Professor Amelia Shoemark
Professor of Respiratory Research
Molecular and Clinical Medicine, School of Medicine
+44 (0)1382 383458
Dr Amelia Shoemark completed her PhD in respiratory medicine at the National, Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London. Her PhD work investigated inflammation in the lungs of patients with the chronic respiratory condition bronchiectasis helping to define causes of the disease (http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/bronchiectasis/).
In her role as lead clinical scientist at the Royal Brompton Hospital Amelia developed a specialist interest in an inherited cause of bronchiectasis, Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD) (http://pcdsupport.org.uk/). She set up and led a nationally funded laboratory for the diagnosis of Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia from 2007-2017, a position she still holds part time. Her translational research interests, funded by a personal post-doctoral fellowship from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) brought new reliable and affordable tests for PCD with improved diagnostic sensitivity. These included the development of a clinically validated panel of immunofluorescent antibodies, development of 3D electron microscopy and in close collaboration with Dr Hannah Mitchison at University College London the identification of more than 10 of the genes now known to cause PCD. These translational areas of research have led to numerous publications in high impact journals and a national role out of novel techniques to enhance the diagnostic accuracy for all patients in the UK.
Amelia joined the Chalmers lab at the University of Dundee as a post-doctoral scientist in 2017 to conduct research into bronchiectasis supported by the British Lung Foundation (https://www.blf.org.uk/). With Prof. Chalmers Amelia will run a 5 year program of research using state-of-the-art laboratory techniques to understand the different patterns of lung inflammation and infection in bronchiectasis patients and to assess the role of cilia in disease. The team will work closely with other world-leading researchers in the EMBARC European Bronchiectasis Registry, a pan-European network committed to promoting clinical research and education in bronchiectasis (https://www.bronchiectasis.eu/)
Bronchiectasis is a long term lung condition in which repeated infections and inflammation widen the airways and permanently scar the lungs. This can result in coughing up mucus (or phlegm), breathlessness and repeated chest infections. There are several medications available to help treat the symptoms of bronchiectasis but there is little evidence for which patients will benefit from which treatments. The focus of Dr Shoemark’s research in Dundee is to understand the different patterns of lung inflammation and infection in bronchiectasis patients with an aim to improving treatment.
An area of specialist interest is cilia function. Cilia are small hair-like structures which line the airways. The job of the cilia is to move in a co-ordinated way wafting mucus away from the chest and keeping the airways clear of infection. A slow motion video of cilia beating normally can be seen below.
Through the investigation of; the role of cilia beating, the diversity of bacteria in the lung and identification small molecular markers the group hope to be able to better target individual patient treatments.
Lectures and conferences
As an international expert on cilia disease Amelia is frequently asked to chair and speak at international conferences. In 2017 highlights have included; a plenary lecture at the European PCD conference in Valencia, Spain, an invited lecture at the Pathological society of Great Britain in Belfast and multiple research presentations at the European Respiratory Society conference in Sept in Madrid.
Upcoming presentations include the British Thoracic Society winter meeting in Westminster and at the Natural History Museum winter microscopy meeting in London in December.
I am available for media commentary on my research.
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Areas of expertise
- Respiratory health
Learning more about the legacies of Covid infection is “critical” if society is to successfully adapt to living with the virus, a University of Dundee expert has warned.