Professor Steve Winder

Winder_Steve.jpgProfessor of Molecular Cell Biology
Director of Recruitment & International Relations

Department of Biomedical Science
The University of Sheffield
Western Bank
Sheffield S10 2TN
United Kingdom

Room: B2 06 Florey building
Tel: +44 (0) 114 222 2332


Cell Biology and Cancer


Brief career history

  • 2005-Present: Professor of Molecular Cell Biology, Department of Biomedical Science, University of Sheffield
  • 2003-2005: Reader, Department of Biomedical Science, University of Sheffield
  • 1999-2003: Lecturer (99-01) Reader (02-03), University of Glasgow
  • 1995-1999: Wellcome Trust Fellow, ICMB, University of Edinburgh,
  • 1992-1995: Staff Scientist, Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge - Advisor, Jake Kendrick-Jones
  • 1988-1992: Postdoctoral Fellow, Biochemistry, University of Calgary, Advisor - Mike Walsh.
  • 1984-1988: PhD, University of Reading, Supervisor - Isabel Forsyth

Research interests

My group is using molecular and cellular approaches to understand the biology of the adhesion receptor dystroglycan. We are focussed on modulating dystroglycan signalling as a therapeutic route to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy. We are also investigating the functions of dystroglycan in organising and stabilising the nuclear lamina, in cancer and in muscular dystrophies.

Professional activities

  • Member of the Scientific Advisory Board for Duchenne UK
  • Member of the TREAT NMD Advisory Committee on Therapeutics (TACT)
  • Member of Editorial Boards of: International Journal of Cell Biology, BioMed Research International, PLoS Currents Muscular Dystrophy, Investigación en Discapacidad, Protein Modules Consortium.
  • External examiner for Molecular Medicine BSc, School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Quinquennial review of MSc in Molecular Medicine, School of Biological Sciences, UEA, External Advisory Board for Biomedical Science, International Islamic University Malaysia, External Advisor to the Board of Studies for Biochemistry, Ramnarain Ruia College, Mumbai,
  • Recent Invited Conference presentations: 220th ENMC Workshop on ‘Dystroglycan and the dystroglycanopathies’, Naarden, Holland. EMBO Workshop on ‘The modularity of signalling proteins and networks’, Seefeld, Austria. IIUM Zebrafish Workshop, Kuantan, Malaysia. Action Duchenne International Conference, London. 5th International Workshop for Glycosylation Defects in Muscular Dystrophies, Charlotte, NC, USA.
  • Member of British Society for Cell Biology and Biochemical Society

Full publications


Regulation of dystroglycan function in muscular dystrophy and cancer

The laminin binding protein dystroglycan plays multiple roles in cell adhesion, signalling and membrane cytoskeleton stability. Perturbation of dystroglycan function underlies several muscular dystrophies and is also a secondary consequence of adenocarcinoma progression. Changes to the post-translational modification of dystroglycan are crucial in directing the associations, cellular localisation and ultimately degradation of dystroglycan. Our aim is to elucidate the mechanisms and consequences of these post-translational modifications in order to better understand dystroglycan function and to identify potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of muscular dystrophy or cancer.

We employ in vitro, in/ex vivo fish and mouse genetic models with clinically relevant archival tissue samples or immortalised cell lines. Dystroglycan function is dissected through the use of molecular cell biology approaches, and potential therapeutic targets are assessed in vitro and in vivo. Recently we have developed a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy using inhibitors of tyrosine phosphorylation and proteasomal degradation. Through the use of zebrafish screening and phenotypic analysis in mdx mice and human DMD myoblasts we are in the process of validating the potential for repurposed drugs as a precursor to initiating clinical trials. Physiological analysis is carried out I collaboration with Nic Wells at the RVC London.

In vitro models of prostate cancer have revealed a role for the post-translational proteolytic processing and nuclear targeting of dystroglycan. Current efforts are centred around characterising a role as part of the LINC complex in the inner nuclear membrane. These studies form part of an ongoing collaboration with Bulmaro Cisneros, CINVESTAV Mexico City.



  • Action Duchenne - Repurposed Cancer Therapeutics as Treatments for DMD
  • Duchenne UK - Are soy products effective in DMD?
  • White Rose - The Dystroglycan LINC
  • Action on Hearing Loss - Dystroglycan function in hearing and hearing loss

Group Members

Dr Gemma Woodward
Postdoctoral Researcher

Mr Matt Cook
PhD Student

Ms Ruhan A
MSc Student

Lab Extension: 22306


Undergraduate and postgraduate taught modules

Level 1:

  • BMS109 Cell Biology
  • BMS110 Research Topics in Biomedicine

Level 3

  • Practical and Dissertation Modules

Level 4/Masters (MSc)

  • BMS402 Laboratory Research Project (MBiomedSci)
  • BMS6052 Laboratory Research Project (MSc)

Postgraduate studentship opportunities

We advertise PhD opportunities (Funded or Self-Funded) on

For further information and details of other projects on offer, please see the department PhD Opportunities page:

PhD Opportunities

Selected publications

Journal articles