The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences
(023) 8059 4273

Dr Claire E Clarkin BSc, PhD

Associate Professor in Developmental Biology, Principal Investigator Biomedical Sciences

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Dr Claire E Clarkin is Associate Professor in Developmental Biology within Biological Sciences at the University of Southampton.

Career History

2017-present: Associate Professor in Developmental 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 (ARC): Department of Veterinary Basic Science, The Royal Veterinary College, London, UK.

Academic Qualifications

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






Research interests

Claires research is focussed on how blood vessels and endothelial cells interact with tissues and organs during development, adulthood and disease. More specifically, she is interested in how tissue derived factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor or transforming growth factor β can modulate endothelial cell behaviour. Examples of projects she is involved in include i) study of endothelial cell interactions in bone, during remodelling, osteoporosis and following orthopaedic surgery and ii) targeting the blood supply in of islets of langerhans to increase islet transplantation success, a current treatment for Type 1 Diabetes.

Targeting blood vessels in bone to treat bone disease

Bone is a dynamic tissue that is constantly renewed throughout life; because of this, bone is reliant upon a constant blood supply providing it with oxygen and nutrients. Claires research thus far indicates that bone-forming cells are a significant source of blood vessel-attracting factors in bone 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. Claires laboratory in Southampton has models in place to dissect and visualise the directionality of signalling which exists between bone cells and endothelial cells. This project is currently in collaboration with Professor Bjorn Olsen (Harvard University, Boston) and Dr Philipp Thurner (University of Southampton; Faculty of Engineering).

Optimising shoulder replacement by selecting ideal target bone for fixation

Decreased bone mass and deficient osteogenesis have been linked to inadequate vascular supply or inappropriate bone vascularity, endorsing a central role for the vasculature in bone formation. It remains undefined, however, whether primary control of bone angiogenesis might assist with long term fixation of glenoid and humeral components during shoulder replacements. This project examines the behaviour of bone forming osteoblasts derived from specific cortical, subchondral and trabecular bone regions and aims to define whether they exhibit distinct potential for driving osteogenesis and angiogenesis. This project is funded by the Furlong Charitable Foundation is in collaboration with Professor Andrew Pitsillides (PI; Royal Veterinary College, London) and Professor Roger Emery (Imperial College, London). 

Improving islet endothelial cell viability to improve islet transplantation success

Although the functional importance of interactions between islet endocrine cells is well documented recent studies suggest that heterotypic interactions between endocrine cells and vascular endothelial cells may be equally important in regulating islet development and function.
Appropriate modification of islets in culture to ensure they retain their vasculature more effectively, could potentially increase their survival and insulin-secretory capacity following transplantation. Claire’s research aims to identify mechanisms which drive islet endothelial cell loss prior to and during islet graft transplant. This project is in collaboration with Professor Peter Jones (Kings College London) and Dr Caroline Wheeler-Jones (Reader in Vascular Cell Biology, Royal Veterinary College, London).

Tissue specific endothelial and mesenchymal stem cell interactions

Endothelial cells exhibit broad heterogeneity and are also incredibly plastistic and can dedifferentiate into multipotent mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in vitro and in vivo. Claires studies have found that mesenchymal stems cells from different sources interact differently with endothelial cells in vitro and she is currently investigating mechanisms involved in driving such effects as acquisition of such knowledge could help improve procedures involving the use of MSCs such as tissue transplantation and regeneration. This project has received funding by the Gerard Kerkhut Trust.

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.


Module Co-ordinator

BIOL3006 Cellular and Genetic aspects of Animal Development


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


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 Natural & Environmental Sciences
Life Sciences Building 85
University of Southampton
Highfield Campus
SO17 1BJ

Room Number:85/3045

Telephone:(023) 8059 4273

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