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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences
Phone:
(023) 8059 4273
Email:
C.E.Clarkin@soton.ac.uk

Dr Claire E Clarkin BSc

Associate Professor in Developmental and Skeletal Biology

Dr Claire E Clarkin's photo

Claire is Associate Professor in Developmental and Skeletal Biology, she is deputy lead for Developmental Biology Theme within the School of Biological Sciences (Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences), part of the Centre for Human Development, Stem Cells and Regeneration and is an active member of Fortisnet within the Institute for Life Sciences.

Claire has specific interest in how blood vessels interact with tissues and organs during development, adulthood and disease. To date much of her research has focused on the musculoskeletal system and how age and gender impact blood vessel function within bone and influence skeletal pathology. Cross disciplinary approaches are at the central to the development of Claire's research hypotheses and current collaborations within Southampton include Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

The blood supply to bone is critical for normal growth and development and is also linked to skeletal pathology. Past research has been challenging as the vasculature is deeply buried within the hard bone mineral and difficult to study. Our aim is to improve the imaging of skeletal blood vessels and better assess their contribution to fracture risk and degenerative bone loss.

Career History

2017-present: Associate Professor in Developmental and Skeletal Biology. University of Southampton, UK.
2011-2017: Lecturer in Developmental Biology. University of Southampton, UK.
2008-2011: Diabetes Foundation/Diabetes UK Research Fellow. King’s College, London, UK.
2005-2008: Postdoctoral Research Associate (Arthritis Research UK): Department of Veterinary Basic Science, The Royal Veterinary College, London, UK.

Academic Qualifications

2002-2005: PhD (BBSRC). The Royal Veterinary College, London, UK.

JBMR cover

Regulation of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor in Bone

Bone is a dynamic tissue that is constantly renewed throughout life; Claire's research thus far indicates that bone-forming osteoblast cells are a significant source of blood vessel-attracting factors in bone (VEGF) and her long term research aims to identify new drug targets that will permit selective control of bone’s blood supply to allow sufficient support for the process of bone renewal. Claire's laboratory in Southampton has unique models in place to dissect the directionality of signalling which exists between bone cells and endothelial cells.

This project has received PhD funding from Versus Arthritis (Alice Goring) and currently is in collaboration with Professor Bjorn Olsen (Harvard School of Dental Medicine), ), Professor Alan Boyde (Queen Mary’s London), Professor Andrew Pitsillides (Royal Veterinary College London), Professor Richard Oreffo (Medicine, Southampton), Professor Phillip Schneider (Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Southampton).

Image courtesy of Aikta Sharma
Image courtesy of Aikta Sharma (pictured)
Image courtesy of Aikta Sharma
Image courtesy of Aikta Sharma

Assessing the pro-angiogenic potential of osteoblasts through the characterisation of extracellular matrix

This project utilises novel label-free and non-destructive nanophotonic based techniques, including Raman spectroscopy and Second Harmonic Generation microscopy to identify matrix signatures that are associated with pro-angiogenic VEGF release in osteoblasts. These unique molecular characteristics could be used to assess osteoblast health and provide indirect predictions of bone vascularisation in clinical settings. This project has received funding from DOT Medical Implants Solutions (PhD, Aikta Sharma) and is in collaboration with Professor Andrew Pitsillides (Royal Veterinary College), Professor Roger Emery (Imperial College London), Professor Richard Oreffo (Medicine, University of Southampton) and Professor Sumeet Mahajan (Chemistry, University of Southampton).

Assessing common aetiologies between osteoporosis and Alzheimer's Disease
Image courtesy of Jacob Trend

Assessing common aetiologies between osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterised by progressive cognitive decline underpinned by synaptic loss, however sufferers also suffer from an increase in the incidence of various comorbidities. One such comorbidity is an increase in the incidence of bone fracture and decreased bone mineral density.

This project uses  cellular models of AD and progressive neurodegeneration to assess how synaptic loss affects bone competence through assessing bone macro and microstructure using techniques such as µ-CT. While utilizing µ -CT, this project aims to develop tools for the assessment of cortical bone microstructure.

Further, this project hopes to assess how synaptic loss within the CNS affects bone innervation and vascularisation affects bone cell function. Together, this project hopes to question whether bone health should be assessed alongside cognitive function.

This project has received funding from The Gerald Kerkut Trust (PhD, Jacob Trend) and is in collaboration Dr Philipp Schneider (Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Southampton) and Katrin Deinhardt (Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences).

Elucidating Osteosarcoma Matrix Signatures

Elucidating Osteosarcoma Matrix Signatures Indicative of Metastatic Potential Using Multi-Modal Microscopy

Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most common primary cancer of bone, typically describing highly aggressive paediatric tumours associated with poor prognosis. OS is characterised by the production of immature bone matrix whereby components of the extracellular matrix – such as collagen I – are aberrant. This manipulated matrix is believed to promote cancerous processes such as metastasis and pathological angiogenesis, though mechanisms for which are yet to be concluded.

Image courtesy of Belle Creith
Image courtesy of Belle Creith

The optical modalities of Raman spectroscopy and Second Harmonic Generation imaging permit examination of the ECM in a label-free manner, ensuring the physiological milieu of the sample remains undisturbed. Research being conducted in Claire’s lab utilises such techniques for characterisation of the OS matrix and hopes to uncover mechanisms that drive malignant progression. This research is funded by Hannahs Willberry Wonderpony (PhD student, Belle Creith ) lead by Dr Claire Clarkin, Prof Sumeet Mahajan, Prof. Richard Oreffo.

Developing 2 & 3-dimensional multicellular models to improve treatment and diagnosis of osteosarcoma

Novel treatments for osteosarcoma are urgently needed but their development is hampered by the complexity of the disease and the environment in which it grows. Here we will generate a live, growing 3-dimensional bone model of human osteosarcoma allowing us to better study the complex microenvironment in which drugs need to operate and to test new drugs and strategies to improve patient responses.

Developing 2 & 3-dimentional multicellular models

This project is funded by Children with Cancer in collaboration with Dr Janos Kanzcler Medicine, Professor Steve Beers, Professor Richard Oreffo (all Faculty of Medicine) and Professor Sumeet Mahajan (Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences).

Assessing bone geometry and mechanobiology in Paget’s disease of bone

Paget’s disease of bone (PDB) is the second most common bone disease after osteoporosis. It is characterised by high rates of bone formation and bone resorption. Excessive formation of weak and brittle bone leads to a variety of complications including bone pain and fracture. Patients are usually not diagnosed until over the age of 50 years, making treatment for PDB more challenging.

Image courtesy of Alisha Sharma
Image courtesy of Alisha Sharma

Within this project, micro-computed tomography (µCT) is currently being used to evaluate the macrostructure and the microstructure of a SQSTM1 model. Specifically, lab based µCT is being used to examine whole-bone geometry while synchrotron radiation computed tomography is being used to examine the intracortical system within lower hind limbs, in which fractures are most common in PDB. This project seeks to improve our understanding of bone structure/shape and determine whether changes on the macro- and microlevel can better predict fracture and improve diagnostic methods in PDB.

This project has received funding from Paget's Association and the Institute for Life Sciences (PhD, Alisha Sharma) and is in collaboration with Professor Stuart Ralston (University of Edinburgh), Dr Bram Sengers (Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Southampton) and Dr Philipp Schneider (Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Southampton).

Research group

Biomedical Sciences

Affiliate research group

Institute for Life Sciences (IfLS)

Research project(s)

Elucidating the role of vascular endothelial growth factor in regulating adult bone health, strength and repair

This project looks at the role of VEGF on bone homeostasis, with a particular focus on the vasculature.

A Description of new baryonychine (Theropoda: Spinosauridae) material and assessment of trigeminal (palaeo) neuroanatomy in extinct and extant archosaurs

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Articles

Conferences

Sharma A, Emery R, Pitsillides AA, Oreffo ROC, Mahajan S, Clarkin CE (2019) Molecular imaging modalities reveal pathological matrix disorganisation in whole bone sections and isolated osteoblasts. Oral presentation. New Investigator Award. Bone Research Society and British Orthopaedic Research Society joint annual meeting, Cardiff, 3-6th September.

Sharma AC, Ralston S, Sengers B, Schneider P, Clarkin CE (2019) Sexual dimorphism in both bone geometry and bone strength for a mouse model of Paget's disease of bone. Oral presentation. Submitted to Bone Research Society and British Orthopaedic Research Society joint annual meeting, Cardiff, 3-6th September.

Goring A, Ferrara N, Olsen BR, Hesse E, Oreffo R, Schneider P, Clarkin CE (2019) Do sex hormones determine sexual dimorphism of the bone vasculature. Oral poster presentation. Submitted to Bone Research Society and British Orthopaedic Research Society joint annual meeting, Cardiff, 3-6th September.

Sharma A, Emery R, Pitsillides AA, Oreffo ROC, Mahajan S, Clarkin CE (2019) Raman spectroscopy reveals phosphate signatures in osteoblasts which associate distinctly with cell viability and differentiation. Oral and poster presentation, Herbert Fleisch Workshop, International Federation of mineral research, Brugge, Czech Rep, March 2019.

Sharma AC, Ralston S, Sengers B, Schneider P, Clarkin CE (2019) Could bone shape predict fracture risk in Pagets disease of bone? Poster presentation, Herbert Fleisch Workshop, International Federation of mineral research, Brugge, Czech Rep, March 2019

Sharma A, Goring A, Emery R, Olsen BR, Pitsillides AA, Oreffo ROC, Mahajan S, Clarkin CE (2019) Raman spectroscopy and second harmonic generation imaging reveal sexually dimorphic influence of osteoblast-derived VEGF on bone mineral and matrix composition. Oral and poster presentation at British Society of Matrix Biology, Liverpool April 2019.

Goring A, Ferrara N, Olsen BR, Hesse E, Oreffo R, Schneider P, Clarkin CE (2018) Increased sclerostin expression following OB-derived VEGF deletion. Oral presentation. Bone Research Society Annual meeting Winchester 27-29th June. New Investigator Award. Best oral presentation prize.

Behzad Goring A, Ferrara N, Olsen BR, Hesse E, Oreffo R, Schneider P, Pitsillides AA Clarkin CE (2018) VEGF exerts sexually dimorphic effects on bone mass and architecture. Oral poster presentation. Bone Research Society Annual meeting Winchester 27-29th June.

Nunez J, Goring A, Thurner P, Schneider P * and Clarkin CE (2018) A model to study the role of the vasculature and vascular-specific mediators with ageing for degenerative bone diseases. Oral presentation. 8th World Congress of Biomechanics, 8-12th July Dublin. (*presenting author)

Goring A Boyde A Ferrara N, Olsen BR, Hesse E, Oreffo R, Schneider P, Clarkin CE (2018) Osteoblast-specific VEGF deletion reveals a paracrine role for endothelial-derived growth factors in regulating bone mineralisation. Oral presentation. Gordon Research Seminar. Bones and Teeth Galveston Texas.

Goring A, Boyde A Ferrara N, Olsen BR, Hesse E, Oreffo R, Schneider P, Clarkin C (2018) Osteoblast-specific VEGF deletion reveals a paracrine role for endothelial-derived growth factors in regulating bone mineralisation. Poster presentation. Gordon Research Conference. Bones and Teeth, Galveston Texas.

Goring A, Núñez JA, Ferrara N, Olsen BR, Hesse E, Oreffo R, Schneider P, Clarkin CE (2017) Evidence for gender-specific vascular signalling in bone. Oral Poster presentation. New Investigator award. Bone Research Society Annual Meeting 29th- 1st July 2017 Bristol.

Goring A, Nunez, JA, Ferrara, Olsen BR, Hesse, E Oreffo ROC, P Schneider, Clarkin CE (2017) Evidence for resistance of endothelial cells to blockade of mature osteoblast derived VEGF. Oral presentation. European Calcified Tissue Society 14-16th May 2017, Salzburg, Austria. ECTS New Investigator Award Best Presentation.

Núñez J, Goring A , E Hesse, Schneider P Thurner PJ and Clarkin CE (2017) Simultaneous visualisation of calcified bone ultrastructure and soft tissue of the intracortical vasculature using synchrotron X-ray phase contrast tomography. Oral poster presentation. European Calcified Tissue Society 14-16th May 2017. Salzburg, Austria.

Nunez J, Goring A, Ferrara N, Olsen BR, Thurner P, Schneider P and Clarkin CE (2017) Regional changes in cortical bone porosity in mice lacking vascular endothelial growth factor revealed by synchrotron x‐ray tomography. Poster presentation. European Calcified Tissue Society 14-16th May 2017, Salzburg, Austria.

Page DJ, Dawson JI, Mani R, Clarkin CE, Evans ND (2017). VEGF-associated clay gels promotes angiogenesis in an in vitro and a murine-based model: possible treatment for chronic diabetic ulcers. Poster Presentation. 16th International Clay Conference: Clays, From The Oceans To Space. 17th-21st July 2017, Granada, Spain.

Nunez J, Thurner P, Schneider P, Clarkin CE (2016) Age-related and site specific changes in intracortical vascular network revealed by high-resolution synchrotron X-ray computed tomography MEIbioeng, Keble College, Oxford, UK. Oral presentation.

Nunez J, Thurner P, Schneider P, Clarkin CE (2016) Identification of regional diversity in blood vessel structures within murine cortical bone. Bone Research Society Annual Meeting 29th- 1st July 2016, Liverpool, UK. Oral Poster presentation. Best Poster Prize.

Marfy-Smith SJ, Emery R, Pitsillides AA, Mahajan S, Clarkin CE (2016) Early Detection of Osteogenic Changes in Normal Human Osteoblasts by Raman Spectroscopy. Bone Research Society Annual Meeting 29th- 1st July 2016, Liverpool, UK. Oral Poster presentation.

Marfy-Smith SJ, Emery R, Pitsillides AA, Mahajan S, Clarkin CE (2016) Characterising an Osteogenic Signature in Primary Cells using Raman Spectroscopy. Advanced Vibrational Spectroscopy for Biomedical Applications: Faraday Discussions. 21st March- 23rd march 2016. St Catharine's College, Cambridge, UK. Poster Presentation.

Page DJ, Dawson JI, Mani R, Oreffo ROC, Clarkin CE, Evans ND (2016) Novel growth factor delivery using clay gels for the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers. Tissue & Cell Engineering Society (TCES) Annual Conference 2016. 4th-6th July, University College London (UCL), London, UK.

Page DJ, Dawson JI, Mani R, Clarkin CE, Evans ND (2016). Novel delivery of proangiogenic VEGF using clay biomaterial: potential tissue engineering application to augment diabetic foot ulcer recovery. Skin Deep – 20 Years of Research, British Skin Foundation Research Conference. 13th October 2016. Royal College of Physicians, London, UK. Poster Presentation.

DJ Page, JI Dawson, R Mani, ROC Oreffo, Clarkin CE, ND Evans (2016) VEGF-associated clay gels promotes in vitro angiogenesis:potential tissue engineering application for chronic wounds. Tissue Engineering International and Regenenerative Medicine Society, Uppsala 1st July. Poster Presentation

DJ Page, JI Dawson, R Mani, ROC Oreffo, Clarkin CE, ND Evans (2015). Novel clay gels as regenerative microenvironments for the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers. Tissue & Cell Engineering Society (TCES) Annual Conference 2015. Southampton, Poster Presentation.

Nunez J, Thurner P, Sinclair I, Schneider P & Clarkin CE (2014). Utilising high resolution imaging to interrogate blood vessel and bone cell interactions. Medical Engineering Centres Annual Meeting and Bioengineering Imperial College, London. Poster Presentation.
Shah M, Reilly P, Emery R, Clarkin CE, Pitsillides A (2013) Human osteoblasts from distinct bone locations exhibit highly conserved differences in osteogenic and pro-angiogenic potential British Orthopaedic Research Society Annual Meeting, Oxford Poster presentation.
Spink E, Morneo I, Clarkin CE (2013) Loss Of Sensitivity To VEGF And VEGF Receptor 2 Expression Provides Evidence For Vascular Endothelial Cell Dedifferentiation Upon Direct Contact With Osteoblasts. Gordon Conference on Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Holderness, New Hampshire USA. Poster presentation.

SJ Marfy-Smith, SA Lanham, AJ Watkins, ES Lucas, CE Clarkin ROC Oreffo, T Fleming (2013) Does Maternal Diet At The Time Of Conception Influence Fetal Bone Development? Oral presentation.ociety for Reproduction and Fertility, Cambridge.

Shah M, Reilly P, Emery R, Clarkin CE, Pitsillides A (2013) The positional origins of human osteoblasts dictate growth and differentiation potential and capacity for paracrine vascular cell cross-talk via VEGF European Calcified Tissue Society , Lisbon. Poster presentation.

Spink E, Morneo I, Clarkin CE (2013) In Vitro Tracking Of Cell Fate Reveals Potential for Endothelial Cell Dedifferentiation Upon Direct Contact With Osteoblasts. Bone Research Society Annual Meeting, Oxford. 3-5th September. Poster presentation.

Staines K.A., Mackenzie N.C.W, Prideaux M., Clarkin C.E, Zelenchuk L., Bonewald L., Rowe P.S., MacRae V.E., Farquharson C (2012). Regulation of chondrocyte matrix mineralisation by the MEPE-ASARM axis. 3rd European Workshop in Growth Plate Research, Vienna (2012) Invited oral presentation.

Staines K.A., Mackenzie N.C.W., Prideaux M., Clarkin C.E., Zelenchuk L., Bonewald L., Rowe P.S., MacRae V.E., Farquharson C (2012). The MEPE-ASARM axis regulates chondrocyte matrix mineralization. Osteoporosis and Bone Conference 2012, Manchester (2012) Abstract Published - Osteoporosis International: 23 (Suppl 5) O9 Invited oral presentation.

Staines K.A., Mackenzie N.C.W., Prideaux M., Clarkin C.E., Zelenchuk L., Bonewald L., Rowe P.S., MacRae V.E., Farquharson C (2012) Regulation of endochondral ossification by the MEPE-ASARM axis. 39th European Symposium on Calcified Tissues, Stockholm (2012) Abstract published – Bone: 50(S1); S97 Invited oral presentation.

Clarkin CE, King A, Chagastelles P, Jones PM, Wheeler-Jones CPD (2012) ALK5 inhibition reverses impairment of endothelial cell viability by endogenous islet mesenchymal cells. Mesenchymal Stem cell conference, University of Southampton. Invited oral presentation.

Clarkin CE, King A, Chagastelles P, Jones PM, Wheeler-Jones CPD (2012) Lily Diabetes Oral Poster Award Basic Science Diabetes UK Oral presentation.

Clarkin CE, King A, Chagastelles P, Jones PM, Wheeler-Jones CPD (2011) Islet endothelial cell populations can be retained during in vitro culture by inhibition of TGFβ signalling. Submitted to Gordon Research Seminar Endothelial Heterogenity in disease Rhode Island, USA. Invited Oral presentation.

Clarkin CE, King A, Chagastelles P, Jones PM, Wheeler-Jones CPD (2011) Islet endothelial cell populations can be retained during in vitro culture by inhibition of TGFβ signalling. Submitted to Gordon Research Conference, Angiogenesis Rhode Island, USA. Poster presentation.

Clarkin CE (2011) Restricting Osteoblast and Endothelial Cell Proximity in Vitro Reveals Paracrine VEGF Signaling Potential in Bone. But is the Osteoblast the Chicken or the Egg? International Bone and Mineral Society, Harold Frost Young Investigator award, Sun Valley Idaho, USA. Invited Oral Presentation.

Clarkin CE, Chagastelles P, Jones PM, Wheeler-Jones CPD (2011) Human islet mesenchymal cells interact with endothelial cells and promote loss of VEGFR2 via TGFβRI signalling. The British Microcirculation Society, London, Invited Oral presentation.

Mucha N, Clarkin CE, Rackham C King A, Wheeler-Jones Caroline Jones P (2011) A Potential Role for Eph B:Ephrin B Expression in the Regulation of Beta Cell and Islet Endothelial Cell communication. German Diabetes Association Leipzig, Germany. Oral Poster presentation.

Clarkin CE, Chagastelles P, Mahmoud M, Rackham C, King A, Helen Arthur et al (2011) Maintained endoglin expression during long term islet culture reveals a population of cells with pro-angiogenic potential. Diabetes UK Annual Professional conference, London. Poster presentation.

Module Co-ordinator

BIOL3006 Cellular and Genetic aspects of Animal Development

Lecturer

BIOL3001 Current Topics of Cell Biology
BIOL3014 Molecular Cell Biology
BIOL2003 Animal Reproduction and Development

Tutor

BIOL2022 Immunology, Infection and Inflammation

University of Southampton

Biological Sciences Business (UIST enterprise) Fellow
Member of the Equality and Diversity Committee for Biological Sciences

Professional Affiliations

Review editor. Frontiers in Bone Endocrinology.
Section editor. Cardiovascular Biology, Journal of Cell Biochemistry and Function.

Athena Swan Award
Dr Claire E Clarkin
Biological Sciences
Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences
Life Sciences Building 85
University of Southampton
Highfield Campus
Southampton
SO17 1BJ

Room Number: 85/3045

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