Professor Richard OC Oreffo holds the chair of Musculoskeletal Science, is co-founder and was the inaugural Director of the Centre for Human Development, Stem Cells and Regeneration at the University of Southampton.
He has held positions in USA, AstraZeneca, and University of Oxford before being appointed to a lectureship in 1999 at the University of Southampton. Richard leads a multidisciplinary research group focused on developing strategies to repair bone & cartilage with translation through to patient benefit a personal key driver. His research led to the first 3D titanium bone stem cell impaction graft operation in the UK.
He has developed teams of clinicians and biomedical scientists transcending traditional disciplinary boundaries with a holistic approach to generate clinical impact. Richard has trained over 50 MD and PhD interdisciplinary scientists since 2002 and, published over 350 peer-reviewed papers including breakthrough publications on skeletal stem cells, osteoarthritis and bone regeneration and holds 7 patents.
In 2015 he was awarded a Doctor of Science by the University of Oxford in bone regenerative medicine. He is founder / CSO of Renovos Biologics Limited. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.
In June 2020, he founded the Cowrie Scholarship Foundation, a partnership with universities, business and donors to enable 100 disadvantaged Black British students attend UK universities in the next decade.
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.
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. This involves drawing together the elements of:
- Skeletal stem cell enrichment using Single-cell RNA Sequence Analysis of Human Bone Marrow using Spherical Nucleic Acids;
- Harnessing multimodal non-invasive imaging modalities (RS, CARS, TPF) for musculoskeletal disease assessment (Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis);
- Progenitor cell differentiation (specifically the control of skeletal stem/progenitor cell differentiation and plasticity);
- Generation of osteoconductive and inductive smart scaffold/materials (including the use of natural biomimetic environments and self -assembling scaffolds with appropriate extracellular matrix cues);
- Growth factor biology and angiogenesis to examine tissue regeneration/repair.
- Application of osteotropic agents in an attempt to modulate the phenotype of the skeletal stem cell to generate mineralised bone tissue;
- Translation from bench to clinic – we have pioneered translational application of cell-scaffold composites in skeletal disease culminating in the first 3D printed titanium scaffold-bone stem cell impaction bone graft in the UK.
Innovative technologies 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.
Current PhD Students
External roles and responsibilities
Richard Oreffo holds the chair of Musculoskeletal Science is co-founder and was the inaugural Director of the Centre for Human Development, Stem Cells and Regeneration. He has held positions in USA, AstraZeneca, and University of Oxford before being appointed to a lectureship in 1999 at the University of Southampton. Richard is internationally recognised for his work on skeletal biology and the mechanisms involved in skeletal stem cell differentiation and bone regeneration.
"I am particularly interested in the application of bone stem cells and regenerative medicine strategies for the repair and regeneration of damaged skeletal tissue. We have the potential to make a difference through collaborative teams here at the University of Southampton to treat devastating bone conditions."
Richard completed his DPhil at the MRC Bone Research laboratory in Oxford on skeletal cell biology and his post-doctoral training in San Antonio, Texas, USA under Professor Greg Mundy on bone remodelling. For over 20 years, he has lead a multidisciplinary research group focused on developing strategies to repair bone & cartilage with translation through to patient benefit a personal key driver. 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. Richard has successfully trained over 53 PhD and MD students since 2002 and, as of 2020, directly supervises/co-supervises 9 MD/PhD Graduate Fellows.
Richard manages a significant research grant portfolio, has published over 350 peer-reviewed full papers (H-index 73; >19,500 citations ISI WoS), including breakthrough publications on skeletal stem cells and nanotopography, bone regeneration as well as epigenetics in Osteoarthritis, in Nature Materials, ACS Nano, Stem Cells, Arthritis & Rheumatism; holds 7 patents and is co-editor of “Epigenetic aspects of Chronic Diseases” Highly Commended in 2012 BMA Medical Book Awards.
He serves / has served on a number of Research Council Committees, Industrial committees and international advisory boards and holds a number of visiting professorships in Australia and Asia. His research led to the first 3D titanium bone stem impaction graft operation in the UK. He is founder / CSO of Renovos Biologics Limited; a spin-out from the University of Southampton. Richard is on the editorial boards of five journals, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, a Fellow of International Orthopaedic Research and in 2015 was awarded a DSc by the University of Oxford. Richard has also been elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.
- Fellow of International Orthopaedic Research (FIOR) (2019)
- DSc (2016)
- Raine Visiting Professorship (2014)
- Adjunct Chair, School of Biomedical Sciences (2018)
- Visiting and Adjunct Senior Professor (2020) (2015)
- Visiting Professor (2015)
- Senior Enterprise award (2014)
- Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (2022)