Oxford-UCB Prize Fellow
Stephanie Dakin graduated as a veterinary surgeon in 2003 from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC). After undertaking an internship specialising in equine orthopaedics at the Animal Health Trust (Newmarket), she then spent 5 years in practice as an equine clinician. In 2008, Stephanie commenced a PhD at the RVC researching the role of inflammation in equine tendinopathy, which was successfully completed in 2012.
Stephanie moved to NDORMS in 2013 and was awarded consecutive Fellowships funded by Arthritis Research UK and Oxford-UCB to advance and translate her research on equine tendinopathy into the human field. Stephanie's research focuses on identifying the mechanisms underpinning the development of chronic inflammation and fibrosis in diseased musculoskeletal soft tissues. The over arching goal of her research is to discover novel therapeutic strategies to promote resolution of inflammation in chronically inflamed soft tissues, with a particular focus on tendinopathy.
Her key collaborator in the department is Professor Andrew Carr.
View about media associated with Stephanie's work under 'Featured Research'.
Read about Stephanie's recent award at the 4th International Scientific Tendinopathy Symposium at https://www.ndorms.ox.ac.uk/news/ndorms-success-at-tendinopathy-symposium
Research vision and objectives:
Pathobiology of musculoskeletal soft tissue disease
Musculoskeletal soft tissue diseases present an immense global health burden and significant cost to the NHS. Soft tissue pathologies affecting tendons (tendinopathy) and tendon–bone attachments (enthesopathy) are a common cause of chronic disability and reduction in quality of life, which are exacerbated with ageing. The causes of these disorders are not fully understood, although aetiology is known to include repetitive wear and tear, ageing and genetic factors.
The importance of inflammation as a contributor to the development of tendon and entheseal disease has been contentious in recent years. However, recent research has characterized the phenotypes of cells populating diseased musculoskeletal soft tissues, supporting the contribution of inflammation to the onset and progression of disease.
My programme of research investigates the cellular and molecular processes concerned with the development of chronic inflammation and fibrosis in disorders of musculoskeletal soft tissues. The aims of this work are to:
- Determine how inflammation changes the landscape of musculoskeletal soft tissues
- Understand why inflammation fails to resolve and becomes chronic in some patients with musculoskeletal soft tissue disease
- Investigate the inter-relationships between inflammation and pain in musculoskeletal soft tissue diseases, to understand why some patients improve after treatment but others remain symptomatic
We aim to generate new insights into the pathobiology of disease in musculoskeletal soft tissues. Findings from this research will enhance understanding of how musculoskeletal soft tissue injuries develop, explore the mechanisms by which pain is perceived during injury and improve understanding of how these injured tissues heal. Importantly this work will identify novel therapeutic targets and strategies and help people with musculoskeletal disease keep fit for improved future health.