DPhil, CBiol FSB
- Primary position:
- Professor of Musculoskeletal Science
Professor Richard Oreffo holds the chair of Musculoskeletal Science and is Co-founder of the Centre for Human Development, Stem Cells and Regeneration. He is also Associate Dean Enterprise for the Faculty of Medicine.
Richard leads the Bone and Joint Research Group based at the Institute of Developmental Sciences, Southampton General Hospital. He has extensive expertise in skeletal biology and the mechanisms involved in skeletal stem cell differentiation.
The Group is focused on understanding bone development and developing strategies to regenerate bone and cartilage using stem cell technology and innovative scaffolds for orthopaedic application. Much of the work is undertaken in multidisciplinary programmes and Richard has published more than 150 peer-reviewed papers, 20 reviews andbook chapters, and holds 5 patents.
In 2001 Richard was recognised with the Maxime Hanns award for collaborative research in Bone Tissue Engineering, appointed to a Senior Lectureship in 2002 and to a Readership and Personal chair in 2004.
In 2008 he was appointed to the Research Council for Health of the Academy of Finland and is a member of the BBSRC Healthy Organism Panel (Deputy Chair), ARC Research Committee and UK National Stem Cell Network Advisory Committee.
Richard serves on the editorial boards of the journals Biomaterials, Tissue Engineering, European Cells and Materials, Regenerative Medicine, Journal of Tissue Engineering and Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine. He is on the board of Southampton Asset Management and has consulted for several biotechnology / Pharma companies.
B.Sc. Honours, Biology, University of Liverpool, 1983
D.Phil. Vitamin A and Bone, University of Oxford, 1986
Demonstrator, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford. 1985-1986
Research Fellow, Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology,
University of Texas, San Antonio, Texas, USA. 1987-1989
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, Cheshire, UK.1990-1991
Principal Research Scientist, Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, Cheshire, UK.1991-1993
MRC Research Fellow, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK. 1993-1999
Non-Clinical lecturer, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK.1999-2002
Senior lecturer, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK.2002-2004
Reader, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK. 2004
Personal Chair in Musculoskeletal Science. 2004-present
Director of Enterprise – Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences. 2005-present
Associate Dean (Innovation and Enterprise), Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences. 2008-2010
Associate Dean Enterprise, Faculty of Medicine. 2010-2011
Associate Dean, International and Enterprise, 2011 - present
Adjunct Professor, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia. 2010-present
- 'Grow your own' hip replacements in a decade
- Doctors get a lucky break: Fractures could be repaired using lightweight plastic bones and stem cells
- Stem cells and degradable implants encourage bone regrowth
- Stem cells and plastics combined to heal bones
- University of Southampton scientists develop artificial bone to help heal broken limbs
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Conference or Workshop Item
The aim of the group is to understand the mechanisms of bone development, growth and regeneration, how these differ in skeletal abnormalities and diseases such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, and to what extent bone growth is programmed during fetal life.
Thus research in Professor Oreffo’s group is primarily centered on harnessing the potential of skeletal stem cells (whether derived from embryonic or fetal and adult sources) for the development of unique tissue engineering approaches for new cartilage and bone formation for orthopedic application. In parallel we are interested in the role of fetal programming as a consequence of maternal nutritional challenges on bone cell differentiation, activity, potential and bone function with age.
Skeletal Research - the potential of skeletal stem cells
The requirement for new bone to replace or restore the function of traumatised or degenerated bone, or for the replacement of lost mineralised tissue as a consequence of increasing age is a major clinical and socio-economic need. To date, bone formation stimulation regimes, although attractive, have yet to demonstrate clinical efficacy.
Research of the group has primarily centred on:
Understanding human skeletal stem cell biology and the development of unique tissue engineering approaches for cartilage and bone formation for orthopaedic application using human skeletal populations and, elucidating the role of fetal programming as a consequence of maternal nutritional challenge on mesenchymal progenitor cell differentiation, activity, potential and bone function with age.
This involves drawing together the elements of i) progenitor cell differentiation (specifically the control of mesenchymal stem/progenitor cell differentiation and plasticity), ii) generation of osteoconductive and inductive smart scaffold/materials (including the use of natural biomimetic environments and self -assembling scaffolds with appropriate extracellular matrix cues) and, iii) cell signal/growth factor biology to examine tissue regeneration.
Other areas of active research interest within the group include differentiation of pluripotent stem cells along the mesenchymal lineage as well as angiogenesis / revascularisation in tissue development.
The group is currently developing translational strategies for clinical application to couple cell technologies with biomimetic scaffolds in close collaboration with groups in the UK as well as international collaborations in Germany, Canada and the USA.
Thus current concepts, approaches and challenges from work in the group include:
i) The use of isolated and selected human osteoprogenitor cell populations with selected osteotropic agents in an attempt to modulate the phenotype of the skeletal stem cell to generate mineralised bone tissue,
ii) The role of epigenetics, maternal nutrition and intrauterine programming in skeletal development of related offspring
iii) Manipulation of the developmental potential of bone stem cells on modified biomimetic structures with select growth factors,
iv) Epidemiological Studies in Bone & Joint Research
v) Modelling of skeletal tissue formation – including gene network analysis as well as tissue growth modelling.
vi) Translation from bench to clinic
Although clinical efficacy has yet to be achieved, development of protocols, new tools and above all multidisciplinary approaches for de novo bone formation that utilise skeletal stem cells offer significant rewards for an increasing aged population both in terms of healthcare costs and, more importantly, improved quality of life.
Intrauterine Programming, Epigenetics, Skeletal Development and Bone Diseases
In collaboration with Prof. Cyrus Cooper (MRC Environmental Epidemiology Unit) members of HDH and a number of international collaborators we are investigating, using a variety of animal models, how maternal protein deficiency affects bone growth. Our current ex vivo analysis of bone populations shows an important role of maternal nutrition in subsequent fetal bone development with significant implications in understanding the subsequent development of bone chronic diseases in later life such as osteoarthritis.
Academic unit: Human Development and Health
Application of ultrasound standing wave fields for augmentation of cartilage bioengineering strategies
Promoting tissue regeneration by carrying drugs and molecules directly to stem cells.
The effects of substrate mechanics on keratinocytes and epidermal stem cell behaviour at wound sites
The healing of a skin wound is a highly co-ordinated series of events involving both biochemical and biomechanical signalling. We are trying to understanding how the mechanical properties of a healing wound affects how it heals.
Growth, analysis and characterization (a-g)
Growth of skeletal stem cells (a) and their expression of a marker enzyme
Growing on allograft bone for clinical application
Slice of trabecular bone captured using Computer Tomography
Postgraduate Supervision (higher research degrees)
2002 Rahul Tare PhD
2002 Xuebin Yang PhD
2003 Daniel Howard PhD
2006 Michael O’Connell PhD
2006 Sayed-Hadi Mirmalek-Sani PhD
2006 Jodie Pound PhD
2007 Jon Dawson PhD
2008 Simon Tiley MD
2008 Ben Bolland MD
2009 Ahmed El Serafi PhD
2010 Catherine Forristal PhD
2010 Ayshe Ismail PhD
2011 Peter Mitchell PhD
2011 Alex Aarvold MD
14 PhD and MD students (Oct 2011)
Stephanie Harding ( Year 3)
Kelvin Cheung (Year 3)
Marco Peca ( Year 2)
Siwei Li ( Year 1 – co-supervisor)
Patrick Stumpf (co-supervisor)
Joanna Greenhough (co-supervisor)
Nunzia Sposito (co-supervisor)
Tsiloon Li (co-supervisor)
Faculty of Medicine
Associate Dean International and Enterprise
University of Southampton
Southampton Asset Management
Various University Enterprise/Research Groups
National and International responsibilities
Editorial Board Biomaterials
Editorial Board Tissue Engineering
Editorial Board European Cells and Materials
Editorial Board Regenerative Medicine
Editorial Board J. Tissue Engineering
Editorial Board J, Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
Fellow Institute of Biology
Research Council for Health of the Academy of Finland
Member of BBSRC Healthy Organism Panel (Deputy Chair)
ARC Research Committee
UK National Stem Cell Network Committee
Adjunct Professor King Saud University
Serve and have served as a consultant to various SME and Pharma Companies in the area of musculoskeletal science and Bone Regeneration
BM5 Year 4. Delivery of on-going lectures to groups of undergraduate students studying Orthopaedics and Rheumatology. Specific lectures given on metabolic bone disease and basic bone biology.
BM5 Year 1. Provides tutorial and lectures on calcium metabolism and physiology of bone
BM4 Year 1. Provides tutorial to year 1 BM4 students on Bone Physiology.
Integrated Stem Cell PhD Programme – Stem Cell PhD Course Director and Lead - Also teach and run projects within the programme
Professor Richard Oreffo
Faculty of Medicine
University of Southampton
Institute of Developmental Sciences Building
Southampton General Hospital
Southampton SO16 6YD
Tel: +44 (0)23 8120 8502
Room Number: SGH/IDS/MP887