Dr Shelly Lawson BSc PhD AFHEA  


Lecturer in Bone and Cancer Biology

Sheffield Myeloma Research Team
Department of Oncology & Metabolism
The Mellanby Centre for Bone Research
School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
University of Sheffield
Beech Hill Road Sheffield S10 2RX

Office: EU29, E Floor, Medical School

Telephone: +44 (0) 114 2159054

Email: m.a.lawson@sheffield.ac.uk


I graduated from the University of Sheffield in 1997 with a BSc honours in Molecular Biology. I obtained my PhD in 2000 from the University of Bristol, after conducting my research at the Institute of Animal Health, investigating the use of cytokines as DNA vaccine adjuvants.

In 2000 I began my research career in the field of bone biology at the University of Oxford. While there I developed various biomaterials for bone scaffolding and a novel technique to measure the bone binding affinities of bisphosphonates, drugs used in the prevention of bone disease.

In 2005 I moved back to the University of Sheffield where I worked in Professor Peter Croucher’s Bone Biology Group in the Department of Human Metabolism. My research involved looking at the effects of bisphosphonates in preclinical models of multiple myeloma. In addition, I developed a novel multiphoton microscopy technique to allow the visualisation of single cancer cells in bone. This work led to the identification of several key molecules involved in the early stages of myeloma bone disease. In 2012 I became a Research Fellow in the Department of Oncology and I now lead my own research group.

Research interests

My main research interest is myeloma bone disease. Over the last 10 years I have developed and established several preclinical murine models of myeloma to study therapeutic agents in the early, mid and late stages of the disease. This has led to an increased understanding of the role of the bone microenvironment and how it influences tumour growth. I am currently investigating the use of bisphosphonates in combination with other bone modulating agents to repair myeloma-induced osteolytic lesions in preclinical models, with the aim of translating these findings into patients.

Teaching interests

I regularly lecture on in vitro and in vivo models of bone cancer on the Molecular Medicine and Human Nutrition MSc courses.
I frequently supervise laboratory research projects for PhD, MSc, BMedSci, Erasmus or Hallam placement students.

Professional activities

I am a committee member of the Bone Research Society and currently organizing a basic Bone & Joint workshop in Sheffield in November 2017.
I am an organiser of the Bone Oncology and Tumour Microenvironment Workshop.
I am a member of the International Bone and Mineral Society and Cancer & Bone Society.
I have funded collaborations with Farhat Khanim (University of Birmingham), Lisa Crawford (Queens University, Belfast) and Professor Graham Russell (University of Oxford).
I have also been involved in a number of public engagement activities. I have secured funding that enabled me to build a “Giant Interactive Bone” to educate children of all ages on what is inside their bones. In addition, I regularly participate in Outreach activities with a variety of school children to teach them about why their bones are so important. I frequently do laboratory tours for fundraisers and patients with bone cancer, and I also participate in patient panel meetings to improve the services at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield.

Current grants and projects

  • Bloodwise Project Grant (2016-2019). Investigation of the E3 ligase HUWE1 as a therapeutic target in multiple myeloma. Dr A. Ervine, Dr L. Crawford, M. Pearson, Prof M. Eliers (Queens University Belfast), Dr M. A. Lawson & Dr A. Chantry. Bloodwise Grant No. 15043. £202K
  • Bloodwise Project Grant (2015-2018). Preclinical testing of low dose valproate and niclosamide (VaN) as a novel anti-myeloma therapy. Dr F. Khanim, Dr M.A. Lawson & Prof. M Drayson. Bloodwise Grant No. 15025. £245K
  • Bloodwise Specialist Programme Grant (2016-2018). Novel targets and therapeutic combinations in myeloma. Dr A. Chantry, Dr M.A. Lawson & Dr J. Snowden. Bloodwise Grant No. 12053. £1.8M
  • Bone Cancer Research Trust PhD Studentship (2015-2018): Purinergic Signalling in Osteosarcoma, Dr A. Gartland & Dr M.A. Lawson. £147K
  • Sheffield Blood Cancer Trust (2015-2016). High potency, low affinity bisphosphonates pilot study, Dr A. Chantry, Dr M.A. Lawson & Prof R.G.G. Russell. £5K
  • Shin Poong Pharma (2017) Investigating the role of a potential bone anabolic agent in vitro & in vivo. Dr M.A. Lawson. £140KSheffield Blood Cancer Trust (2015-2016). Investigating changes in the tumour bone microenvironment during the development of multiple myeloma and testing novel strategies for clinical intervention. Dr M.A. Lawson, J. Paton-Hough (Sheffield) & Dr F. Errington-Mais (University of Leeds). £5K

Key publications

Research Articles

  1. J. Paton.Hough, S. Tazzyman, H. Evans, D. Lath, J. M. Down, A. C. Green, J. A. Snowden, A.D. Chantry and M. A. Lawson (2018). Preventing and repairing myeloma bone disease by combining conventional antiresorptive treatment with a bone anabolic agent in murine models. J Bone Miner Res. https://doi/abs/10.1002/jbmr.3606.Darren L. Lath, Clive H. Buckle, Holly R. Evans, Matthew Fisher, Jenny Down, Michelle A. Lawson and Andrew D. Chantry. ARQ-197, a small-molecule inhibitor of c-Met, reduces tumour burden and prevents myeloma-induced bone disease. PLoS One. 2018; 13(6): e0199517.
  2. Lawson, M.A., Ebetino, F.H., Mazur, A., Chantry, A.D., Paton-Hough, J., Evans, H.R., Lath, D., Tsoumpra, M.K., Lundy, M.W., Dobson, R.L.M., Quijano, M., Kwaasi, A.A., Dunford, J.E., Duan, X., Triffitt, J.T., Jeans, G. and Russell, R.G.G. (2017), The Pharmacological Profile of a Novel Highly Potent Bisphosphonate, OX14 (1-fluoro-2-(imidazo-[1,2-α]pyridin-3-yl)ethyl-bisphosphonate. J Bone Miner Res. Vol. 32, No.9, September 2017, pp 1860-1869. Doi:10.1002/jbmr.3138
  3. Michelle A. Lawson, Michelle M. McDonald, Natasa Kovacic, Weng Hua Khoo, Rachael L. Terry, Jenny Down, Warren Kaplan, Julia Paton-Hough, Clair Fellows, Jessica A. Pettitt, T. Neil Dear, Els Van Valckenborgh, Paul A. Baldock, Michael J. Rogers, Colby L. Eaton, Karin Vanderkerken, Allison R. Pettit, Julian M.W Quinn, Andrew C. W. Zannettino, Tri Giang Phan, Peter I. Croucher (2015). Osteoclasts control reactivation of dormant myeloma cells by remodelling the endosteal niche. Nat. Commun. 6:8983 doi: 10.1038/ncomms9983.
  4. H. Evans, T. Karmakharm, M. A. Lawson, R. Walker, W. Harris, C. Fellows, P. Richmond and A.D. Chantry (2015). Osteolytica: an automated image analysis software package that rapidly measures cancer-induced osteolytic lesions in in vivo models with greater reproducibility compared to other commonly used methods. Bone 2015 Oct 8;83:9-16. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2015.10.004
  5. Lawson MA, Paton-Hough JM, Evans HR, Walker RE, Harris W, et al. (2015) NOD/SCID-GAMMA Mice Are an Ideal Strain to Assess the Efficacy of Therapeutic Agents Used in the Treatment of Myeloma Bone Disease. PLoS ONE 10(3): e0119546. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0119546.
  6. Ning Wang, Freyja Docherty, Hannah K Brown, Kim Reeves, Anne Fowles, Michelle Lawson, Penelope D Ottewell, Ingunn Holen, Peter I Croucher, Colby L Eaton (2015). Mitotic quiescence, but not ‘stemness’, marks the phenotype of bone metastasis initiating cells in prostate cancer. The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, Vol 29, no.8, 3141-3150.

Review Articles

  1. RGG Russell, M. K. Tsoumpra, M.A. Lawson, A.D. Chantry, F. H. Ebetino & M. Pazianas (2016). Antiresorptives, The Duration and Safety of Osteoporosis Treatment, edited by Silverman and Bo Abrahamsen: 978-3-319-23638-4, 314481_1_En, (2)
  2. Hough-Paton, J. Chantry, A.D., Lawson, M. A. (2015). A review of current murine models of multiple myeloma used to assess the efficacy of therapeutic agents on tumour burden and bone disease. Bone 2015 Aug, 77:57-68.
  3. RE Walker, MA Lawson, CH Buckle, JA Snowden and AD Chantry (2014). Myeloma bone disease; pathogenesis, current treatments and future targets. British Medical Bulletin. 2014, 111:117–138 doi: 10.1093/bmb/ldu016.
  4. M.A. Lawson, J. Ashcroft & P.I. Croucher (2010). Bisphosphonates and therapy of multiple myeloma: Bisphosphonates and bone diseases: Past, Present and Future. Current Pharmaceutical Design, 16 (27):3028-3036.
  5. C.H. Buckle, H.L. Neville-Webbe, P.I. Croucher & M.A. Lawson (2010). Targeting RANK/RANKL in the Treatment of Solid Tumours and Myeloma. Current Pharmaceutical Design, 16 (11):1272-1283.
  6. Book Chapters
  7. Alanna C. Green, Rebecca E. Andrews, Michelle A. Lawson (2018). Role of the osteoclast in bone cancer, Cancer and Bone, edited by Michaela Reagan, in the Encyclopaedia of Bone Biology, First Edition, Elsevier.
  8. RGG Russell, M. K. Tsoumpra, M.A. Lawson, A.D. Chantry, F. H. Ebetino & M. Pazianas (2016). Antiresorptives, The Duration and Safety of Osteoporosis Treatment, edited by Silverman and Bo Abrahamsen: 978-3-319-23638-4, 314481_1_En, (2)
  9. Ingunn Holen and Michelle A. Lawson (2013). In vivo Models Used in Studies of Bone Metastases, New Therapeutic Advances in Primary Bone Cancers and Bone Metastases, in Bone Cancer: Progression and Therapeutic Approaches edited by Dominique Heymann, First Edition, Elsevier.

For a full list of publications please visit myPublications