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Biological Sciences
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Dr Melissa R Andrews BSc, PhD

Lecturer in Systems Physiology, Principal Investigator Neuroregeneration

Dr Melissa R Andrews's photo

Dr Melissa R Andrews joined the Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences at the University of Southampton in January 2017 as Lecturer in Systems Physiology. Dr Andrews is a Principal Investigator of Neuroregeneration within Biological Sciences.

Career History

2017-present: Lecturer in Systems Physiology, Biological Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK.
2012-2016: Lecturer in Anatomy, University of St Andrews, School of Medicine, St Andrews, UK.
2006-2012: Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Cambridge, Centre for Brain Repair, Cambridge, UK.

Academic qualifications

2000-2006: PhD (with distinction) in Anatomy and Cell Biology. State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY, USA.
1996-2000: BSc in Bioengineering. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA.

Research interests

In 2000, I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a BSc degree focused in Bioengineering and Life Sciences. I received a PhD in Anatomy and Cell Biology from the State University of New York Upstate Medical University in 2006, where I evaluated the role of olfactory ensheathing cells in enhancing regeneration after spinal cord injury under the supervision of Professor Dennis Stelzner. My post-doctoral work was performed at the University of Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair in the laboratory of Professor James Fawcett. This research focused on the potential of transmembrane receptors known as integrins to promote axonal growth after spinal cord injury as well as studying their ability to transport in vivo within central and peripheral nervous system axons. During my time in Cambridge, I also served as a Research Associate for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and the Plasticise European Research Consortium. Following this I was Lecturer in Anatomy at the University of St Andrews School of Medicine for 4 years, after which I was appointed to a Lectureship in Systems Physiology at the University of Southampton, Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences, in January 2017.

My research focus is aimed at enhancing repair of the acutely or chronically injured brain and spinal cord as well as investigating why certain parts of the nervous system can regenerate while others do not. My work involves targeting the intrinsic inability of the CNS to regenerate using various approaches to reintroduce necessary proteins that are missing in the adult and injured nervous systems, including utilising gene therapy and cell-derived vesicles. In addition, I am interested in incorporating cellular therapies to promote neuroprotection and regrowth in the damaged or degenerated nervous system.

PhD Supervision

Lloyd Steele-Nicholson: Enhancing Integrin-mediated Nervous System Regeneration
Funding: The Gerald Kerkut Trust and School of Biological Sciences

Lindsey Forbes: Can iPSC-derived, integrin-expressing cortical neurons survive long term in vivo?
Funding: University of St Andrews 600th yr Scholarship

Research group


Affiliate research groups

Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, Developmental Biology, Institute for Life Sciences (IfLS), Southampton Neuroscience Group (SoNG), Centre for Human Development, Stem Cells and Regeneration

Research project(s)

Enhancing Spinal Cord Regeneration through Combinatorial Therapies: Use of Integrin-Mediated Repair Together with Chondroitinase Treatment

Investigating the Impact of Nervous System Maturation on Transmembrane Receptor Localisation and Transport in CNS Axons

CNS maturation contributes significantly to providing a stable nervous system environment, but also prevents the CNS from repairing itself following damage.

Enhancing Integrin-mediated Nervous System Regeneration

Novel strategies to enhance neurite outgrowth and axon regeneration are currently needed. 

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Book Chapter




Module Coordinator: BIOL6078 Structure and Function of the Nervous System
Module Co-Coordinator: BIOL1023 Cell and Tissue Histology
Module Co-Coordinator: Advanced Neuroscience

BIOL1011/1012 Systems Physiology
BIOL1023 Cell and Tissue Histology
BIOL2040 Neural Basis of Behaviour
BIOL6078 Structure and Function of the Nervous System

Project Supervisor:
BIOL3032 Literature-based Research Project
BIOL3058 Biobusiness
BIOL3066 Extended Science Communication
BIOL6011 Advanced Library Project
BIOL6013 Advanced Research Project

BIOL1020 Core Skills in the Life Sciences

Dr Melissa R Andrews
Biological Sciences
Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences
Life Sciences Building 85
University of Southampton
Highfield Campus
SO17 1BJ

Room Number : 85/3059

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