Dr Alanna (Leni) Green

PhD, BBiomedSc (Hons).

Department of Oncology and Metabolism

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Alanna Green Staff
a.c.green@sheffield.ac.uk
+44 114 215 9200

Full contact details

Dr Alanna (Leni) Green
Department of Oncology and Metabolism
Room FU32, F Floor
The Medical School
Beech Hill Road
Sheffield
S10 2RX
Profile

For enquiries, please contact - iicd-om-operational@sheffield.ac.uk

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. Since July 2020 I have led the Cancer and Bone (CAB) Lab, developing new drugs to treat cancer with a focus on incurable cancers in bone. My team are developing novel strategies to kill dormant cancer cells in myeloma to improve survival, and even cure, these cancers.

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.

I have been recognised as ‘one of the most talented young researchers in the bone field’ by the two largest international bone societies globally: the ECTS and ASBMR. Throughout my career I have been awarded >20 awards for my research including 6 Young Investigator awards, 5 Best Oral/Poster Prizes, an award for Teaching, an award for outreach activities and in 2020 I won the Faculty MDH Early Career Researcher Prize. I graduated 1st in class from The University of Melbourne, the #1 Medical School in Australia.

I have been an elected committee member of the Bone Research Society (BRS) since 2019, and on the annual conference committees 2020-2022. I am organising the BRS Basic Course in Bone and Cartilage Biology and Disease 2022 (Sheffield). I was the Founder, Co-President and Co-Chair of The Inaugural EMBL Australia PhD Symposium in 2014, a conference with 100 attendees and both national and international invited speakers.

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 metastasis 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 involved in oxidative damage and the DNA damage response (DDR), can be used to treat cancers, and specifically targeting chemotherapy-resistance, dormant cancer cells in bone.

Our work recently led to inclusion of myeloma patients in a clinical trial (NCT04077307).

I collaborate with researchers in Materials Science and Engineering to understand the mechanical and material properties of bone following anabolic therapy. I am also interested in the mechanisms by which bone regulates tumour dormancy and haematopoiesis.

This 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: ‘Targeting minimal residual disease to find a cure for myeloma’ .
Publications

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Journal articles

Chapters

Conference proceedings papers

All publications

Journal articles

Chapters

Conference proceedings papers

Grants

Sheffield Hospitals Charity Project Grant (2022-2023) ‘Targeting minimal residual disease to find a cure for myeloma’. Dr A.C. Green, Dr A.D. Chantry & Dr M.A. Lawson (£43,000).

WARP Funding (2022-2023) Dr A.C. Green. (£10,000).

NC3Rs studentship award (2021-2023). Development and validation of 3D in vitro dormant myeloma cell models to reduce and replace animal studiesDr M.A. Lawson & Dr A.C. Green (£90,00).

Sheffield Hospitals Charity Project Grant (2018-2019). The plateau phase model: an improved murine model for testing novel anti-cancer and bone-repair therapies to cure myeloma. Dr A.C. Green, Dr A.D. Chantry & Dr M.A. Lawson (£30,000).

WARP Funding (2018-2019) Dr A.C. Green. (£10,000).

Pump-Prime Grant (2019) ‘Machine Learning Methods for 3D Bone Lesion Detection in Cancer-affected Bones’ Prof Lyudmila Mihaylova, Dr A.C. Green & Lingzhong Guo (£5,000).

Teaching activities

I lecture, tutor and provide research supervision on the MSc(Res) Translational Oncology course (OCP605, OCP606, OCP607) and lecture on MSc Molecular Medicine (MED6040).

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, I am an editor of HubLE Publications and I was the Moderator for the first HubLE Debate; a panel discussion on Equality for Mothers in Research. I am a Review Editor for Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology and 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


Roles at TUOS

  • Home Office Project Licence Holder.
  • ECR representative on the Oncology & Metabolism Research Strategy Committee.
  • Committee Member of the MDH Research Staff Association (RSA).

Memberships

  • Committee Member of the Bone Research Society (BRS).
  • Editorial Board Member of IFMRS HubLE.
  • Member of NCRI ECR Forum.
  • Member of UKRI ECR Forum.
  • 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.
Awards

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).