The Academic Unit of Bone Biology was established in 2003 and has grown to provide a range of translational research activities from the fundamentals of cell signalling and regulation of differentiation during development, life and ageing, through in vivo models to link with the human clinical research within the Academic Unit of Bone Metabolism. Additional links to bone oncology include regulation of tumour cell quiescence and activity, and drug discovery biology in cancer. The Unit is led by Professor Tim Skerry and based in the newly refurbished Sheffield Medical Research Institute laboratories adjacent to the Sheffield University Teaching Hospital Trust in the Hallamshire Hospital. The activities of the Unit provide a focus for research in cellular and molecular aspects of bone biology in the School of Medicine.
The principal interests of the Unit are in understanding the normal regulation of skeletal development, skeletal homeostasis, and how these processes are disturbed in disease. For more details on our research activities, and our collaborations with other departments within the University, see the Research page.
In addition, the Academic Unit of Bone Biology also accommodates the Skeletal Analysis Laboratory. This laboratory has been established to provide members of the department, the University and external collaborators access to contemporary approaches to analysing bone. We also offer analytical services to industry, with an increasing focus on provision of translational facilities for research as a one-stop-shop, where our range of models and techniques can be tailored to individual requirements. We have two conventional microCT machines for analysis of bone samples and a new in vivo machine capable of imaging bones in life. Staff are experienced in bone histology, bone histomorphometry and image analysis. The activities of this laboratory are managed by Professor Ilaria Bellantuono.
Led by Professor Richard Eastell, we specialise in clinical and laboratory-based research into bone metabolic disorders, particularly osteoporosis and vitamin D metabolism, and in the field of joint replacement, a key concern in an increasingly aging population. Our state-of-the-art bone imaging technology and measurement of biochemical markers has put us at the forefront of research into musculoskeletal disorders and continues Sheffield’s long tradition of excellence in bone research. For more information, see our Research page.
Based largely at the Northern General Hospital for clinical and imaging work, we maintain close links with the Mellanby Centre for Bone Research at the Medical School, with laboratory technicians working within the Bone Imaging Suite in the Clinical Research Facility at the Northern General Hospital and the Bone Biochemistry Laboratory at the Medical School.
We have long experience and expertise in conducting clinical trials and cohort studies in accordance with UK legislation for clinical research and we provide a service for both clinicians and academics who wish to undertake high quality musculoskeletal research. We host several BMedSci, MD and PhD students and have our own dedicated educational programme to provide generic and subject-specific research training for staff and students alike.
Under the direction on Professor Nick Bishop, our research is concerned with the application of scientific discoveries to children's health. We currently focus on a range of specialist clinical areas, particularly in bone disease, as well as gastroenterology, cystic fibrosis, respiratory disease, growth disorders and inborn errors of metabolism. Further details can be found in the Research pages. Situated in the Sheffield Children's Hospital (SCH), we have easy access to the Children's Clinical Research Facility and work closely with the Hospital Research and Development Department to allow applied research in children and young people.
Our students are well catered for, with a well-stocked child health library and computer facilities that form part of the Sheffield Children’s Hospital Postgraduate Education Department. The General Office serves the needs of students in Phase 3a of the MBChB course.
Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism
Professor Richard Ross heads the Unit of Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism, located in the Medical School and directly connected to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital. Our suite of rooms and laboratories have excellent facilities for a wide range of biochemical, cell culture and molecular biological techniques, including filamentous phage display, heterologous gene expression, cDNA cloning, DNA amplification and sequencing, micro-array technology, real-time and flow cytometry, as well as access to the Clinical Research Facility, providing a vibrant atmosphere for research and teaching.
Professors Richard Ross and John Newell-Price lead clinical and laboratory groups working on pituitary hormones. More detail on their research interests can be found on their staff profiles and our Research page. Drs Phil Watson and Helen Kemp are investigating the pathogenesis of autoimmune endocrine disease, with particular emphasis on thyroid autoimmunity.
Our diabetes research is led by Professor Simon Heller and has three branches: hypoglycaemia, in particular its effects on the cardiovascular system; educating patients on self management (for example, DAFNE project); and the effect of diabetes on the central nervous system. See our Research pages for more information.
Reproductive & Developmental Medicine
Headed by Professor Allan Pacey, our research covers a broad spectrum across reproductive and developmental medicine, from the genomic level through to the physiology of human parturition and reproductive endocrinology. We study reproductive failure and infertility treatment as well as specialising in fetal/obstetric imaging. Read more on our Research page.
The University of Sheffield has an outstanding history of research into reproductive and developmental medicine starting back in 1950 with the pioneering work of Charles Scott Russell on the adverse effects of maternal smoking on the incidence of prematurity, birth weight and the incidence of abortion, stillbirth and neonatal death. We have continued this strong tradition, expanding into areas such as infertility, and we opened one of the first sperm banks in 1985, followed shortly after by one of the UK’s first IVF units.
We are located in the Jessop Wing, Royal Hallamshire Hospital. The Unit occupies a suite of rooms and laboratories with excellent facilities for tissue culture, image analysis and a range of molecular biology facilities. We are connected to the main Medical School building, granting access to a number of Core Services such as micro-array technology, DNA sequencing, real-time and flow cytometry.
We offer an MSc in Reproductive and Developmental Medicine. For more information, click here.