Understanding Cartilage Degradation in Osteoarthritis and Identifying New Biomarkers of Disease Progression
Dr. Ali Mobasheri
A Science Advisory Board Member Since 2004
Dr. Ali Mobasheri of The University of Nottingham is an Associate Professor .
Q: What is your professional title and what degree(s) do you hold?
AM:I am an Associate Professor and Reader in Comparative Physiology in the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science at the University of Nottingham1. A “Reader” is a unique academic post in the United Kingdom and is equivalent to an “Associate Professor” in North America.
Q: What does your organization/institution do?
AM: The University of Nottingham is often described as a “Global University”. The University of Nottingham was described as the 10th best university in the UK by the Shanghai Jiao Tong world rankings index, placed in the top one percent of all universities worldwide by the Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings 2009 and ranked 74th in the World by the QS World University Rankings2. Nottingham is affiliated with the Russell Group3, Universitas 214 and the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU5). In 2008 the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE6) carried out by the UK government confirmed Nottingham as the country’s 7th most powerful research university. Ninety percent of all research at Nottingham was described as being of 'international standard', with 60 percent classed as 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent'.
The School of Veterinary Medicine and Science is the newest, purpose-built veterinary school in the United Kingdom for over 50 years. It was established to make significant contributions to research and teaching within the context of companion animal, production animal and human health. Research is central to the activities of the vet school, both in terms of maintaining ourselves at the forefront of national and international efforts in veterinary medicine but also as an integral part of the training and education for undergraduate and postgraduate students. The vet school has a dynamic, vibrant and highly stimulating teaching and research environment, which is achieved through an international blend of students and researchers who are committed to innovative learning and scientific discovery.
The academic staff of the vet school work within 5 strategic research areas: Infection and Immunity; Population Health and Welfare; Comparative Medicine; Reproductive Biology and Veterinary Educational Research. Our research is closely aligned with that in the School of Biosciences with whom we share some research facilities and equipment. The involvement of our Clinical Associates and other organisations within our research programs enables the identification of clinical problems in the field and the rapid application of investigational science to these problems in both production and companion animal species.
In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science joint submission with the School of Biosciences was ranked first in the country for the power of its research with 95% of its activities classified at an international standard.
I am the head of the Musculoskeletal Research Group in the vet school and lead an active and productive research group focusing on various aspects of cartilage and tendon inflammation, stem cell biology and chondrocyte cell physiology. My research group is actively working within the “Comparative Medicine” research area in the vet school. My proven track record of professional achievement is backed up by over 120 primary publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals. I have published 12 book chapters and have another 8 submitted or in press.
I currently serve on the University of Nottingham’s Ethical Review Committee (ERC). I served as the Postgraduate Sub-Dean in the vet school from February 2007 to July 2011 and had responsibility for the development and implementation of postgraduate programmes in the school. I was also a member of the vet school's Research Directorate (now called Research Committee) from February 2007 to July 2011.
Q: Please elaborate on your educational background
AM: I was educated at primary and junior high school levels in Tehran from 1975 to 1983. I moved to the UK in 1983 and attended senior high school in South London. I attended Cannock School in Kent from 1983 to 1985 and later moved to Dulwich College in London from 1985-1987. I was admitted to Imperial College London where I studied Biochemistry from 1987-1990. I graduated from Imperial College with a Bachelor of Science degree (with Honors) in 1990. I then took up an Open Fellowship at the University of Toronto in Canada and completed a three-year Master's degree in Physiology and Biochemistry. In 1993 I returned to the UK to undertake doctoral level research funded by the Arthritis Research Campaign in Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Wolfson College Oxford. I graduated from the University of Oxford in March 1997. Shortly after completing my Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1997 I joined the School of Biosciences at the University of Westminster as a Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences. After three years in London I moved to the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Liverpool as Lecturer (2000-2005) and then Senior Lecturer (2005-2006) in Veterinary Biology. I joined the University of Nottingham in September 2006.
Q: Please elaborate on your professional background
AM: I have been active in several scientific societies including The Biochemical Society (UK), The Physiological Society (UK), The American Physiological Society, The Biophysical Society, The Orthopaedic Research Society, The British Society for Matrix Biology (BSMB) and the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI). Most of my current society involvement is in OARSI.
My contribution to veterinary research was recognized in 2004 when I was awarded the George Fleming prize, the highest award given by The Veterinary Journal (Elsevier) in recognition of research that has made the greatest contribution to scientific and veterinary knowledge.
I currently serve on the editorial boards of 12 International journals including Histology and Histopathology (Cellular and Molecular Biology7 ), The Veterinary Journal8, Journal of Applied Bioscience9, Recent Patents on Regenerative Medicine10 , Recent Patents on Biomarkers 11, Current Rheumatology Reviews 12, Biosensors 13, Alternative Medicine Studies14, Frontiers in Bioscience15, Frontiers in Physiology 16, World Journal of Stem Cells17, World Journal of Orthopaedics18 .
In June 2010 I was invited to edit a Special Issue on Veterinary Biomarkers for the Veterinary Journal and I am currently editing two Special Issues for Frontiers in Bioscience and Frontiers in Physiology.
Q: What are some of your academic and professional interests?
AM: My research interests are wide-ranging but I am mainly recognized for my work on the cellular physiology of articular cartilage as well as the study of membrane proteins such as aquaporins. I have extensive experience of international scientific collaboration. I have collaborators in Germany, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and the United States. I have had a number of studentships and project grants from Research Councils in the UK. I have also led projects in collaboration with industry. I have ongoing collaborations with industry in the UK (Mars ®, Melton Mowbray), Europe (Bioiberica SA) and the United States (Aviva Systems Biology, San Diego, California). I have collaborated with leading academic investigators in the area of cartilage cell biology in established international centres of excellence in Europe and the United States. I have contributed to the development of high quality research and teaching and provided professional consultancy services for healthcare, veterinary, diagnostics and pet food industries in the UK.
Committees I serve on:
I have been a member of the Communications Committee of the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) over the last 5 years and I have built an extensive network of academic and industrial researchers.
In 2011 I was appointed as a member of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council’s “Pool of Experts” to assist with the peer review of grant applications submitted for funding – this is rather like the roles fulfilled by individuals appointed to serve as members of NIH Study Sections.
My goal is to continue conducting internationally recognized research, contribute to the development of high quality teaching as well as professional consultancy services for healthcare, veterinary, diagnostics and agri-food industries.
Q: What are some of your outside interests?
AM: I run five miles three times a week to keep fit. I also enjoy cycling and swimming. I am passionate about world history and like to read books pertaining to world civilizations and how empires rise and fall. I am interested in the causes and consequences of political conflict and war and why the fallible human race does not seem to learn from history.
My favourite places to visit are the British Museum and the Natural History Museum in London. I like travelling and frequently combine international conferences with short breaks and cultural visits. Florida and California are my favourite travel destinations.
Q: Pease describe your motivations as to why you wanted to go into the scientific field -- what were your motivations or inspirations?
AM: My interest in the natural world combined with my curiosity about what makes up living things and how living cells work inspired and motivated me to follow a career in research. I love my work and spend a lot of my time doing microscopy. I hope that I will be able to do research after I retire.
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