Professor Richard Eastell


Clinical Medicine, School of Medicine and Population Health

Professor of Bone Metabolism

Director of the Mellanby Centre for Musculoskeletal Research

Richard Eastell Staff
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+44 114 215 9006

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Professor Richard Eastell
Clinical Medicine, School of Medicine and Population Health
Metabolic Bone Centre, Sorby Wing
Northern General Hospital
Herries Road
S5 7AU

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I received a clinical fellowship from the Medical Research Council to study osteoporosis at the University of Edinburgh in 1978. I furthered my clinical research training by working at the Mayo Clinic under the supervision of Dr B L Riggs where I worked for five years. I developed a number of new approaches for studying osteoporosis while at the Mayo Clinic including the use of stable (non-radioactive) isotopes to measure the absorption of calcium from food, the use of an infusion technique to measure the production of the active form of vitamin D, the measurement of bone density at the site in the wrist where fractures commonly occur (the ultradistal radius) and a height ratio approach to identifying vertebral fractures on radiographs of the spine. I began my training in endocrinology and diabetes at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh in 1980 and continued it at Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow in 1982 and at the Mayo Clinic in 1987.

I joined the School of Medicine & Population Health at the University of Sheffield in 1989 as a Senior Research Fellow. I set up a metabolic bone service at the Northern General Hospital and am an Honorary NHS Consultant. I became Professor of Bone Metabolism in 1995 and received funding from the Arthritis Research Campaign to use biochemical tests of bone turnover to better understand the way in which older men and women develop osteoporosis and propensity to fracture.

My studies on the cause, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of osteoporosis have been conducted with the support of many colleagues; I have supervised the study for 37 doctoral degrees over the past 30 years. I have published over 550 research papers.

I am currently Director of the Mellanby Centre based at the University of Sheffield. I became an NIHR Senior Investigator in 2009. Some of my recent contributions have been authorship on key papers describing new treatments for osteoporosis, such as tibolone, zoledronic acid, denosumab and lasofoxifene as well as addressing issues about safety of medications and provide guidelines to diagnose primary hyperparathyroidism, a common disorder resulting in high levels of blood calcium.

My work as a clinical investigator was recognised in 2014, by the Frederick C Bartter Award from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.

Research interests

My research focus is osteoporosis. The University of Sheffield is well regarded for its contribution to the study of osteoporosis.  I have been ranked the third most highly-cited researcher in the world in the field of osteoporosis (Pluskiewicz W, et al. Arch Osteoporos. 2018 Mar 26;13(1):35).  I study the epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment of the disease. This has involved developing and establishing assays for bone turnover markers and studying their clinical utility. I have developed new approaches to the definition of vertebral fracture and applied new approaches such as vertebral fracture assessment. I have developed tools to evaluate bone strength such as high-resolution quantitative computed tomography, ultrasound and finite element modelling of bone strength. I have evaluated the endocrine changes in osteoporosis to better understand its causes. I have designed and conducted clinical trials of nutrition and drugs for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. I have evaluated approaches to enhance compliance with treatment.

Current projects:

• Anabolic effects of teriparatide on bone
• The onset and offset of bisphosphonates on bone
• Determinants of peak bone mass
• Hypophosphatasia


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Research group

Current Collaborators

  • Professor Bo Abrahamsen
  • Professor Nick Bishop
  • Dr Dennis Black
  • Dr Richard Jacques
  • Professor Cyrus Cooper
  • Dr Steven Cummings
  • Dr Paul Dimitri
  • Pefessor Claus Gluer
  • Dr David Hughes
  • Professor Eugene McCloskey
  • Dr Paul Miller
  • Dr Nicola Peel
  • Professor Graham Russell
  • Professor Mark Wilkinson
  • Professor Graham Williams

Postgraduate Students

  • Ankita Duseja
  • Patryk Zarecki
Teaching interests

I teach medical students and oversee B. Med. Sci. projects. I teach on a number of postgraduate courses as well as giving invited lectures.

Professional activities and memberships

I am an Emeritus Senior Investigator of the NIHR, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. I am past president of the European Calcified Tissue Society, the Bone Research Society and past chairman of the National Osteoporosis Society.  I am Senior Editor of the journal 'Bone'.