Dr Aymen I Idris, MSc, PhD      

Department of Oncology & Metabolism
Mellanby Centre for Bone Research
Academic Unit of Bone Biology
D Floor, The Medical School
Beech Hill Road
S10 2RX

Office: DU38

Tel: +44 (0)114 215 9051
Fax: +44 (0)114 271 2475
Email: aymen.idris@sheffield.ac.uk


I am a Pharmacologist and Senior Lecturer in pharmacology at the Department of Oncology & Metabolism, University of Sheffield (England, UK). My interest in musculoskeletal pharmacology began in 2000 when I joined Professor Stuart H. Ralston's group at the University of Aberdeen (Scotland, UK), where I obtained a PhD in Medicine and underwent my early postdoctoral training. One of my particular areas of interests during this period was the effect of cannabis-like substances on bone biology and pharmacology. In this area, I carried out significant research on the skeletal effects of endocannabinoids and their receptors on bone biology with publications in Nature Medicine, Cell Metabolism and Aging Cell. I also conducted research into the role of the NFkB signalling pathway in bone disease resulting in a number of publications in Endocrinology, FASEB J and JBMR, and a series of patents of a novel family of NFkB inhibitors, which exhibit anti-resorptive, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumour properties. Between 2010 and 2013, I held a position of non-clinical lecturer in cancer associated bone disease at Edinburgh Cancer Research UK Centre at the University of Edinburgh (Scotland, UK). During this period, my group developed a number of model systems to study tumour – immune - bone cell interactions in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo, a system we have successfully utilized in our research and publications in Cancer Letters, Oncotarget and J.Bio.Chem. I graduated with a BSc (Hons) degree from University of Sunderland, UK, in 1998 and I obtained an MSc in Pharmacology working in Professor G. H. Hawksworth’s laboratory at the university of Aberdeen in 2000.

Research Interests

The primary interest of my group is pharmacology of inflammation. The specific aims of our research are to (a) uncover novel druggable pro-inflammatory transduction pathways essential for the regulation of cancer – immune - bone cell interactions, and guided by these studies (b) design and test novel therapeutic agents - alone or in combination with drugs in clinical practice - for the treatment of chronic inflammation associated with bone diseases and cancer.


Teaching Interests

• Supervise undergraduates, MSc and PhD students in my laboratory.
• Teach a module on hypothesis testing and experimental design in medical research.
• Teach and run tutorials on research skills to PhD students.
• Act as lead tutor to postgraduate students.
• Act as personal academic tutor to medical, MSc and PhD students.

Professional Activities

• Editor, Cancer and Bone, Calcified Tissue International (February, 2018).
• Editor, Springer Bone Research Protocols, 3rd edition (2017/18).
• Associated editor at BoneKEy Reports and member of the editorial board for Calcified Tissue International and Frontier in Bone Research.
• Member of British Pharmacological Society (BPS), European Calcified Tissue Society (ECTS), International Bone and Mineral Society (IBMS) and American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR).
• Ad hoc reviewer for a number of national and international science journals and research charities.
• Board member of the Calcified Tissue International Society (ECTS, 2010 – 2013).
• Founder of the ECTS Postdoc Training Course and co-founder of ECTS New Investigator Seminar.
• Co-founder and chair of the ECTS New Investigator Committee (2010 – 2013).

Current Projects

• Targeting of IKK-Epsilon alone or in combination with chemotherapeutic drugs for breast cancer treatment.
• Regulation of adipocyte – cancer cell crosstalk by NFkB signalling.
• Role of TRAFs/NFkB signalling in inflammation associated with metastatic cancer.
• Role of RANK/NFkB signalling in cancer cell behaviour in bone.
• Regulation of bone – immune – malignant cell interactions by the Endocannabinoid/NFkB/B-Catenin axis.

Key Publications

  • Marino S, Bishop RT, Capulli M, Sophocleous A, Logan JG, Mollat P, Mognetti B, Ventura L, Sims AH, Rucci N, Ralston SH and Aymen I. Idris. Regulation of breast cancer induced bone disease by cancer-specific IKKβ. Oncotarget. 2018; 9:16134-16148.
  • de Ridder, D, Marino S, Bishop RT, Renema, N, Chenu, C, Heymann, D and Aymen I. Idris. Bidirectional regulation of bone formation by exogenous and osteosarcoma-derived Sema3A. Scientific Reports. 2018: 8:6877.
  • Marino S, Bishop, Mollat P, and Aymen I. Idris. Pharmacological Inhibition of the Skeletal IKKβ Reduces Breast Cancer-Induced Osteolysis. CTI. 2018.
  • Peramuhendige P, Marino S, Bishop, de Ridder D, Khogeer A, Baldini I, Capulli M, Rucci N, and Aymen I. Idris. TRAF2 in osteotropic breast cancer cells enhances skeletal tumour growth and promotes osteolysis. Scientific Reports. 2018; 8(1):39.
  • Marino S, Bishop, RT, Logan, JG, Mollat, P, and Aymen I. Idris Pharmacological evidence for the bone-autonomous contribution of the NFκB/β-catenin axis to breast cancer related osteolysis. Cancer Letters. 2017. S0304-3835(17): 30587-6.
  • Sophocleous, A, Marino S, Ralston S.H and Aymen I. Idris. Combined deficiency of the Cnr1 and Cnr2 receptors protects against age-related bone loss by osteoclast inhibition. Aging Cell. 2017; 16(5): 1051-1061.
  • Clare Caraher M, Sophocleous A, Renwick Beattie J, O'Driscoll O, Cummins NM5, Brennan O, O'Brien FJ, Ralston SH, Bell SEJ, Towler M, and Aymen I. Idris. Raman spectroscopy predicts the link between claw keratin and bone collagen structure in a mouse model of oestrogen deficiency. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2017; 1864(2): 398-406.
  • Sophocleous, A, Marino S, Logan J. G., Mollat P, Ralston S.H and Aymen I. Idris. Bone cell–autonomous contribution of type 2 cannabinoid receptor to breast cancer induced osteolysis. J. Bio. Chem. 2015; 4:290(36): 22049-60.
  • Logan J. G., Sophocleous, A, Marino S, Muir M., Brunton V.G., and Aymen I. Idris. Selective tyrosine kinase inhibition of insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor inhibits human and mouse breast cancer induced bone cell activity, bone remodelling and osteolysis. J. Bone Miner. Res. 2013; 165:1914-25.
  • Frantzias J, Logan G.J, Mollat P, Sparatore A, Del Soldato P, Ralston S.H and Aymen I. Idris. Hydrogen sulfide releasing diclofenac derivatives inhibit breast cancer-induced osteoclastogenesis in vitro and prevent osteolysis ex vivo. Br J Pharmacol. 2012; 165(6), 1914.
  • Aymen I. Idris, Maala Krishnan, Petra Simic, Euphemie Landao-Bassonga, Patrick Mollat, Slobodan Vukicevic, and Ralston SH. Small molecule inhibitors of IKK signalling inhibit osteoclast formation in vitro and ovariectomy induced bone loss in vivo. FASEB J. 24: 4545-4555, 2010.
  • Aymen I. Idris, Antonia Sophocleous, Euphemie Landao-Bassonga, Meritxell Canals, Graeme Milligan, David Baker, Robert vant Hof, Stuart Ralston. Cannabinoid receptor type 1 protects against age-related bone loss by regulating osteoblast and adipocyte differentiation of bone marrow stromal cells. Cell Metabolism. 2009; 10(2): 139 - 147.
  • Aymen I. Idris, Helene Libouban, Hervé Nyangoga, Euphemie Landao-Bassonga, Daniel Chappard and Stuart Ralston. Pharmacological inhibitors of IKK suppress growth and migration of mammary carcinosarcoma cells in vitro and prevent osteolytic bone metastasis in vivo. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. 2009 8:2339-2347.
  • Aymen I. Idris, I.R Greig, S.H. Ralston and R.J. van’t Hof. Identification of Novel Biphenyl Carboxylic Acid Derivatives as Novel Antiresorptive Agents that Do Not Impair Parathyroid Hormone-Induced Bone Formation. Endocrinology. 2009; 150:5-13.
  • Aymen I. Idris, Antonia Sophocleous, Euphemie Landao-Bassonga, R.J. van’t Hof, S.H. Ralston. Role of the type 2 cannabinoid receptor CNR2 in regulating bone mass osteoclast function and ovariectomy-induced bone loss. Endocrinology. 2008; 149(11): 5619–5626.
  • Aymen I. Idris, R.J. van’t Hof, I.R Greig, S. Ridge, R. Ross and S.H. Ralston. Regulation of bone mass, bone loss and osteoclast activity by cannabinoid receptors. Nature Medicine. 2005; 11(6): 1651-1660.


• Aymen I. Idris. Recent Trends and Advances in Cancer-Induced Bone Disease. CTI. 2018; 119:391-403. 
• Silvia Marino and Aymen I. Idris. Emerging therapeutic targets in cancer induced bone disease: a focus on the peripheral type 2 cannabinoid receptor. Pharmacological Research. 2017; 119:391-403.
Aymen I. Idris The promise and dilemma of cannabinoid therapy: lessons from animal studies of bone disease. BoneKEy. 2012; 8(2):84-95.
Aymen I. Idris Cannabinoid receptors as target for treatment of osteoporosis: a tale of two therapies. Current Neuropharmacolog. 2010; 8: 243-53.
Aymen I. Idris and Stuart H. Ralston Cannabinoids and bone: Friend or Foe?. CTI. 2010; 87(4): 285-97.
Aymen I. Idris Role of cannabinoid receptors in bone disorders: alternatives for treatment. Drug News Perspect. 2008; 21(10): 533-40.

Book Chapters

Aymen I. Idris Analysis of Signalling Pathways in Bone Cells. Bone Research Protocols. 2nd ed. Totowa, NJ: Humana Press 2012; 816:223-32.
Aymen I. Idris Ovariectomy and Orchidectomy in Rodents. Bone Research Protocols. 2nd ed. Totowa, NJ: Humana Press 2012; 816:545-51.

Key Patents

• Aryl Alkyl Sulfonamides as therapeutic agents for the treatment of bone conditions, PCT/GB2005/002043.
• Ketones and reduced ketones as therapeutic agents for the treatment of bone conditions, PCT/GB2004/001958.
• Cannabinoid receptor inverse agonists as therapeutic agents for the treatment of bone disorders, PCT/GB2004/000858.

Opinion Pieces

Startup Companies

  • ArthElix Ltd
    Founder and shareholder of ArthElix Ltd. (Registration No: 10597512), a company established in 2017 to develop and test novel TRAF/NFkB inhibitors as a novel class of anti-rheumatic and anti-metastatic drugs.
    Co-founder and shareholder of OSTEORX LIMITED (Registration No: SC288265), a company established in 2005 to develop biphenyl-carboxylic acid compounds and their non-hydrolysable derivatives as a novel class of anti-rheumatic drugs. OSTEORX LIMITED and Modern Biosciences plc. have recently entered into an R&D alliance and global option and licence agreement with Janssen Biotech, Inc. For extended description refer to http://www.modernbiosciences.com/news/index.html.


  • Iain T Boyle Award
  • Young investigator award (ECTS, 2007)
  • AMGEN/ECTS Bone Biology Fellowship
  • Young investigator award (ECTS, 2006)
  • IBMS Young investigator award (ECTS, 2005)
  • Young investigator award (ECTS, 2004)
  • Frontiers of Skeletal Biology Young investigator award (2002)