Dr Russell Collighan

Russell Collighan

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Research interests

Our research is focussed on a group of enzymes called transglutaminases. Transglutaminases are found in many different organisms including microbes, plants and mammals. These enzymes are responsible for a variety of post-translational modifications of proteins, in particular cross-linking of proteins into large molecular weight polymers that are more resistant to degradation. This process is important for the stability of skin, hair, blood clots and the extracellular matrix surrounding cells. Of particular interest is the tissue transglutaminase (TG2), which is important in inflammation, matrix deposition, cell adhesion and cell migration. Consequently, these functions have relevance to a broad range of physiological and pathological processes such as wound healing, tissue fibrosis and scarring, tumour progression, cystic fibrosis, and neurodegeneration.

We have an established programme of research into the molecular mechanisms by which TG2 exerts its physiological and pathological effects. To do this, we use a variety of cell systems which can be engineered to express different site-directed mutant TG2 enzymes that we have produced. We are also developing a range of targeted irreversible inhibitors of TG2 as potential novel therapeutic agents for TG2-associated pathologies. We are also interested in exploiting the matrix cross-linking properties of transglutaminases for the development of stable, biocompatible biomaterials that can be tailored for a variety of biological and physical environments, for example soft tissue or bone repair.

Employment

2009- Lecturer in Molecular Biology

2004-2009- Research Fellow, School of Life and Health Sciences, Aston University

1999-2004- Research Fellow, School of Biomedical and Natural Sciences, Nottingham Trent University

1996-1999- Higher Scientific Officer, Microbiology department, Veterinary Laboratories Agency (Weybridge)

1992-1995- PhD Molecular biology, Department of Biochemistry, University of Nottingham

1989-1992- BSc (Hons) Biochemistry and biological chemistry, Department of Biochemistry, University of Nottingham

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Clinical and Systems Neuroscience

Organisational unit: School

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