Photo of Professor Mandy Peffers

Professor Mandy Peffers BSc(Hons)MPhil PhD BVetMed FRCVS

Head of Department Musculoskeletal Ageing Sciences Musculoskeletal & Ageing Science


    Personal Statement

    After a degree in Animal Science at the University of Leeds, I undertook my veterinary degree at The Royal Veterinary College, University of London and qualified as a veterinarian in 1995. I then spent 11 years in industry and private practice before going back to do a PhD supported by the Wellcome Trust. I first undertook a one-year Wellcome Trust Veterinary Research Entry Fellowship before becoming an Wellcome Trust Integrated Veterinary Training Fellow. The first three years of funding were for a PhD entitle Proteomic and transcriptomic signatures of cartilage ageing and diesaese. The next three years of the fellowship were in a post doctoral role in which I studied a ‘A Systems Biology Approach to Musculoskeletal Ageing’. I am currently a Wellcome Trust Clinical Intermediate Fellow studying ‘The role of small nucleolar RNAs in cartilage ageing and disease’. My research group studies the epigenetics of musculoskeletal ageing and disease in man, dogs and horses. The 'Peffers Lab' consists currently of PhD students, post doctoral research associates and a masters students. We also accept visiting students and scientists from all levels of research from undergraduates to principle investigators.

    Alzbeta Chabronova
    Alzbeta studied Molecular and Cell Biology at Palacky University in the Czech republic. After obtaining her Master of Science, she briefly worked as a Laboratory Technician and Research Assistant at the Dept. of Pathological Physiology, Palacky University Hospital. She was involved in the research on expression levels of circulating miRNAs in patients with pulmonary sarcoidosis and in connection to smoking. In May 2018 she enrolled as a PhD student at the Laboratory for Experimental Orthopaedics at Maastricht University in the Netherlands under the supervision of Prof. dr. Lodewijk van Rhijn, Prof. dr. Tim J.M. Welting and Dr. Guus G.H. van den Akker. During her PhD, she investigated the roles of non-coding RNAs (snoRNAs, ribosomal RNAs), ribosome heterogeneity & specialization and translation (de)regulation in osteoarthritis. Now, as a postdoctoral researcher at UOL, she will investigate the roles of snoRNAs in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in collaboration with Chris Denning’s group from the University of Nottingham and the group of James Smith of the University of East Anglia.

    Emily Clarke
    Emily obtained a first class BSc Bioveterinary Science at the University of Chester prior to completing a master of research at the University of Liverpool exploring prospective metabolomic biomarkers of equine osteoarthritis using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy metabolomics. In October 2020 Emily started a PhD supervised by Professor Mandy Peffers investigating the role of extracellular vesicles in equine musculoskeletal pathologies and associated regenerative therapies. During this time Emily gained experience in a range of omic techniques including mass spectrometry proteomics, and gained experience in a number of laboratories including the Wauben Lab at Utrecht University. Emily has a keen interest in cell-free regenerative therapeutics and one medicine approaches to research. Now, as a post doctoral research at the University of Liverpool Emily is focussing on the development of suitable in vitro models for veterinary orthopaedic research, supported by the Horserace Betting Levy Board, with planned secondments to the lab of Dr Mario Rothbauer at the Medical University of Vienna.

    Haifa Majali - Funded by Government of Saudi Arabia The Research and Development Track;2024-2027; SnoRNA dysregulation is a driver of chondrocyte ageing and contributes to osteoarthritis

    Haifa Majali completed her undergraduate studies at King Abdul-Aziz University (KSA), College of Biological Sciences, prior to pursuing a MSc in Molecular Medicine at the University of Reading. During her master's program, she collaborated with Dr. Chris Jones on research focusing on the characteristics of thrombus size and density at different shear rates. Currently, Haifa is pursuing a Ph.D. supervised by Professor Mandy Peffers in the Department of Musculoskeletal Ageing Science at the University of Liverpool. Her research investigates how dysregulation of small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) contributes to chondrocyte ageing and the development of osteoarthritis. Her project aims to determine the extent to which dysregulated snoRNAs influence the progression of osteoarthritis by studying their effects on chondrocyte phenotype, extracellular matrix remodeling, and joint tissue integrity. Moreover, Haifa's research efforts may identify potential therapeutic targets pertaining to snoRNA dysregulation in chondrocyte aging and osteoarthritis.

    Anders Jensen - Dunhill Medical Trust; October 2021 - October 2024; Investigation of age-related changes within the extracellular matrix of dental tissues.

    Anders is a recent graduate from the University of Liverpool, where he obtained a first class MBiolSci in Biochemistry. During his Masters research, he focused on studying the endocytic receptor LRP-1 and its interaction with extracellular ligands. Building on this research, Anders is now pursuing a PhD that aims to identify protein changes associated with ageing in various dental tissues, including enamel, dentin, cementum, periodontal ligament, and pulp. He plans to use Mass spectrometry proteomics to provide an overall protein profile of these tissues, comparing samples from young and old patients. The ultimate goal of his research is to identify biomarkers of the aged tooth, which could help explain why dental diseases are more common in older individuals and lead to the development of novel therapeutic strategies. In addition to his PhD research, Anders is also involved in active research on specific dental diseases in animals, such as EOTRH in horses and FORL in cats.

    Mary Hines- – MRC DiMeN Recipient 2022-2026; Taking the Bait: Exploiting New Tools to Capture, Identify, and Visualise Active Proteinases in Osteoarthritic Cartilage Destruction

    Mary obtained a BSc in Biology from Georgetown College in the United States. She went on to receive a Masters of Research at University College Dublin, working with Dr. Emmeline Hill and equine genomics company, PlusVital, to investigate gene selection signatures in Irish and French Thoroughbred populations. Her PhD aims to characterize the development of osteoarthritis by investigating serine proteinases and their role in osteoarthritic cartilage destruction. Her project also aims to use novel activity-based probes to visualize active serine proteinases in both cell culture and animal models. This will be achieved using mass spectrometry and in-vivo imaging and commercially available activity-based probes, with the possibility of creating novel activity-based probes through chemical engineering. She aims to identify active serine proteinases and their roles in osteoarthritic cartilage destruction in an effort to inform future scientific research and create effective therapeutic methods targeting the development of osteoarthritis in humans and animals.

    Priyanka Mehra- Funded by DiMeN DTP 2022-2026: Novel drugs to target fibroadipogenic precursor differentiation into adipocytes in Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

    Priyanka holds a bachelor’s in biotechnology from Amity University, and a master’s in biotechnology from Regional Centre for Biotechnology, India.

    Priyanka is a first year PhD student working at the John Walton Muscular Dystrophy Research Centre at Newcastle University. Her research aims to identify novel drug which could target the fibroadipogenic progenitors (FAPs) differentiation to adipocytes, thereby reducing the degenerative process of fibro-fatty infiltration in muscular dystrophies. She is studying the effect of these drugs in the FAPs obtained from patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and control individuals. In addition, with this experimental approach, Priyanka will test the drug in a genetically modified, mouse model of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, assess functionality (in vivo) and the effects of the drugs (ex vivo). UThis will allow us to do a prescreening to identify potential downstream effect of the drugs on the epigenome, as well as differences on the epigenetic profile of the disease.

    Abigail Jones – Versus Arthritis 2022-2025: Transcriptomic, Proteomic and Bioinformatics Analyses of Cell-Based Therapies for Cartilage Injuries in Humans

    Abi is a current PhD student working at Keele University and The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital. She will be performing a bioinformatics analysis on transcriptomic and proteomic data obtained from cells in the autologous stem cell, chondrocyte or the two (ASCOT) clinical trial. The aim is to identify a set of genes and proteins which are differentially expressed between the different treatment groups in the ASCOT trial which can highlight specific biological pathways involved, with the hope to understand the mechanisms responsible for the effects of each transplanted cell population, and ultimately identify a molecular profile(s) that can help predict clinical efficacy.