Staff Directory

About Claire Hills

My main area of research focuses predominantly on diabetic nephropathy, renal disease and gap junction mediated cell-to-cell communication in the diseased kidney. Specifically I am interested in how a loss of cell-to-cell communication may facilitate the progression of renal fibrosis through modulation of the extracellular matrix and disrupted cell-to-cell adhesion.  Other research projects include; understanding the role and regulation of ketamine in renal and bladder fibrosis. Career Summary 1998-2001   BSc Medical Bioscience, University of Kent (1st class) 2001-2002   Project Scientist, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, (Kent). 2002-2006   PhD Molecular Physiology, University of Warwick 2006-2009   PDRA, Department of Infection, Immunity & Inflammation, University of Leicester. 2009-2011   Wellcome Trust VIP Research Fellow, School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick 2011-2013   Research Fellow University of Warwick 2013-2014   Senior Research Fellow, University of Warwick 2014- 2016  Senior Research Fellow, University of Lincoln 2016 -2017  Senior Lecturer, University of Lincoln 2017-           Reader, University of Lincoln RESEARCH PROFILE Diabetic Nephropathy: In collaboration with Professor Squires we are interested in several aspect of glucose and TGF-beta induced renal damage in diabetes. Almost one third of all patients with diabetes progressively develop diabetic nephropathy (DN) within 10-to-30 years of the onset of disease and DN accounts for almost a quarter of those entering end-stage renal replacement programs in the UK. However, we still lack a basic understanding of this debilitating condition. Current dogma implicates the cytokine transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta;) as the predominant mediator of tubulointerstitial fibrosis, the common final pathway in DN and end-stage renal disease. Understanding the mechanism by which TGF-beta instigates phenotypic and morphological changes is essential in establishing novel therapeutic strategies for the prevention or arrest of the disease. Our studies aim to elucidate how TGF-beta; disrupts cell-adhesion, cell-cell communication and renal function in DN. The work is funded by Diabetes UK, the EFSD, DRWF, the Physiological Society and the WPH Charitable Trust.

Department Responsibilities

Joint Programme Lead for the Master in Biosciences (MBio) 4th year programme Module Lead on Health and Disease (BMS1071M) Module Lead on MBio Research techniques (BIO9018M)

Subject Specialism

Diabetes and Endocrinology

Qualifications

  • PhD Molecular Physiology — Department of Biological Sciences, University of Warwick, 2006
  • BSc (HONS) Biochemistry & Medical Sciences (1st) — Department of Biological Sciences, University of Kent, 2001

Awards

  • The Physiological Society — Joan Mott Prize Lecture,
  • EFSD/Boehringer Ingelheim Research Award — European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes,
  • Physiological Society Award — The Physiological Society,
  • EFSD/Janssen Kidney Award — European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes,
  • Medical and Life Science Research Fund Bursary Award — Medical and Life Science Research Fund, West Midlands,
  • EFSD/Lilly Research Fellowship — European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes,
  • EFSD/Janssen Kidney Award — European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes,
  • Wellcome Trust VIP Fellowship — Kings College London,
  • Nick Hales Young Investigator Award — Diabetes UK,
  • Wellcome Trust VIP Fellowship — University of Warwick,
  • Wellcome Trust VIP Fellowship — University of Warwick,
  • Wellcome Trust VIP Fellowship — University of Leicester,
  • European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) Travel Award — European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) Travel Award,

Consultancy

MEMBERSHIP OF LEARNED SOCIETIES Member of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes Member of Diabetes UK Member of the Physiological Society Member of Society for Endocrinology RESEARCH RELATED ACTIVITIES Abstract reviewer for the British Renal Association. Manuscript reviewer for numerous kidney and diabetes journals including Diabetolgia, PLOS, American Journal of Nephrology, Molecular Endocrinology, JASN

Orcid ID

0000-0001-8917-2666

Research Interests

  • Diabetic nephropathy

  • Gap Junctions

  • Renal Fibrosis

  • Renal Transplantation

Research Projects

  • Diabetes UK grant entitled 'The role of heterotypic cell-to-cell communication in mediating inflammation and fibrosis in the diabetic kidney' — Diabetes UK in 2019
  • Diabetes and Research Wellness Foundation (DRWF) award entitled Cx43 Mediated Regulation Of The Inflammasome, A Therapeutic Target In Diabetic Nephropathy — Diabetes and Research Wellness Foundation (DRWF) in 2018
  • EFSD/Boehringer Ingelheim Research Programme in Microvascular Complications of Diabetes — The European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes (EFSD) in 2017
  • Diabetes UK grant entitled “Understanding how remodeling of the ECM and altered cell-substrate interactions facilitate progression of tubulointerstitial fibrosis” — Diabetes UK in 2017
  • Diabetes UK Early Career Grant entitled ‘ECM remodelling and connexin mediated cell communication in the diabetic kidney’ — Diabetes UK in 2017
  • Diabetes UK Project Grant entitled “Determination of a role for connexin mediated cell communication in the progression of renal fibrosis in the diabetic kidney” — Diabetes UK in 2017
  • Physiological Society Research Grant entitled   “United we stand, divided we fall: glucose, TGF-beta and connexin mediated cell-communication in the diabetic kidney” — The Physiological Society in 2016
  • Diabetes and Research Wellness Foundation (DRWF) grant entitled, “Does reorganisation of the extracellular matrix promote glucose induced fibrosis in diabetic nephropathy” — Diabetes and Research Wellness Foundation (DRWF) in 2015
  • European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes (EFSD)/Janssen Kidney award entitled “The role of the extracellular matrix and cell-substrate interactions in human proximal tubule cells ” — The European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes (EFSD) in 2015
  • Nigerian Petroleum Technology Development Fund grant “Understanding the bioscience of cell-adhesion and membrane dynamics that underpin health” — Nigerian Petroleum Technology Development Fund in 2015
  • Warwick Private Hospital (WPH) Charitable Trust grant “Does reorganisation of the extracellular matrix promote a loss of phenotypic stability in diabetic nephropathy?” — Warwick Private Hospital Charitable Trust in 2014
  • Diabetes UK Project grant entitled, “AFM single-cell force spectroscopy: determining the functional role of cell-cell adhesion and membrane dynamics in diabetes” — Diabetes UK in 2013
  • Medical and Life Science Research Fund Bursary Award entitled “Does reorganisation of theExtracellular Matrix promote Cyclosporin A-induced renal fibrosis” — Medical and Life Science Research Fund in 2013
  • Research Development Fund entitled “Cyclosporin A and fibrosis: implications for graft survival” — University of Warwick in 2013
  • Rosetree Foundation grant entitled “Special K and urological complications of ketamine abuse”. — Rosetree Trust in 2013
  • Warwick Private Hospital (WPH) Charitable Trust grant entitled, “The importance of cell-to-cell contact in diabetic nephropathy: identifying potential novel targets for therapeutic intervention” — Warwick Private Hospital Charitable Trust in 2012
  • European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes /Lilly Fellowship — European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes in 2011
  • European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes (EFSD)/Janssen award — European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes in 2011
  • Diabetes UK Project grant entitled, “Effect of TGF-beta on connexin-mediated      signalling”  — Diabetes UK in 2011
  • Strategic Research Development Award, entitled, “maintenance of E-cadherin, cell     adhesion and cell coupling in diabetic nephropathy” — University of Warwick in 2010
  • Diabetes and Research Wellness Foundation (DRWF) award entitled, “a role for     C-peptide in alleviating diabetic nephropathy” — Diabetes and Research Wellness Foundation in 2010
  • Wellcome Trust Value in People Fellowship — Wellcome Trust in 2010
  • Wellcome Trust Value in People Fellowship — Wellcome Trust in 2009

Research in the Lincoln Repository