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BSMS researcher awarded prestigious fellowship
A Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) has been awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship for her research into tendons.
Dr Rachael Stanley's research - to be carried out in Professor Darrell Evans' research group - considers why tendons are the Achilles' heel of the musculoskeletal system.
Healthy, fully functioning tendons are as important as the muscles and bones to which they attach, but tendons frequently struggle to repair correctly and often do not return to a fully functional state after injury.
Different tendons have different functions: flexor tendons such as the Achilles, act as biological springs and are prone to injury, whereas extensor tendons need to be strong but not as elastic and aren't frequently injured. Unravelling the differences between these two structures and their cell populations may lead us to understand the reasons why certain tendons are more prone to injury than others.
Rachael's fellowship will investigate whether cells from different tendons are formed from the same or similar cell population: Can tendon cells form tissue when placed into a different tendon? Do cells remember where they came from?
Her research also aims to understand the affects of certain drugs and treatments on different tendons during development.
Patients could benefit from increased understanding of these processes, for example through the development of treatments (such as the transplantation of particular tendon cells into injured tendons) to encourage recovery.
Rachael says: "The Leverhulme Trust invites applications from all disciplines and, as a result, fellowships are incredibly competitive.
"I was determined to successfully return to active research following maternity leave and this fellowship provides me with a fantastic opportunity to take my own research in a new dynamic direction.
"It will hopefully facilitate my progression towards becoming an independent researcher and academic in the field of musculoskeletal biology."