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Charlotte Billington

Research Fellow, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences

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Biography

I am an active member of the American Thoracic Society Respiratory Structure and Function Assembly and sit on the Planning Committee. I am a prior co-organiser and keen supporter and attendee of the Young Investigator Meeting in Smooth Muscle in Airway and Vascular Disease. I am also a member of the Medical School Ethics committee.

Research Summary

My major research interests are based in signalling networks in human airway smooth muscle (hASM) within the context of airway disease.

Currently 50% of my research time involves mathematical modelling of the airway remodelling observed in asthma. This is a collaborative MRC-funded project with PI Dr Bindi Brook and co-investigators Prof Simon Johnson, Dr Chris Philp, Dr Amanda Tatler and Dr Reuben O'Dea.

The other 50% of my research time encompasses projects headed by Prof Ian Hall namely the functional significance of genes identified as being important in lung function via GWAS and the use of hyperpolarised 129 xenon and MRI as an imaging tool for airway disease.

I have extensive experience in using fluorescent probes / tagged proteins coupled with high speed confocal microscopy to investigate both contractile and relaxant signalling pathways in hASM cells. This allows temporal, spatial and pharmacological effects to be both visualised and quantified at the single cell level. My current body of work utilises fluorescent-tagged proteins to investigate pro-contractile signalling via store-operated calcium channels in hASM cells.

Recent Publications

Past Research

Prior to re-joining Prof. Hall's group in August 2003, I worked as a post-doctoral fellow in Prof. Ray Penn / Prof. Jeff Benovic's laboratory in Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, USA, a position I took up immediately following graduation in July 2001. Whilst in the US I investigated the observation that chronically exposing human airway smooth muscle (hASM) cells to epidermal growth factor (EGF) and thrombin (both potent mitogens) results in a synergistic increase in hASM growth. This is highly relevant as hASM cell hyperplasia and hypertrophy are key factors in the airway remodelling observed in patients with chronic asthma. Artwork I produced showing receptor signalling was chosen for a cover of the American Thoracic Society's journal for respiratory research (American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology) and was also used in 2002 and 2003 to advertise the journal at the American Thoracic Society's International Conference attended by ~ 15 000 delegates.

Due to Prof. Penn securing a new position within Thomas Jefferson University in July 2002, I was very fortunate in spending one year working closely with Prof. Jeff Benovic and his group surrounded by highly-focused, high quality basic science and one year in the Dept. Pulmonary Medicine being exposed to cellular and clinical research with airway disease being the unifying bond. In addition to developing many new skills and improving upon previously learnt techniques, I benefited enormously from interacting with many excellent international scientists with whom I continue to converse and collaborate.

School of Medicine

University of Nottingham
Medical School
Nottingham, NG7 2UH

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