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Personal profile


Joe received an MSci degree in chemistry with first-class honors from Imperial College, completing project work under Prof. Richard Templer on the phase changes of liquid crystals. He then continued his studies in the USA and was an awarded a PhD in chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 2008. His thesis explored the re-engineering of ferritin proteins to act as scaffolds for nanoparticle formation, work undertaken with the guidance of Prof. Ivan Dmochowski. Joe then stayed in Philadelphia to work with Prof. Dennis Discher, developing proteomic methods to study the nucleoskeletal lamin proteins and their roles in mechanotransduction. In 2014, he was awarded a BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship to develop his own program of research at the University of Manchester.

Research interests

Healthy cell behaviour is dependent on signaling from the cellular environment. Stem cells, for example, can interpret matrix stiffness queues in deciding whether to differentiate or remain quiescent. Cells in mature tissue must also be appropriately regulated to meet the mechanical demands of their surroundings, with cells in active tissue requiring more robust cellular structures in the cytoskeleton and nucleus. How cells receive and decipher mechanical inputs, by feeling the compliance of their surroundings or by being subject to deformation, is a key area of research in the field of mechanobiology. My laboratory is interested in how these physical inputs are transmitted from matrix to cell and how they are transduced into molecular signaling in the nucleus. We are also keen to understand how these pathways change during the ageing process, when our tissues stiffen and cellular capacity to repair and regenerate is diminished. These problems will be tackled using an unique ‘-omics’ toolkit for mechanobiology, allowing the study of protein regulation, changes in protein-protein interactions and mechanically-sensitive changes in protein conformation.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Regenerative Medicine Network


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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