting the underlying bone from the mechanical forces associated with movement and support. Degeneration of articular cartilage results in chronic diseases affecting millions of people in the UK alone, osteoarthritis (OA) being the most common. OA was once thought of as simply a result of wear and tear, but it is now believed the resident cells of cartilage, chondrocytes, play a key role in its initiation and progression. Currently we know little of the disease process, and consequently the treatment options are limited.

Chondrocyte morphology has been observed to change in osteoarthritis cartilage, indicating a shift in cell phenotype. My work with Dr Andrew Hall (University of Edinburgh) has identified an increased number of these cells and their expression of the powerful inflammatory cytokine interleukin 1beta (IL-1beta) with the progression of osteoarthritis. Indeed, cell changes have been observed in apparently normal articular cartilage suggesting a role in the initiation of the disease process. Researchers are further investigating this novel observation.

One treatment option for patients suffering from OA is joint resurfacing using osteochondral (bone+cartilage) donor grafts (mosaicplasty). Unfortunately, availability of suitable and safe tissue is limited due to the lack of options for tissue storage. My research group is interested in how to improve upon this, developing novel techniques to allow successful cryopreservation of articular cartilage.

Growth plate cartilage

The growth plate, also known as the epiphyseal plate, is entirely responsible for bone lengthening through childhood and adolescence. It is a fundamental process, driven by the increase in volume of growth plate chondrocytes, but the cellular mechanisms are relatively unknown. I am interested in how these cells increase their size, and what regulates the change in volume.


Osteosarcomas are bone cancers which predominantly affect children and adolescents; they typically occur next to the growth plate. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs which are an important regulator of gene expression in cells, and may be involved in osteosarcoma. In collaboration with colleagues at the  Brighton and Sussex Medical School (Dr Sarah Newbury’s group) we are investigating the potential role of the miRNA XRN1.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Aberdeen

1 Aug 19921 Mar 1997

Bachelor, University of Portsmouth

Sep 1989Jun 1992


  • QP Physiology

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  • 2 Similar Profiles
Chondrocytes Medicine & Life Sciences
Osteoarthritis Medicine & Life Sciences
Methylcellulose Chemical Compounds
Interleukin-1beta Medicine & Life Sciences
Growth Plate Medicine & Life Sciences
Cartilage Medicine & Life Sciences
Biomimetics Engineering & Materials Science
Articular Cartilage Medicine & Life Sciences

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Research Output 1995 2019

Investigating the effect of sterilisation methods on the physical properties and cytocompatibility of methyl cellulose used in combination with alginate for 3D-bioplotting of chondrocytes

Hodder, E., Duin, S., Kilian, D., Ahlfeld, T., Seidel, J., Nachtigall, C., Bush, P., Covill, D., Gelinsky, M. & Lode, A., 4 Jan 2019, In : Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine. 30, 1, 10.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Physical properties

Engineering of TIMP‐3 as a LAP‐fusion protein for targeting to sites of inflammation

Alberts, B., Sacre, S., Bush, P. & Mullen, L., 18 Nov 2018, In : Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine. 5 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
Protein Transport
Matrix Metalloproteinases
Peptide Hydrolases

MRI-informed Biomimetic Design of Artificial Intervertebral Disc Scaffolds using 3D Bioplotting

Hodder, E., Covill, D., Bush, P., Cercignani, M., Dowell, N. G., Overall, A., Gelinsky, M., Lode, A. & Duin, S., 1 Dec 2017, p. 0-0. 1 p.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractResearch

Open Access
Scaffolds (biology)
Magnetic resonance imaging

Abnormal human chondrocyte morphology is related to increased levels of cell-associated IL-1 beta and disruption to pericellular collagen yype VI

Murray, D. H., Bush, P., Brenkel, I. J. & Hall, A. C., 30 Nov 2010, In : Journal of Orthopaedic Research. 28, 11, p. 1507-1514 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Collagen Type VI

A cell shrinkage artefact in growth plate chondrocytes with common fixative solutions: importance of fixative osmolarity for maintaining morphology

Loqman, M. Y., Bush, P., Farquharson, C. & Hall, A. C., May 2010, In : European Cells and Materials. 14, 19, p. 214-227 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access