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Dr Mhairi A Morris

Job: Senior Lecturer

Faculty: Health and Life Sciences

School/department: School of Allied Health Sciences

Research group(s): Biomedical and Environmental Health Group

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

T: +44 (0)116 201 3909

E: mhairi.morris@dmu.ac.uk

W: dmu.ac.uk/hls

Social Media: https://twitter.com/mhairimorris

 

Personal profile

Dr Mhairi Morris is a Senior Lecturer and DMU Teacher Fellow in Biomedical Science and Medical Science in the School of Allied Health Sciences at De Montfort University (UK). She has a BSc(Hons) in Medical Biochemistry from the University of Glasgow (2004) and a PhD in Viral Oncology from the University of Birmingham (2009).

During her PhD, Mhairi identified a novel role for the viral oncoprotein encoded by Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), called latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1), in altering the expression of numerous components of classical signalling pathways that are often deregulated in cancer. During her post-doctoral research, she demonstrated how this impacts on epithelial cell adhesion and motility, highlighting a role for LMP1 in promoting tumour metastasis.

Her current research interests extend to mapping the link between viral infection, chronic inflammation and cancer. In particular, Mhairi has an interest in the role of TGF-beta-, integrin- and interleukin-1 (IL-1)-signalling cascades in tumour metastasis. Her PhD student, Alexandra Davis, is looking at the role for the viral oncoprotein in transforming cells in the tumour microenvironment, and together they are developing a novel 3D system for investigating this phenomenon.

Mhairi is also the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Champion for postgraduate research students and is a strong advocate of promoting women in science through the Athena SWAN charter mark working group.

Research group affiliations

Publications and outputs 

1) Rasekh M, Nazari K, Arshad MS, Kucuk I, Haj-Ahmad R, Hussain A, Morris MA, Abbas N, Chang MW, Li X, Ahmad Z. Polymeric based therapeutic delivery systems prepared using electrohydrodynamic processes. Curr Pharm Des, 2016 Feb. PMID: 26898734

2) Morris MA, Dawson CW, Laverick L, Davis AM, Dudman JPR, Raveenthiraraj S, Ahmad Z, Yap LF, and Young LS. The Epstein-Barr virus-encoded LMP1 oncoprotein modulates cell adhesion via regulation of activin A/TGFb and b1 integrin signalling. Sci Rep, 2016 Jan. PMID: 26782058

3) Rasekh M, Karavasili C, Soong Y, Bouroplouos N, Morris MA, Armitage D, Li X, 
Fatouros DG, Ahmad Z. Electrospun PVP-indomethacin constituents for transdermal
dressings and drug delivery devices. Int J Pharma, 2014 Jul.
4) Morris MA*, Dawson CW, Young LS. Role of the Epstein-Barr virus-encoded latent 
membrane protein-1, LMP1, in the pathogenesis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
(Review) Future Oncol, 2009 Aug.
5) Morris MA*, Dawson CW*, Wei W, O’Neil JD, Stewart SE, Jia J, Bell AI, Young LS,
Arrand JR. Epstein-Barr virus-encoded LMP1 induces a hyperproliferative and
inflammatory gene expression programme in cultured keratinocytes. J Gen Virol,
2008 Nov.
6) Morris MA, Young LS, Dawson CW. DNA tumour viruses promote tumour cell 
invasion and metastasis by deregulating the normal processes of cell adhesion and
motility. (Review) Eur J Cell Biol, 2008 Sep.
7) Dawson CW, Laverick L, Morris MA, Tramoutanis G, Young LS. Epstein-Barr 
virus-encoded LMP1 regulates epithelial cell motility and invasion via the
ERK-MAPK pathway. J Virol 2008 Jan.

Key research outputs

Morris MA, Dawson CW, Laverick L, Davis AM, Dudman JPR, Raveenthiraraj S, Ahmad Z, Yap LF, and Young LS. The Epstein-Barr virus-encoded LMP1 oncoprotein modulates cell adhesion via regulation of activin A/TGFb and b1 integrin signalling. Sci Rep, 2016 Jan. PMID: 26782058

Research interests/expertise

  •  Viruses, chronic inflammation and cancer
  •  Cell signalling – specifically TGF-beta, integrin and interleukin-1 (IL-1)
  •  Keratinocyte biology

Areas of teaching

  • Biochemical disease processes
  • Research and diagnostic techniques
  • Immunopathology
  • Research and innovation

Qualifications

  •  BSc(Hons) Medical Biochemistry (University of Glasgow, 2004)
  •  PhD Viral Oncology (University of Birmingham, 2009)

Courses taught

  •  Biomedical Science (BSc)
    • Module leader for BIOM2002 - Biochemical Disease Processes
  •  Medical Science (BMedSci)

Honours and awards

DMU Teacher Fellow, 2016

Membership of external committees

Editorial board member for "Pathogens" (ISSN 2076-0817; CODEN: PATHCD; August 2016)

Membership of professional associations and societies

Ambassador and Young Investigator member of the European Association of Cancer Research (EACR), July 2015 - present

Member of the Biochemical Society, July 2015 - present

Professional licences and certificates

 

Projects

 

Forthcoming events

 

Conference attendance

1) Invited short talk of poster presentation of my research at the inaugural Gordon Research Conference on nasopharyngeal carcinoma, Hong Kong, June 2016.

2) Poster presentation of my research (and another poster presentation with my undergraduate research project students' research) at the EMBL Frontiers in Stem Cells and Cancer symposium, Heidelberg, Germany, March 2015.

3) Poster presentation of my research at the 13th Biennial Conference of the International Association for Research on Epstein-Barr Virus and Associated Diseases, Guangzhou, China, November 2008.

4) Oral and poster presentation of my research at the FEBS Workshop: Invadopodia, podosomes and focal adhesions in tissue invasion, Ortona, Italy, September 2007.

5) Poster presentation of my research at CRUK Midlands Regional meeting, Birmingham, UK, April 2007.

6) Poster presentation of my research at the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research workshop on TGFbeta and cancer, Glasgow, Scotland, September 2006.

7) Contributed a poster of my research at the 12th Biennial Conference of The International Association for Research on Epstein-Barr Virus and Associated Diseases - Tumour Associated Herpesviruses, Boston, USA, July 2006.

Recent research outputs

 1) Rasekh M, Nazari K, Arshad MS, Kucuk I, Haj-Ahmad R, Hussain A, Morris MA, Abbas N, Chang MW, Li X, Ahmad Z. Polymeric based therapeutic delivery systems prepared using electrohydrodynamic processes. Curr Pharm Des, 2016 Feb. PMID: 26898734

2) Morris MA, Dawson CW, Laverick L, Davis AM, Dudman JPR, Raveenthiraraj S, Ahmad Z, Yap LF, and Young LS. The Epstein-Barr virus-encoded LMP1 oncoprotein modulates cell adhesion via regulation of activin A/TGFb and b1 integrin signalling. Sci Rep, 2016 Jan. PMID: 26782058

3) Rasekh M, Karavasili C, Soong Y, Bouroplouos N, Morris MA, Armitage D, Li X, Fatouros DG, Ahmad Z. Electrospun PVP-indomethacin constituents for transdermal dressings and drug delivery devices. Int J Pharma, 2014 Jul. 

Key research outputs

Morris MA, Dawson CW, Laverick L, Davis AM, Dudman JPR, Raveenthiraraj S, Ahmad Z, Yap LF, and Young LS. The Epstein-Barr virus-encoded LMP1 oncoprotein modulates cell adhesion via regulation of activin A/TGFb and b1 integrin signalling. Sci Rep, 2016 Jan. PMID: 26782058

Consultancy work

 

Current research students

Alexandra Davis (1st supervisor)

Prina Mehta (2nd supervisor with Professor Zeeshan Ahmad)

Kazem Nazari (2nd supervisor with Professor Zeeshan Ahmad)

Elshaimaa Gamal Sayed (2nd supervisor with Professor Zeeshan Ahmad)

Jin Zhang (advisor)

Externally funded research grants information

The Biochemical Society, Eric Reid Fund for Methodology

Grantholder: Dr Mhairi A Morris

Title: Investigating the role of the viral oncogene, latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1), in recruiting and transforming fibroblasts in vitro: a novel approach to modelling the tumour stroma for nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

Amount: £1,250


Grantholder's role in project: Principal Investigator supervising student on project

Start: January 2016


End: June 2017


Internally funded research project information

De Montfort University, Revolving Investment Fund (RIF) 7

Grantholder: Dr Lionel T Dean


Title: Vivo3D


Amount: £9,000


Applicant's role in project: Co-PI, advising on biological aspect of 3D tumour modelling

Start: August 2015

End: July 2016

 

De Montfort University, RIF6

Grantholder: Dr Mhairi A Morris

Title: The role of LMP1 in the induction of myofibroblasts in nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Amount: £10,000

Applicant's role in project: PI performing experiments and supervising undergraduate research project student (now PhD student) in the project

Start: August 2014

End: July 2015

 

De Montfort University, Revolving Capital Investment Fund (RCIF) 2

Grantholder: Dr Jo V Rushworth

Title: Cell Imaging Analysis suite

Amount: £78,000

Applicant's role in project: Co-PI on grant applicaiton, wrote bid for xCELLigence real time cell analyser

Start: August 2014

End: July 2015 

Published patents

 

Professional esteem indicators

 

Case studies

 

MAMorris June 2016

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