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Dr Stephen R Clark 


Biography

Career Profile

  • 2014 – Cardiff University (Cardiff, UK) Lecturer in Immunopharmacology, School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • 2007 – Cardiff University (Cardiff, UK) Research Fellow, School of Medicine
  • 2004 – University of Calgary (Calgary, Canada) Post-doctoral Researcher

Background

I have always been interested in basic science that has direct relevance to human diseases.  In the course of my PhD at the University of Wales College of Medicine I studied innate immune cell regulation of nitric oxide signalling in cardiovascular disease.

During my post-doctoral training at the University of Calgary, Alberta, I investigated the interaction of platelets with neutrophils during systemic infection.  This work was the first to show that neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) could be formed within the vasculature to ensnare circulating bacteria during sepsis.

In July 2007 I returned to the UK and was recruited to the School of Medicine at Cardiff University through a Wellcome Trust Value in People Award.  This allowed me to prepare successful applications for independent fellowships based on my own research ideas (British Lung Foundation Research Fellowship and a Marie Curie Fellowship).  In collaboration with Prof Sailesh Kotecha in Child Health, I investigated innate responses by studying bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and cord blood from new-born babies with chronic lung disease of prematurity (CLD).  

With Prof Valerie O’Donnell, I learned state-of-the-art lipidomic techniques to “fish” for neutrophil 5-lipoxygenase derived eicosanoids attached to larger complex functional groups.  In this way, a family of phospholipids that contained a 5-HETE were identified and structurally characterised.  These novel lipid mediators are formed by neutrophils following contact with bacteria and are present in models of peritonitis and in samples from patients with peritonitis.  They act to regulate NETs by inhibiting NET formation.  NETs are important in antimicrobial defence, but their formation occurs at the expense of tissue injury.  Regulation of NETs may be an anti-inflammatory or protective activity of these novel lipids.

Recently, I was involved in developing a new way to measure externalisation of anionic phospholipids (PS and PE) by monitoring the biotinylated derivatives of these lipids by HPLC-MS/MS,  This has certain advantages over annexin V binding (which measures the sum of PS and PE) as this new technique can determine the lipid class, the specific molecular species (eg the composition of the fatty-acid side chains) and the amount of each lipid present (quantitative).

With Gavin Wilkinson, I have also investigated the role of innate immune cells including NK cells, dendritic cells and neutrophils in cytomegalovirus infection.

In 2014, I took up my present post as a Lecturer in Immunopharmacology at the School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, Cardiff University.