Professor Fiona Boissonade

BDS, PhD

School of Clinical Dentistry

Professor of Oral Neuroscience

Director of Impact and External Engagement

f.boissonade@sheffield.ac.uk
+44 114 215 9314

Full contact details

Professor Fiona Boissonade
School of Clinical Dentistry
19 Claremont Crescent
Sheffield
S10 2TA
Profile

After completing my BDS degree at the University of Birmingham and training posts in Oral Surgery, I obtained a PhD in Neuroscience from University of Bristol School of Physiology and Pharmacology. Following my PhD I was awarded a Postdoctoral Fellowship by the Medical Research Council of Canada to undertake research at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. I returned to the UK to take up a post as Lecturer and then Reader in Neuroscience at the University of Sheffield School of Clinical Dentistry. I was awarded a Personal Chair in 2003 and was the first female Professor in the School.

My primary research interests focus on pain, nerve injury and regeneration, and neural interactions in disease progression and wound healing. My laboratory currently includes one research fellow, two postdoctoral researchers, seven PhD students and two intercalating BMedSci students. The lab is highly international with current members from Italy, Portugal, Thailand, Japan, Mexico and Saudi Arabia as well as from the UK, demonstrating the reach of our research. I lead the intercalated BMedSci course and the Sheffield Pain Network, and am Director of Impact and External Engagement for the School.

Research interests

I have a major research interest in the mechanisms of altered neuronal excitability that occur under the pathological conditions of nerve injury and inflammation, and which contribute to the development of chronic pain, including that in the oro–facial region. Much of this research has been done at the academic–industrial interface. Collaborations with GSK, Pfizer and Eli Lilly have funded a wide range of pre-clinical translational studies, using pre-clinical models and human tissues to identify and validate a range of regulators of neuronal excitability as potential targets for the development of novel analgesics and anti-inflammatory mediators.
Other research projects are directed towards improvement of nerve regeneration. This work investigates methods of improving nerve repair through the use of a range of therapeutic agents, bioengineered conduits and cell therapies, and includes collaborations with the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, the Department of Biomedical Science and the Centre for Stem Cell Biology at the University of Sheffield. I also collaborate with the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN) investigating the role of chemokines in CNS disease. Other projects focus on neural–immune interactions and their role in tumour progression and wound healing.

This work is and has been supported by grant income from the EU, Research Councils UK (BBSRC, MRC), industry (GSK, Eli Lilly, Pfizer and Renovo) and charities (Wellcome Trust, Action Research), including Industrial Partnership Awards and CASE Industrial Studentships.

Research team

  • Emma Bird (PDRA)
  • Adam Harding (PDRA)
  • Milena De Felice (Marie Curie Fellow)
  • Matt Worsley (Research Technician)
Publications

Journal articles

Conference proceedings papers

  • Castro OOS, Boissonade F & Rivolta M (2017) Identification and characterisation of a neural crest-related stem cell (NCSC) population from DPCs for auditory and peripheral nerve regeneration. HUMAN GENE THERAPY, Vol. 28(8) (pp A26-A26) RIS download Bibtex download
Research group

PhD students

  • Aunwaya Kaewpitak
  • Diana Tavares Ferreira
  • Emad Albadawi
  • Hisham Shembesh
  • Oscar Solis Castro
  • Jordan Talbot
  • Jonathan Field
  • Mehrie Behbehani

BMedSci students

  • Heather Wallis
  • Jamie Hall
Teaching activities

I give lectures to undergraduates from the Dental, Orthoptics and Speech Science courses covering subjects including neuroscience and local anaesthesia. I run a series of practicals for BDS students relating to nerves, blood vessels and pulp vitality, and deliver clinical teaching to BDS students in Oral Surgery.

I am course lead for the intercalated BMedSci programme in Dentistry at Sheffield.

Professional activities
  • Panel member, Arthritis Research UK
  • Research Grant reviewer for BBSRC, MRC, Arthritis Research UK
  • External examiner for Physiology, Bristol University BDS course
  • External Assessor, Brighton Centre for Regenerative Medicine
  • Lead, Sheffield Pain Network
  • Membership of learned societies: International Association for the Study of Pain (Neuropathic and Orofacial Pain Special Interest Groups), International Association for Dental Research, Association of Basic Science Teachers in Dentistry