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Department of Chemistry

 
Portrait of mjd13

What we do...

We investigate the underlying chemical changes in the tissue of blood vessels that cause hardening or ‘calcification’ of arteries and veins as we age, which can lead to heart disease and stroke. Working with King’s College, we’ve discovered that an important biopolymer involved in new bone formation can contribute to these blockages. We’ve licensed this information to Cycle Pharmaceuticals for development into possible treatments for vascular disease.

We are funded by... 

The British Heart Foundation and Cycle Pharmaceuticals.

Our research

The tissues in our bodies are remarkable materials for many reasons, not least of all because they have widely different functions on different lengthscales.  The bulk of our tissues is made up of the extracellular matrix.  On an atomic and nanoscopic lengthscale, the extracellular matrix provides a communication systems between the cells in the tissue; on a microscopic lengthscale, it provides the scaffold that supports those cells, i.e. provides a “home” for the tissue’s cells; and at the macroscopic lengthscale, the extracellular matrix is the material which forms the structures in our organs, our blood vessels, bones, tendons, intestines, etc.  Understanding how all these functions can arise in a single material is not only essential for understanding the biology of tissues, it can give us clues on how to design new smart materials ourselves.

Our main areas of interest currently are understanding the atomic structures of tissues, in particular musculoskeletal tissues such as bone and cartilage, and vascular tissue, with the aims of understanding both physiological and pathological processes in terms of the molecular structures actually involved in processes such as development of collagenous tissues, bone mineralization and the changes in tissues associated with ageing.  The pathological processes we are particularly (but not exclusively) interested in are vascular and kidney calcification, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. 

All our projects are highly interdisciplinary and we collaborate with a wide variety of biologists, medics and clinicians as well as theoretical chemists and physicists, materials sceintists and engineers; the unifying feature is the application of physical chemistry principles in biology and medicine. The main structural characterization technique we use to study molecular structure in tissues is solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.  We use 2D and 3D 13C and 15N NMR to study molecular structure in native tissues and in in vitro tissues.  We also apply the relatively new methodology of NMR crystallography, a combination of NMR, powder X-ray diffraction and first principles calculations, to deduce crystal structures of materials related to those of native tissues, for instance the mineral component of bone.

Please see our group website for more details of our projects and funding.

Publications

Glycation changes molecular organization and charge distribution in type I collagen fibrils.
S Bansode, U Bashtanova, R Li, J Clark, KH Müller, A Puszkarska, I Goldberga, HH Chetwood, DG Reid, LJ Colwell, JN Skepper, CM Shanahan, G Schitter, P Mesquida, MJ Duer
– Sci Rep
(2020)
10,
3397
Inside Cover: Pigmentation Chemistry and Radical‐Based Collagen Degradation in Alkaptonuria and Osteoarthritic Cartilage (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 29/2020)
WY Chow, BP Norman, NB Roberts, LR Ranganath, C Teutloff, R Bittl, MJ Duer, JA Gallagher, H Oschkinat
– Angewandte Chemie International Edition
(2020)
59,
11674
Innentitelbild: Pigmentierungschemie und radikalbasierter Kollagenabbau bei Alkaptonurie und Arthrose (Angew. Chem. 29/2020)
WY Chow, BP Norman, NB Roberts, LR Ranganath, C Teutloff, R Bittl, MJ Duer, JA Gallagher, H Oschkinat
– Angewandte Chemie
(2020)
132,
11770
Pigmentierungschemie und radikalbasierter Kollagenabbau bei Alkaptonurie und Arthrose
WY Chow, BP Norman, NB Roberts, LR Ranganath, C Teutloff, R Bittl, MJ Duer, JA Gallagher, H Oschkinat
– Angewandte Chemie
(2020)
132,
12035
DNA Damage Response: A Molecular Lynchpin in the Pathobiology of Arteriosclerotic Calcification
M Duer, AM Cobb, CM Shanahan
– Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology
(2020)
40,
e193
Pigmentation Chemistry and Radical-Based Collagen Degradation in Alkaptonuria and Osteoarthritic Cartilage.
WY Chow, BP Norman, NB Roberts, LR Ranganath, C Teutloff, R Bittl, MJ Duer, JA Gallagher, H Oschkinat
– Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English)
(2020)
59,
11937
Pigmentation Chemistry and Radical-Based Collagen Degradation in Alkaptonuria and Osteoarthritic Cartilage
WY Chow, B Norman, N Roberts, L Ranganath, C Teutloff, R Bittl, M Duer, J Gallagher, H Oschkinat
(2020)
Pigmentation Chemistry and Radical-Based Collagen Degradation in Alkaptonuria and Osteoarthritic Cartilage
WY Chow, B Norman, N Roberts, L Ranganath, C Teutloff, R Bittl, M Duer, J Gallagher, H Oschkinat
(2020)
Poly(ADP-Ribose) Links the DNA Damage Response and Biomineralization.
KH Müller, R Hayward, R Rajan, M Whitehead, AM Cobb, S Ahmad, M Sun, I Goldberga, R Li, U Bashtanova, AM Puszkarska, DG Reid, RA Brooks, JN Skepper, J Bordoloi, WY Chow, H Oschkinat, A Groombridge, OA Scherman, JA Harrison, A Verhulst, PC D'Haese, E Neven, L-M Needham, SF Lee, CM Shanahan, MJ Duer
– Cell Rep
(2019)
27,
3124
Detection of nucleic acids and other low abundance components in native bone and osteosarcoma extracellular matrix by isotope enrichment and DNP-enhanced NMR
I Goldberga, R Li, WY Chow, DG Reid, U Bashtanova, R Rajan, A Puszkarska, H Oschkinat, MJ Duer
– RSC Advances
(2019)
9,
26686
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Research Group

Research Interest Groups

Telephone number

01223 763934 (shared)
36483

Email address

mjd13@cam.ac.uk