Dr Neil Chapman
B.Sc.(Hons.), Ph.D., P.G.Cert.H.E., S.F.H.E.A.
Department of Oncology and Metabolism
Senior University Teacher
+44 114 215 9671
Full contact details
Department of Oncology and Metabolism
JW4/54, Level 4
Tree Root Walk
I joined the University of Sheffield as a Group Leader and Non-Clinical Lecturer in Reproductive Medicine in July 2005. Previous research positions included:
- July 2005-December 2017
Lecturer in Reproductive Medicine, Academic Unit of Reproductive and Developmental Medicine, University of Sheffield
- October 2003 - June 2005
Post-Doctoral Research Associate, School of Surgical and Reproductive Sciences, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Research: Transcriptional regulation in the myometrium and cervix by the Nuclear Factor kappaB (NF-kappaB) and novel membrane-bound steroid receptors
- June 1997 - September 2003
Post-Doctoral Research Associate, School of Life Sciences, Division of Gene Expression and Regulation, Wellcome Trust Biocentre, University of Dundee. Research: Transcriptional regulation by NF-kappaB; determining how NF-kappaB regulates mammalian gene expression in conjunction with other proteins (Egr-1, WT-1, CBP/p300 and c-Myc) with an emphasis on tumourigenesis
- September 1994 - May 1997
May 1997 PhD student, University of Sheffield. Research: Expression and characterisation of the ZP3 protein; to develop purification strategies to isolate recombinant copies of ZP3 and then characterise their effects on human spermatozoa
- July 2005-December 2017
- Research interests
Globally, being born too early affects roughly 15 million pregnancies per year. Of these, about 1 million babies will die because they were born too early and suffered complications of that. The majority of these deaths are in those babies that are born extremely prematurely: before 28-30 weeks gestation. To put this number into context, here in Sheffield the Jessop Maternity Wing manages in the region of 7,000 deliveries per year. To reach the annual global death toll attributable to premature birth there would need to be no live births in the Jessop for approximately the next 140 years.
See how staff and local people help to raise the profile of premature birth research at the Big Knit event as part of the University of Sheffield’s Life Festival .
We also know that those babies that do survive prematurity also have an increased risk of major long-term health problems. It is principally because of these observations that these babies have a disproportionate effect on health-care budgets worldwide; a recent U.K. estimate of the total cost of preterm birth to the public sector over the first 18 year of life was £2.95 billion. Therefore, being born too early is a very much a problem for life. For those readers wanting further details of this, please visit the EPICURE website.
So why does premature birth happen? The simple answer is that despite intensive research efforts, together with a major shortage of research funding into this problem, we still don’t know enough about the fundamental biological principles that control how the womb works during pregnancy and labour. As such, it is of little surprise that doctors have few truly effective medicines to stop labour when it has started too early. Those drugs that are available are relatively ineffective and can be associated with unwanted side-effects for both the unborn baby and mother.
My research work uses muscle cells from the womb (called myocytes). We get these samples by asking women to donate a piece of their womb lining when they have an elective Caesarean section. From this piece of womb muscle we can then grow the individual muscle cells and study how they work.
Within the womb muscle cells are structures called the nuclei. It is within each nucleus that the blueprint of the womb muscle cell (the DNA or genome) is stored and used to control when the womb starts to contract. The genome or DNA can be thought of as a library of instruction books. Each book represents an individual gene, with each gene being used to make a specific building block - a protein - in the cell. Importantly, however, these books are not written with words: only four letters are used – A, T, C, and G – and different arrangements of these letters are what gives rise to all the different proteins in your body as well telling cells what proteins to make and when to make them.
In humans, the biology by which the womb changes from a relaxed state which cannot contract regularly, to an organ which undergoes the regular contractions seen in labour is not known. At present, our current knowledge about the human birth process suggests that normal human labour is a highly-regulated inflammatory process similar to that which occurs when the body is injured or ill.
My work has shown that the inflammation seen in the womb at term modifies how the blueprint of the womb muscle cells (the DNA or genome) works to regulate when the womb contracts with inflammation seemingly able to promote labour (see this BBC News story). Consequently, my research focuses on learning how the womb reads its genome book when such inflammatory chemicals are present. I am also interested in finding out which parts of the book (i.e. which genes) the womb cells use before labour starts, when there is very little inflammation around, because understanding this change may allow us to understand how the womb muscle cells start contracting too early in some women who then go into labour prematurely.
- SBAs for the Part 1 MRCOG. Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, 27 Sussex Place, Reagent's Park, London: Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Press.
- Mountain Rescue Casualty Care and the Undergraduate Medical Elective. Wilderness and Environmental Medicine. View this article in WRRO
- Measurements of rates of cooling of a manikin insulated with different mountain rescue casualty bags. Extreme Physiology and Medicine, 6(1). View this article in WRRO
- Immediate care skills for your elective.. The BMJ, 353. View this article in WRRO
- View this article in WRRO Immediate Care Skills for Your Elective: Two simple frameworks to help you wherever you are. Student BMJ, 24.
- Binding loci of RelA-containing nuclear factor-kappaB dimers in promoter regions of PHM1-31 myometrial smooth muscle cells. Molecular Human Reproduction, 21(11), 865-883. View this article in WRRO
- Human Trophoblast Cells Modulate Endometrial Cells Immune Response to Flagellin In Vitro. PLoS One, 8(1), e39441.
- P11 Toll-like receptors expression on monocyte subpopulations dysregulated in pre-eclampsia. Pregnancy Hypertension: An International Journal of Women's Cardiovascular Health, 1, S45-S45.
- NF-kappaB function in the human myometrium during pregnancy and parturition.. Histol Histopathol, 25(7), 945-956.
- The expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase in the human fallopian tube during the menstrual cycle and in ectopic pregnancy.. Fertility and Sterility, 94, 833-840.
- The Expression of Inducible Nitric Oxide Synthetase (iNOS) and MUC1 in Human Fallopian Tube during the Menstrual Cycle and in Ectopic Pregnancy. REPRODUCTIVE SCIENCES, 16(3), 187A-187A.
- The expression of activin-betaA- and –betaB-subunits, follistatin, and activin type II receptors in fallopian tubes bearing an ectopic pregnancy.. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 93, 293-299.
- Semi-quantitative analysis of TLR2 and TLR4 expression in the non-pregnant and pregnant cervix and the potential role of oestrogen. BJOG-INT J OBSTET GY, 115(1), 123-123.
- 487 METHYL-CPG BINDING PROTEIN OCCUPANCY IN BLADDER CANCER: AN ANALYSIS OF GENE PROMOTERS WITH VARIABLE CPG METHYLATION AND HISTONE MODIFICATIONS. European Urology Supplements, 6(2), 144-144.
- Examining the spatio-temporal expression of mRNA encoding the membrane-bound progesterone receptor-alpha isoform in human cervix and myometrium during pregnancy and labour.. Mol Hum Reprod, 12(1), 19-24.
- Expression of the GTP-binding protein (Galphas) is repressed by the nuclear factor kappaB RelA subunit in human myometrium.. Endocrinology, 146(11), 4994-5002.
- Expression and interactions of the transcriptional co-regulators CBP/p300 in the human myometrium during pregnancy.. J. Soc. Gynaecol. Invest., 12, 92-97.
- Expression and deoxyribonucleic acid-binding activity of the nuclear factor κB family in the human myometrium during pregnancy and labor. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 89(11), 5683-5693.
- NF-κB Function in Inflammation, Cellular Stress and Disease, 61-73.
- A novel form of the RelA nuclear factor κB subunit is induced by and forms a complex with the proto-oncogene c-Myc. Biochemical Journal, 366(2), 459-469.
- UV stimulation induces nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB) DNA-binding activity but not transcriptional activation.. Biochemical Society Transactions, 29, 688-691.
- Inhibition of the RelA(p65) NF-κB Subunit by Egr-1. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 275, 4719-4725.
- Regulation of NF-κB Transcriptional Activity by EGR-1. Biochemical Society Transactions, 27(3), A99-A99.
- The polypeptide backbone of recombinant human zona pellucida glycoprotein-3 initiates acrosomal exocytosis in human spermatozoa in vitro. BIOCHEM J, 330, 839-845.
- Sperm-zona interaction and recombinant DNA technology.. Mol Hum Reprod, 3(8), 646-650.
- The polypeptide backbone of recombinant human ZP3 induces acrosomal exocytosis in human spermatozoa. HUM REPROD, 12(5), S13-S13.
- The role of carbohydrate in sperm-ZP3 adhesion.. Mol Hum Reprod, 2(10), 767-774.
- The effect of trichostatin-A and tumor necrosis factor on expression of splice variants of the MaxiK and L-type channels in human myometrium. Frontiers in Physiology, 5. View this article in WRRO
- View this article in WRRO Regulation of GTP-binding Protein (Galpha s) Expression in Human Myometrial Cells A ROLE FOR TUMOR NECROSIS FACTOR IN MODULATING G s PROMOTER ACETYLATION BY TRANSCRIPTIONAL COMPLEXES. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 288(9), 6704-6716.
- Human Trophoblast Cells Modulate Endometrial Cells Nuclear Factor κB Response to Flagellin In Vitro. PLoS ONE, 8(1), e39441-e39441. View this article in WRRO
- NF-kappaB Function in Inflammation, Cellular Stress and Disease In Storey JM & Storey KB (Ed.), Sensing, Signaling and Cell Adaptation: 3 (pp. 61-73). Elsevier Science
Conference proceedings papers
- Regulation of CyclinD2 by Smad3 and Foxl2 during early follicle development. Society for Reproduction and Fertility Annual Meeting. Oxford, UK, 20 July 2015 - 22 July 2015.
- Changes in Expression of PKA-and Acetylation-Related Signalling Molecules with Guinea Pig Pregnancy. REPRODUCTIVE SCIENCES, Vol. 19(S3) (pp 196A-196A)
- Identifying Regulatory Gene Networks in the Myometrium Governed by NF-kappa B. REPRODUCTIVE SCIENCES, Vol. 16(3) (pp 113A-113A)
- Semi-quantitative analysis of TLR2 and TLR4 expression in the non-pregnant and pregnant cervix and the potential role of oestrogen.. REPRODUCTIVE SCIENCES, Vol. 15(2) (pp 188A-188A)
- Temporal expression of the membrane-bound estrogen receptor, GPR30, in lower and upper segment human myometrium.. JOURNAL OF THE SOCIETY FOR GYNECOLOGIC INVESTIGATION, Vol. 13(2) (pp 240A-240A)
- The signal transduction pathway of the acrosome reaction in human spermatozoa in response to purified recombinant human ZP3. HUMAN SPERM ACROSOME REACTION, Vol. 236 (pp 426-427)
- The production and purification of recombinant human ZP3 from E-6coli. HUMAN SPERM ACROSOME REACTION, Vol. 236 (pp 404-405)
- Foxl2 and Smad transcription factors during early follicle development: localisation and regulation of target genes. Society for Reproduction and Fertility Annual Meeting. Edinburgh, UK, 1 September 2014 - 2 September 2015.
- Professional activities
- Academic Lead - Phase 3A SSC Programme (Medicine)
- Academic Lead - Phase 3B Electives (Medicine)
- Academic Lead – Incoming International Electives Programme (Medicine)
- Admissions Tutor - Incoming Medical Electives Programme (https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/medicine/electives)
- Admissions Tutor - M.Sc. Reproductive and Developmental Medicine (https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/humanmetabolism/units/rdm/msc)
- Deputy Module Leader – Physiology Module of the M.Sc. Human Nutrition (https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/postgraduate/taught/courses/medicine/biomedical/human-nutrition-mmedsci-diploma)
- Invited speaker - Part 1 MRCOG Revision Course at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, London.
- Member - The MRC-Arthritis Research UK Centre for Integrated Research into Musculoskeletal Ageing (CIMA) (www.sheffield.ac.uk/humanmetabolism/mresmusculoskeletalageing/cima)