In 2005 I completed my PhD in Reproductive Immunology entitled "The role of decidual T lymphocytes in human pregnancy". This project was carried out at Newcastle University under the supervision of Professor Stephen Robson, Dr Judith Bulmer and Dr Roger Searle and involved investigation, at the cellular level, of human intrauterine immune responses to pregnancy.
Following on from I moved to the University of Nottingham where I worked with Professor David Gardner examining the effect of nutritional programming on kidney regulation of blood pressure. I then moved to Professor Fiona Broughton Pipkin's research group performing investigation of the placental renin-angiotensin system and the role of folic acid in placental development and folate transport within the placenta. Additionally I worked on the WTCCC3 GWAS for pre-eclamspia with Dr Linda Morgan.
- Placental biology
- Reproductive Immunology
- Molecular biology techniques, including all aspects of quantitative real time PCR from primer design and assay optimisation to analysis and presentation of data.
- Cell and tissue culture, including primary cell isolation (decidual leucoytyes and placental extravillous trophoblast, murine neural cell culture), matrigel based extravillous trophoblast invasion assays. Also culture using trophoblast cell lines including JAR, JEG, BeWo and HTR. Also worked with various continuous cell lines including BCEC1, HD11, HT29, CaCO2, K562, P815, THP-1 and HeLa.
- Tumour spheroid generation using canine osteosarcoma cells D17 and MG63.
- Immunohistochemistry, including immunofluorescence and TUNEL, imaging, all aspects of slide preparation including processing and paraffin wax embedding of tissue and use of microtome and cryostat. Rapid staining protocols for use with laser capture microdissection. Use of BondMax and ThermoShandon automated staining systems and Sequenza staining system.
- Flow cytometry cell cycle analysis using propidium iodide labelling. Additionally I have used FACS to isolate decidual and peripheral blood leucocytes.
- Aseptic techniques.
- Chromium release assays, including working with radioactive isotopes.
- Cytokine analysis using multiplex technology.
- ELISA and ELISPOT assays.
I currently work on the BHF funded project 'A new approach to an old problem: The roles of aldosterone and salt in pregnancy for placentation and pre-eclampsia' alongside Dr Hiten Mistry and Dr Lesia… read more
WALSH M, FAIS S, SPUGNINI EP, HARGUINDEY S, ABU IZNEID T, SCACCO L, WILLIAMS P, ALLEGRUCCI C, RAUCH C and OMRAN Z, 2015. Proton pump inhibitors for the treatment of cancer in companion animals. Journal of experimental & clinical cancer research. 34(1), 93
KURLAK, L. O., WILLIAMS, P. J., BULMER, J. N., BROUGHTON PIPKIN, F. and MISTRY, H. D., 2015. Placental expression of adenosine A(2A) receptor and hypoxia inducible factor-1 alpha in early pregnancy, term and pre-eclamptic pregnancies: interactions with placental renin-angiotensin system Placenta. 36(5), 611-3
I currently work on the BHF funded project 'A new approach to an old problem: The roles of aldosterone and salt in pregnancy for placentation and pre-eclampsia' alongside Dr Hiten Mistry and Dr Lesia Kurlak. This project will determine the mechanistic link between aldosterone, salt (via salt sensing), angiogenic and proinflammatory markers in relation to placentation in normotensive pregnancy and pre-eclampsia.
I am also interested in the importance of nutrition, with a particular emphasis on folic acid, in pregnancy and the potential role that simple nutritional interventions may have in preventing pre-eclampsia.
The main research techniques that I employ in my research are cell culture working primarily with human placenta and decidua performing extravillous trophoblast isolation and matrigel based invasion assays. I also have extensive experience of a wide range of immunohistochemical techniques and molecular biology assays including quantitative real time PCR.