Ageing extracellular matrix

The mechanical properties of most tissues are dominated by material which lies outside the cells, the extracellular matrix. This matrix relies on collagens for strength and elastic fibres, which are composed of two proteins elastin and fibrillin, for elasticity. This research area employs ultrastructural biology techniques including molecular combing, atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) to characterise the structure and mechanical function of the extracellular matrix proteins in ageing and diseased tissues.

These studies involve collaborations with colleagues in:

Research areas

Current areas of interest are:

  1. Age-related changes in the structure and function of fibrillin microfibrils in the skin, heart and blood vessels and lungs
  2. The effects of ultraviolet radiation on protein structure in the skin and eyes
  3. Age-related changes in type VI collagen microfibrils of the intervertebral disc and articular cartilage