Translational Medicine Research Group

We host clinical and non-clinical researchers to support and promote interdisciplinary research in translational medical science, including maternal health, cardiovascular health, mental health as well as cellular stress response in human diseases.

 

The Translational Medicine Group is based in Aston Medical School in the College of Health and Life Sciences. Our cutting-edge research focuses on a range of diseases and conditions. These include pregnancy-related disorders, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and dementia. Work within our group also feeds into the College wide themes of cellular and molecular biomedicine, and health and disease across the lifespan

A special focus of our research lies in achieving a better understanding surrounding the pathophysiology of these conditions, their clinical outcomes, as well as novel diagnostic and therapeutic technologies for treating them. We are also passionate about discovering new and innovative methods of increasing the effectiveness of the healthcare provided for these conditions.    

Our main aims and objectives are to understand the underlying pathological mechanisms of a range of diseases and conditions, develop novel diagnostic tools, therapies, and cost-effective healthcare interventions, and to train the next generation of outstanding scientists and clinicians. 

Collaborators and funders

Our researchers have built up extensive collaborations with international, national Institutes and industry. We work closely with researchers in other leading universities, charity and private funded research organisations, and have strong links with a number of NHS trusts. 

Major funders of our research include the NHS, European Commission (Horizon 2020), Medical Research Council, Royal Society, and charitable foundations such as the British Heart Foundation, and Alzheimer’s Research UK. 

People and publications

Researchers within our group come from both clinical and non-clinical backgrounds, with specialist areas of expertise in cardiovascular diseases, regenerative medicines, maternal health conditions like preeclampsia, DNA repair and genome stability, and inter-professional education.  

Director of Research: Dr Boris Kysela 

Boris’ main research interest is DNA repair and genome stability. His research focuses on the area of translational approach in novel neuro-regeneration strategies and nanotechnologies for cancer treatment and drug delivery. He is a Senior Lecturer for Aston Medical School, holds membership on multiple scientific grant review committees, and acts as an external reviewer for a range of leading scientific journals.  

Facilities

Researchers within the group, and across the wider university, utilise a range of facilities and equipment within this area including: 

  • RT-PCR 
  • Pulse-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) 
  • Protein overexpression and purification 
  • Knockout-mouse expertise 
  • Gene editing 
  • Histopathology 
  • In vivo ultra-sound imaging 
  • Flow cytometry 
  • Confocal microscopy 
  • Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP).  

We also make use of other facilities across university including electron microscopy and organic synthesis facilities. 

Research themes

Cardiovascular Medicine

We are a group of specialists in the field of therapeutic cardiac devices, electrophysiology, heart failure and cardio-metabolic diseases. Our goal is to develop novel diagnostic tools and therapeutic approaches for treating cardiovascular diseases. Based on clinical data and fundamental science, our research aims to identify novel markers and to develop pioneering treatments for cardiovascular diseases such as heart failure, and cardio-metabolic diseases. 

Current topics of research interest are as follows: 

  • Cardiovascular photonics, including the translation diagnostic laser technologies to clinical practice. 
  • Maximising the benefits of cardiac resynchronisation therapy via the use of cardiac devices and electrophysiology. 
  • Comparisons between healthcare systems in England and the US and clinical outcome studies on device therapy and cardiovascular conditions. 
  • Exploration of the pathophysiology of cardio-metabolic diseases in order to identify novel related biomarkers and test new interventions. 
  • Cardiovascular disease and key CVD risk factors, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidaemia and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. 
  • Understanding the underlying mechanisms of cardiomyopathy. 
Cellular Stress Response in Human Disease

Our molecular sciences specialists focus on achieving a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of diseases, and exploiting translational principles to develop new cellular and molecular medicines. 

Our research aims to examine and deepen the scientific understanding of the mechanisms that drive the disease process, using these findings to develop cutting-edge treatments that approach health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, preeclampsia, chronic inflammatory diseases, demyelinating disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases and neurotrauma, on a cellular level.  

Specialist areas of interest and expertise within the theme include: 

  • DNA repair and genome stability. 
  • Nanotechnologies for cancer treatment and drug delivery. 
  • Gene regulation mechanisms. 
  • Cellular bioenergetics and metabolic dynamics in oxidative stress-related disorders to identify novel molecular targets for therapeutic intervention.  
  • Mitochondrial metabolism in cellular signalling, proliferation and cell growth. 
  • Lipid oxidation.  
  • Remyelination in the central nervous system. 
  • Novel neuro-regeneration and neuro-protection strategies. 
  • Development of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell based therapy.  
  • Development of Car-NK cell therapies. 
Maternal Health

This theme focuses on un-met clinical needs existing in the field of pregnancy-associated disorders. Our goal is to translate the insights gained from experimental models into clinical therapies for pregnancy-associated diseases. Our research aims to identify novel molecules and pathways in order to develop diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for pregnancy disorders such as preeclampsia, foetal growth restriction and gestational diabetes. 

We have brought together scientists and clinicians to pursue cutting-edge research that ranges from basic to pre-clinical, and clinical science. Our research has led to clinical trials in the treatments for preeclampsia. 

Our current areas of research interest include: 

  • Achieving a better understanding of the pathogenesis of preeclampsia. Conducting research that extends from basic science to creating preclinical experimental disease models, paving the way towards the development of novel therapies for preeclampsia.  
  • Identifying novel molecules and pathways, including gaseous molecules, microRNAs and metabolites markers, and protein modifications that exist in pregnancy disorders.   
  • Understanding the role of cellular bioenergetics and metabolic fluxes in pregnancy disorders. 
  • Developing novel treatment for preeclampsia and foetal growth restriction.  
  • The impact of gestational diabetes on the health of both the mother and the offspring. 
  • The effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) on female reproduction and how these environmental chemicals may have an impact on reproductive outcomes and the pregnancy, as well as on the health of the offspring later in life. 
  • The potential for nanotechnologies in drug delivery in preeclampsia. 
Mental Health

The researchers of this theme focus on research in cognitive impairment, dementia and mental illness in hospitals.  

We aim to deepen the scientific understanding of dementia, as well as the underlying processes that drive it. We intend to improve best practice treatment strategies and increase the effectiveness of the treatment available for the early and late stages of the condition. We also aim to develop new pathways for the successful management and prevention of mental health crises among all age groups, while building awareness and improving mental health provision for patients in acute hospitals (Liaison psychiatry) and Emergency departments. 

Other aspects of research include analyses that examine the physical and mental health consequences of chronic stress and anxiety. We also intend to take cutting-edge research and apply what we learn to service development and training programmes to help increase its impact.