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Sarah Snelling

MBiochem DPhil

Associate Professor

  • Senior Scientific Officer, NIHR Biomedical Research Centre Musculoskeletal theme
  • Director of DPhil and MSc(Res) Taught Courses


Sarah received an MBiochem from the department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford before moving to the Botnar Research Centre, NDORMS to pursue a DPhil in the genetics and functionality of osteoarthritis.

In 2009 Sarah was awarded an Arthritis Research UK Foundation Fellowship at the University of East Anglia. Sarah returned to NDORMS in 2012 as an Arthritis Research UK Career Progression Fellow. During her fellowship Sarah identified  interrogated the in vitro and in vivo role of the Wnt antagonist Dickkopf-3 (Dkk3) in osteoarthritis pathogenesis. During this time Sarah's collaborative work with Professor Andrew Carr identified inflammatory and fibrotic pathways dysregulated in osteoarthritis and tendinopathy, and characterised cell response to biomaterial scaffolds for cartilage and tendon regeneration. 

In 2016 Sarah was appointed as a Senior Research Fellow at NDORMS and became the academic lead for a programme of research focusing on the interaction of cells with biomaterials. In 2017 she became the Senior Scientific Officer for the Musculoskeletal theme of the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre where she manages interactions with other themes and is responsible for scientific reporting of the Musculoskeletal theme. Sarah is also the Director of taught courses for DPhil and MSc(Res) students at NDORMS. 

Research Summary

Osteoarthritis and tendinopathy are characterised by inflammation and fibrosis. Sarah continues to interrogate and characterise the signalling mediators driving these diseases.

When musculoskeletal soft tissues including tendon become critically damaged by disease or injury surgery is often the only option. Despite improvements in surgical techniques it is common for repairs to fail either structurally or biologically. Implantable scaffolds provide a promising strategy to mechanically strengthen surgical repairs whilst providing cues that guide cell behaviour. Sarah's work characterises the response of endogenous cells to implantable scaffolds. The overarching aim of this research is to use these scaffolds to modify inflammation, potentiate resolution and drive successful, non-fibrotic repair of soft tissues including tendon.

Sarah's main collaborators within the department are Dr Pierre-Alexis MouthuyProfessor Andrew Carr and Dr Adam Cribbs

Key publications

Recent publications

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