Dr Vanja Pekovic-Vaughan BSc, PhD, FHEA

Senior Lecturer in Circadian & Musculoskeletal Physiology; Science of Medicine Theme Lead (School of Medicine) Musculoskeletal & Ageing Science


Personal Statement

Dr Vanja Pekovic-Vaughan is a Senior Lecturer in Circadian & Musculoskeletal Physiology in the Department of Musculoskeletal and Ageing Sciences and a Science of Medicine Theme Lead in the School of Medicine, Institute of Lifecourse and Medical Sciences (ILCAMs) at the University of Liverpool (UoL). She is currently an Academic Lead for Research & Impact for the Department of Musculoskeletal & Ageing Sciences and also serves on the ILCAMs Research Strategy Group and Ethics Committees. She gained a BSc (Hon) in Human Genetics (Leeds University, UK) and a PhD in Molecular & Cellular Biology of Ageing (Durham University, UK). She undertook postdoctoral training in several of the UK’s leading laboratories (Universities of Newcastle, Durham, Manchester, KCL) before being awarded a prestigious Welcome Trust Tenure-Track Fellowship at UoL, investigating the role of cellular ageing and redox signalling in inherited human diseases and their temporal regulation by the cellular time-keeping mechanism, the circadian clock.

Dr Pekovic-Vaughan's laboratory is pursuing an interdisciplinary research spanning molecular biology, in vivo physiology, pharmacology and mathematical modelling to investigate the role of redox signalling and circadian rhythms in normal physiological processes from stem cell differentiation to cellular responses to stress as well as how their misalignment contributes to chronic age-related conditions (e.g. sarcopenia, lung fibrosis, chronic wounds, cardiac disease) and human inherited diseases (e.g. Collagen VI myopathies, Laminopathies, Peripheral neuropathies, Systemic Sclerosis, Marfan Syndrome and Fabry Disease). We are also actively studying the potential of utilizing chronotherapy in smarter drug repurposing (e.g. antiviral candidates in post-COVID, novel retinoic acid based candidates for neuromuscular ageing). The research programme is Dr Pekovic-Vaughan's group’s is funded through UKRI (MRC, BBSRC, EPSRC), Welcome Trust, RoseTrees Trust, Muscular Dystrophy (MD) UK, Dowager Eleanor Peel Trust, Age UK, Newton Fund, The Royal Society and CIMA.

Dr Pekovic-Vaughan serves as a UoL Network Coordinator on an ECMage (ExtraCellular Matrix Ageing) Operational Group, a BBSRC/MRC interdisciplinary UK Ageing national network (UKAnet) for Ageing across Life Course (https://www.ukanet.org.uk/ec-mage). She is an international collaborating partner on a REFRAME project investigating 'Redox and Metabolic Reprogramming of Cancer and associated Adipose Tissue' led by Prof Bato Korac (Uo Belgrade). Currently, she serves as a Managing Scientific Editor for Elsevier publishers (Redox Biology) and as a Review Editor for IUBMB publishers (BioFactors) and Elsevier (JCCS). She has recently joined the Biochemical Society Committee Research Area VI – Biological Systems. She is a UoL member of the MRC/Versus Arthritis Centre for Integrated Research into Musculoskeletal Ageing (CIMA), collaboration between researchers and clinicians at the UK Universities of Liverpool, Sheffield and Newcastle (https://www.cimauk.org).

We encourage prospective PhD students to get in touch about self-funded/funded PhD opportunities. We are also happy to hear from and provide support to Commonwealth and CSC (China Scholarship Council) PhD scholarship applicants as well as Marie Curie pre-doctoral and post-doctoral fellowship applicants.

Keywords: Circadian Rhythms, Chronotherapy/Drug Metabolism, Ageing/Senescence, Stem Cells/Tissue Regeneration, Redox Signalling/NRF2, Extracellular Matrix/Fibrosis/Wound healing, Chronic lung disease, Muscular dystrophy, Systemic Sclerosis