A team of researchers from The University of Manchester will help “reveal fundamental rules of life” and, potentially, find improved treatments for diseases such as osteoarthritis and healing wounds.
The team, from the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health (FBMH) and led by Principal Investigator, Professor Karl Kadler, have been awarded £4.6 million from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC to research the extracellular matrix structure (ECM).
The ECM is a three-dimensional network of extracellular macromolecules, such as collagen, enzymes, and glycoproteins, that provide structural and biochemical support of surrounding cells.
Cells, the fundamental building block of living organisms, rely on an extracellular matrix to provide structure and protect them from environmental forces and are essential for connective tissues such as skin, tendon and cartilage.
This research aims to define the mechanisms that temporally regulate collagen secretion and extracellular matrix structure in the short term across a circadian cycle and, in the long term, across the life course.
Simply put, decoding the how the matrix is maintained and repaired throughout a healthy life course, would potentially improve treatment for wound healing and age-related diseases like osteoarthritis.
Professor Kadler, who is Director of Cellular and Developmental Systems Domain in FBMH, said: “Advances in understanding how tissues develop, are maintained, repaired and age, requires the collective effort of a multidisciplinary team of molecular cell biologists, immunologists, biochemists, circadian clock biologists, wound healing experts and mathematicians, for the benefit of the health science strategy across UKRI, charity funders, and industry.”
The project is one of four new large-scale projects reciving £14million funbidnged from the BBSRC to This leading edge discovery research, funded through the strategic Longer Larger (sLoLa) grants call, aims to make major advances in our understanding of the fundamental biology of living systems.
BBSRC’s Executive Chair, Professor Melanie Welham, said, “Frontier Bioscience is all about pushing forward the boundaries of knowledge, often making unexpected and potentially world changing discoveries. These four projects are supporting interdisciplinary teams, underpinning the importance of collaboration when tackling such complex questions. This investment continues our long-standing commitment to excellence in discovery research that has helped position the UK as a leading nation in bioscience.”
Source: University of Manchester