6 April 2022

Mellanby Centre Annual Research Day

The University’s Mellanby Centre for Musculoskeletal Research held its annual meeting in March and over 110 people attended.

Mellanby Centre Annual Research Day

A particular highlight of the meeting was the ability of delegates to meet face to face for the first time in over two years.

The Mellanby Centre for Bone Research was set up within the University of Sheffield 13 years ago and we held the annual research day at Inox Dine in March 2022. Richard Eastell is the Director of the Centre and he opened the meeting by explaining the strategic importance of the Centre. The Centre has been the basis of grant success, and was successful in receiving further funding for the Centre for the Integration of Research into Musculoskeletal Ageing (CIMA) and the Experimental Cancer Treatment Centre. The opening speaker was Professor Noel Clarke of The Christie and Salford Royal Hospitals in Manchester and he spoke about ‘Assessing Skeletal Disease Burden and Treatment Effects from Prostate Cancer in the STAMPEDE Trial’. This trial was voted the World’s best cancer trial in 2019 and included more than 11,000 men. He is now using the trial data to better identify patients with prostate cancer at risk of fracture. Dr Saravana Ramasamy is a Sir Henry Dale Fellow at Imperial College, London. He spoke about the ‘Role of blood vessels in bone remodelling’. He described how osteoclasts in mouse bone were closely associated with blood vessels. Dr Stefaan Verbruggen is Lecturer in Biomechanics at the University of Sheffield. He captured our attention by showing an MRI video of a foetus kicking the uterus to strengthen the hip joint. He explained about the importance of osteocytes in mechanobiology and how the response to ‘strain’ is mediated by integrin attachments in these cells. Professor Richard Eastell spoke about the overshoot in bone turnover after stopping a drug commonly used for osteoporosis, denosumab. We don’t understand why this happens, so we have been successful in obtaining a grant to study this by measuring pre-osteoclast like cells in the blood. Professor Alejandro Frangi, Diamond Jubilee Chair at the University of Leeds spoke about in silico trials of medical implants and showed that using computers allowed simulations of clinical trials that are much less expensive that studies in humans. Dr James Edwards, from the University of Oxford, spoke about ‘Ageing Mechanisms in Bone and Joint Disease’. He described the ‘Unity Theory of Ageing’ and considered the likely mediators. He gave his results on the effects of bisphosphonates on inflammatory markers using a secretome approach.

We held snap poster presentations for the fifth time as these are a popular format. They were one-minute presentations on why someone should attend the poster and this year we applied the approach to all our posters. We awarded a prize named in memory of Darren Lath to Ana Lopez-Guarjardo for the snap presentations given in exactly 60 seconds. The best poster presentations were won by Quizi Huang and Christine LeMaitre. The best oral presentations were won by Diane Lefley and Lorenza Mattia. We awarded Professor Philippe Clezardin with Lifetime Mellanby Centre Membership (photo).

Professor Philippe Clezardin was presented with Lifetime Mellanby Centre Membership by the Director, Professor Richard Eastell.

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