Dr Alanna Green

PhD BBiomedSc (Hons)

Department of Oncology and Metabolism

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Alanna Green Staff
+44 114 215 9077

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Dr Alanna Green
Department of Oncology and Metabolism
The Medical School
Beech Hill Road
S10 2RX

I joined the University of Sheffield in 2016 as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Sheffield Myeloma Research Team, Department of Oncology and Metabolism working with Dr Andrew Chantry and Dr Michelle Lawson. In July 2019, I joined Professor Thomas Helleday’s team, as a Postdoctoral Research Associate and Project Leader using novel inhibitors to target the cancer-specific enzyme MTHFD2.

I completed my BBiomedSci at Monash University in 2009 focusing on pharmacology and biochemistry, receiving a High Achievement Award. In 2010, I completed my Honours year in the Stem Cell Regulation Unit at St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research (SVI), The University of Melbourne receiving first-class honours and a place on the Dean’s Honours List (first in class). I continued my research career working as a Research Assistant at SVI, followed by my PhD in the Department of Medicine (SVI), The University of Melbourne, which was completed in December 2016. My PhD identified that retinoic acid receptor signalling regulates mesenchymal stem cell fate and bone biology leading to altered haematopoiesis. This provided insight into a mechanism by which blood and bone cells interact in health and disease. Understanding the roles of microenvironment cells is vital for improving haematopoietic recovery following chemotherapy or bone marrow transplants and crucial for enhanced targeting of dormant tumour cells in the bone marrow exhibiting chemotherapy-resistance. I also created a new method for FACS isolation of primary bone cells, particularly cells involved in regulating haematopoiesis, improving the way diseases involving aberrant microenvironment cells (such as myeloma) are studied and understood.

Research interests

My research interests focus on bone-cancer interactions, in particular in the cancer multiple myeloma. I am interested in how cancer induces destructive bone disease and also how bone regulates tumourigenic processes like dormancy, relapse and matastasis to bone. My research has developed advanced preclinical models of myeloma to improve testing of novel therapeutics. Using these mouse models we have shown that bone anabolic therapy can heal myeloma bone disease through a mechanism similar to intramembranous fracture repair. I also have extensive experience in studying how the bone marrow microenvironment regulates haematopoiesis. Findings from my PhD identified a novel bone lining cell type that is a putative niche for early B lymphopoiesis.

Currently, my research focuses on identifying whether novel therapies targeting the DNA damage response (DDR), developed by the Helleday lab, can be used to treat cancers, and specifically a role for cancers in bone.

I collaborate with researchers in Materials Science and Engineering and Insigneo to understand the mechanical and material properties of bone following anabolic therapy. I also have ongoing collaborations with Automatic Control and Systems Engineering to develop new approaches to measure cancer-induced bone diseases by applying machine learning techniques.

This video shows a mouse tibia with myeloma bone disease, and the same bone after 2 weeks of treatment with a bone anabolic (TGFβ inhibitor; SD-208) and chemotherapy (bortezomib and lenalidomide). For details on this study see our paper in JBMR.

Current Projects

  • Sheffield Hospitals Charity Project Grant: ‘The plateau phase model: an improved murine model for testing novel anti-cancer and bone-repair therapies to cure myeloma’ 
  • Pump-Prime Grant in collaboration with Prof Lyudmila Mihaylova and Lingzhong Guo (Automatic Control and Systems Engineering): ‘Machine Learning Methods for 3D Bone Lesion Detection in Cancer-affected Bones’.

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Journal articles


Conference proceedings papers

  • Zhu Y, Green A, Guo L, Evans H & Mihaylova L () Machine Learning Approaches for Cancer Bone Segmentation from Micro Computed Tomography Images. Proceedings of the International Conference of Information Fusion View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Sheffield Hospitals Charity Project Grant: ‘The plateau phase model: an improved murine model for testing novel anti-cancer and bone-repair therapies to cure myeloma’
  • Pump-Prime Grant in collaboration with Prof Lyudmila Mihaylova and Lingzhong Guo (Automatic Control and Systems Engineering): ‘Machine Learning Methods for 3D Bone Lesion Detection in Cancer-affected Bones’.
Professional activities

I am a committee member for the Bone Research Society (BRS). I am a founding editorial board member for the International Federation for Musculoskeletal Research Societies (IFMRS)’s online learning environment HubLE.org. For HubLE, I am Co-Chair of the In a Nutshell feature and I was the Moderator for the first HubLE Debate; a panel discussion on Equality for Mothers in Research. I am on the Reviewer Board for Cancers and I regularly peer-review for the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research (JBMR), Bone, FASEB Journal, Stem Cells International, Biomolecules, Nutrients and Cancers. I am currently a Guest Editor for a Special Issue in Mediators of Inflammation: Mediators of Inflammation in Bone Physiology and Diseases


  • Committee Member of the Bone Research Society (BRS)
  • Editorial Board Member of IFMRS HubLE
  • Member of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR)
  • Member of the Australia and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society (ANZBMS)
  • Member of the Cancer and Bone Society (CABS)
  • Member of the European Calcified Tissue Society (ECTS)
  • Member of the European Molecular Biology Laboratories (EMBL) Australia
  • Member of the British Association for Cancer Research (BACR)

Past committee roles

  • Co-Founder, Co-President and Co-Chair for the EMBL Australia Inaugural PhD Symposium 2014
  • Co-President of the St Vincent’s Student Society 2013-2014
  • Committee Member of the BiomedLink Student Conference 2013, 2014 

Throughout my research career I have received 19 highly competitive awards and scholarships for research innovation, academic achievement and outreach from organisations in Australia, the UK and internationally.

Some of these include the Australian Postgraduate Award (Australian Federal Government), St Vincent’s Institute Foundation Award (SVI) and the Postgraduate Research Experience Scholarship (The University of Melbourne).

I have been selected to give presentations of my work at 22 conferences (11 oral presentations), for which I have received 2 Best Oral, 1 Best Snap Oral and 1 Best Poster award. I have also received 5 Young Investigator Awards, including the prestigious AIMM-ASBMR John Haddad Young Investigator Award

In 2017, I was the winner of the Kroto Research Inspiration Poster Competition (The University of Sheffield).