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Dr Dan Sillence

Job: Reader in Cell Biology

Faculty: Health and Life Sciences

School/department: Leicester School of Pharmacy

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH.

T: +44 (0)116 2576368




Personal profile

The Glycosphingolipid (GSL) storage diseases are a group of diseases where GSLs accumulate in tissues due to a defect in their lysosomal breakdown. GSL storage diseases have varying degrees of central nervous system involvement and in Tay-Sachs and Sandhoff diseases the neuropathology is very severe and frequently lethal in early infancy.

How lysosomal storage of GSL causes such severe neuropathology is not known at present. A strategy that can be applied to treat these diseases is substrate deprivation.

This approach aims to balance the rate of GSL biosynthesis with the impaired rate of catabolism, thus preventing accumulation of GSLs. Two imino sugar inhibitors of Glucosylceramide synthase, which catalyses the first step in GSL synthesis.

How does the storage of lipids lead to disease?

What are the normal functions of the lipids that accumulate?

Research group affiliations


Publications and outputs 

Click here for a full listing of Dan Sillence‘s publications and outputS.

Research interests/expertise

  • Sphingolipid cell biology
  • Lysosomal storage diseases.

Areas of teaching

  • Cell Biology
  • Pharmacology


BSc PhD (Biochemistry, Dundee)

Courses taught

  • Cell Biology and Physiology
  • Pharmacology

Honours and awards

Peter Jones Carlton memorial award (2006) for new therapy for Niemann-Pick C disease with Emyr Lloyd-Evans and Prof Frances Platt, University of Oxford.

Consultancy work

Sphingolipid cell biology, Unilever UK.

Externally funded research grants information

Assay of sphingomyelinase inhibitors, Off-Label Ltd/Penn Ltd, research project, July 2008 – Nov 2008, PI.

Internally funded research project information

Sphingolipid cell biology, Startup – 1/1/2008 – 2009, PI.

Case studies

  • Sillence,D J (Nov 2007) New insights into glycosphingolipid functions--storage, lipid rafts, and translocators. International Review of Cytology, 262, pp 151-189.
  • Niemann-Pick disease type C1 is a sphingosine storage disease that causes deregulation of lysosomal calcium. Lloyd-Evans,E, Morgan,A J, He,X, Smith,D A, Elliot-Smith,E, Sillence,Daniel J, Churchill,G C, Schuchman,E H, Galione, A, Platt,F M.  Nature Med. (2008).

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