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Helen Knowles

PhD

University Research Lecturer and Arthritis Research UK Career Development Fellow

From a scientific background studying hypoxia in cancer and tumour-associated macrophages, I joined the department in 2006 as a post-doc in the group of Professor Nick Athanasou. It was then that I started studying osteoclasts; the cells responsible for causing pathological bone loss in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, bone metastasis and primary bone cancer. Working as part of an EU Network of Excellence (EuroBoNeT), I started investigating the role of hypoxia and the hypoxia-inducible transcription factor, HIF, in regulation of osteoclast formation and function within the context of primary bone tumours.

In 2010, I was awarded an Arthritis Research UK Career Development Fellowship to continue this work in the context of rheumatoid arthritis. My work now focusses on studying the HIF-driven pathways that regulate osteoclast activity; for example, investigation of a modified HIF-driven pathway that actually increases hypoxic flux through the mitochondrial electron transport chain. I am also investigating the HIF-induced, osteoclast-activating adipokine angiopoietin-like 4 (ANGPTL4) as both a causative factor for, and a marker of, pathological bone resorption in rheumatoid arthritis.