Our Team Members
Melissa Bowerman, Ph.D.
Dr Bowerman is a Lecturer in Bioscience at the School of Medicine, a Group Leader at the Institute for Science and Technology in Medicine and a Group Member of the Wolfson Centre for Inherited Neuromuscular Disease in Oswestry. Dr Bowerman is also a principal investigator in the UK SMA Research Consortium. Dr Bowerman is also a member of the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA) Biomedical Research Advisory Panel (2018-present) and a member of the editorial board of Brain Sciences (2019-present).
Dr Bowerman completed her Ph.D. (2006-2012) in Dr Rashmi Kothary's laboratory (Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI)/University of Ottawa, Canada) where she held a CIHR Frederick Banting and Charles Best doctoral award and received the OHRI Dr. Ronald G. Worton Researcher in Training Award. Dr Bowerman then joined Dr Cedric Raoul's laboratory at the Institut des Neurosciences de Montpellier in France as an EMBO Long-Term Fellow (2012-2014). From 2014-2016, Dr Bowerman was a postdoctoral research assistant at the University of Oxford in Prof Matthew Wood's group. In October 2015, Dr Bowerman was the recipient of a Junior Research Fellowship at Somerville College, University of Oxford (2015-2017). In January 2016, Dr Bowerman was awarded and SMA Trust Career Development Fellowship at the University of Oxford.
Emma Sutton, M.Phil., Ph.D. Candidate
Emma set out as an undergraduate student at Keele University in 2014 studying a B.Sc. in Neuroscience with Psychology, achieving 1st class Hons. Continuing her research at Keele, Emma took on a yearlong M.Phil., studying the effects of Omega-3 Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) on neuroblastoma, breast and prostate cancer cell lines. This involved in depth research into the mechanisms of DHA and the receptors (GPR40, iPLA2, RxR) it acts on, using cell culture of clonal cells as well as viability assays including MTT and trypan exclusion cell counts. Emma has decided to continue her studies at Keele University in the Bowerman lab on Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), an area she is highly passionate about. Her Ph.D. will involve examining the therapeutic potential of Mifepristone for the treatment of SMA, alone and in combination with an SMN-dependant gene therapy.
Joe Hoolachan, M.Sc., Ph.D. Candidate
Joe Hoolachan is a Ph.D. student in the Bowerman lab at Keele University and a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the School of Medicine. His main background in molecular genetics stems from a B.Sc. (Hons) Genetics degree (University of Manchester, 2017), later followed by an M.Sc. in Functional and Comparative Genomics (University of Liverpool, 2018). In the Bowerman lab, Joe’s project is focused on using bioinformatics and lab-based validation to determine pathways that combinational therapeutics can target to alleviate muscle degradation in SMA patients.
Zeluleko Sibanda, B.A., Aspire Summer Studentship
Zeluleko Sibanda is a second year medical student at the Keele University School of Medicine. In 2017, she graduated with a Neuroscience degree from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania (B.A. 2013 – 2017). During her undergraduate degree, she conducted a research project investigating courtship conditioning models in Drosophila melanogaster (2015). Her senior thesis investigated the neurobiological basis of aggression using D. melanogaster as a model organism (2017). In the Bowerman lab, Zelu’s project is focused on defining the role of brown adipose tissue (BAT) in SMA pathogenesis. Zelu is a recipient of an Aspire Summer Studentship from the Keele University School of Medicine.
Magnus Okoh, B.Sc., Summer Student
Magnus Okoh is a 2nd year medical student at the Keele University School of Medicine. In 2014, Magnus obtained a B.Sc. in Physiological Sciences from the University of Sunderland, achieving a 1st class Hons. Magnus has a broad interest in both clinical and academic medicine and hopes to be actively involved in clinical research throughout his medical career. In the Bowerman lab, Magnus will be researching the potential therapeutic benefits of prednisolone in treating SMA.
Past Members and their current pastures:
Karin Meijboom (2014-2018), Ph.D., currently at University of Massachussets
Nina Ahlskog (2017-2018), M.Sc., currently at University of Oxford