Photo of Professor Mandy Peffers

Professor Mandy Peffers BSc(Hons)MPhil PhD BVetMed FRCVS

Wellcome Trust Clinical Intermediate Fellow 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.



    Aibek Smagul, Kazakhstan President's Bolashak Scholarship Program 2016-2020; ‘Cartilage transcriptomic and proteomic zonal changes in osteoarthritis and ageing’

    Aibek graduated from al-Farabi Kazakh National University with an MSc in Engineering. During his study at the University he worked at the Kazakh National Medical University as a research scientist in genomic core. His interests are research in the field of ageing and chronic diseases. In the framework of his PhD work he will examine how gene expression and protein profile is affected by age and chronic disease at different regions of cartilage. Equine tissue samples, obtained from different aged horses will be used alongside human tissue that can be obtained with accurate diagnosis of pathology.

    Kiran Rissat-'Epigenetic changes in tendon ageing'. This CIMA funded PhD is being undertaken in collaboration with Simon Cockel and Carol Proctor at Newcastle University

    Kiran obtained her bachelor’s degree in Biomedical science at Keele university, after which she went on to study Cell and tissue engineering (MSc) at Keele university.
    Kirans PhD project identifies the epigenetic changes seen as a consequence of ageing, in human tendon.

    Catarina Castanheira- Horse Trust funded; Small non-coding RNAs to diagnose and treat equine osteoarthritis

    Catarina undertook an integrated masters in veterinary medicine at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Lisbon. She graduated in 2017 after completing her masters dissertation on the impact of sex in the incidence of neonatal sepsis in horses. She then undertook an equine internship in Wales, followed by a small period of equine ambulatory work in Shropshire before starting her PhD at Liverpool. During her PhD, Catarina aims to determine the small non-coding RNA profile of equine synovial fluid and serum in order to identify horses with early osteoarthritis, stratify equine osteoarthritis into disease subtypes and ultimately identify targets for treatment.

    Emily Clarke- self funded 2020- 2023; Exploring mechanisms of biological therapies used for tendon injury repair and osteoarthritis in the horse.

    Emily obtained a first class BSc Bioveterinary Science from the University of Chester. Emily then undertook a Masters of Research at the University of Liverpool, focusing on prospective metabolomic biomarkers of equine osterarthritis.
    Her PhD aims to characterise the mechanisms of Mesenchymal Stem Cell therapy (MSC) by investigating extracellular vesicle cargo and the MSC secretome. The secretome of platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy will also be probed. This will be done using Mass Spectrometry Proteomics and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Metabolomics. We hope this may provide evidence supporting the production of a safer, alternative therapy (to MSC therapy) to treat OA and tendon diseases in equines. The effect of age on these autologous therapies will also be investigated, allowing the development of effective clinical guidelines for using such treatments.

    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.