+44 (0)114 215 9667 mellanbycentre@sheffield.ac.uk
Le Maitre

Professor Christine Le Maitre, PhD, FHEA

Professor, Department of Oncology and Metabolism, University of Sheffield

‘Musculoskeletal Cell Biology and Tissue Regeneration’

Email: c.lemaitre@sheffield.ac.uk


Professor Christine Le Maitre is a Professor of Musculoskeletal Cell Biology and Tissue Regeneration in the Department of Oncology and Metabolism, in the Medical School where she co-leads the Osteoarthritis and Disc Research Group in the Bone and Joint theme, she is also a Principal Investigator at the Insigneo Institute for in silico Medicine, at the University of Sheffield. Professor Le Maitre is also a member of the Integrated Musculo-Skeletal Biomechanics research group, with a particular interest in mechanobiology within musculoskeletal health and disease. She is also a member of the Society of Back Pain Research, AO spine, the British Orthopedic Research Society, Orthopaedic Research UK, the Orthopaedic Research Society and the associated spine section, Tissue Cell Engineering Society, Tissue, Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society and is current Chair lady for the UK based Charity DISCs.
Professor Le Maitre’s research investigates the cellular pathogenesis of musculoskeletal conditions. Including intervertebral disc degeneration and its links to low back pain; osteoarthritis; and bone physiology; working in close collaboration with relevant clinical partners and collaborators nationally and internationally. With a particular interest in the interaction of cells, biomechanics and matrix biology. Professor Le Maitre’s research has provided key insights to the normal physiology of musculoskeletal conditions and identified dysregulated cellular mechanisms during pathogenesis of intervertebral disc degeneration and osteoarthritis. Including the roles of inflammatory cytokines, cellular senescence and altered mechano-transduction pathways. With a passion for developing alternative disease models, which utilise human 3D cell and tissue cultures within physiologically relevant environments. These systems are utilised to understand normal physiology and pathogenesis and test new therapeutic strategies. Such as 3D culture systems to maintain the phenotype of isolated chondrocytes, nucleus pulposus cells, annulus fibrosus cells, osteoblasts and osteocytes, or drive stem cell differentiation enabling cell and mechanobiology to be investigated using primary human cell sources. Professor Le Maitre has developed several complex tissue culture systems enabling maintenance of cell/matrix interactions from osteochondral and IVD tissue explants to whole organ culture systems. Current PhD students under her supervision are also developing 3D printed models of cortical and trabecular bone and bone infection models. The improved understanding in pathogenesis of musculoskeletal conditions have led to strategies for next generation therapies involving stem cells, biomaterials and gene therapy approaches to inhibit disease processes and support regeneration. Investigating a range of potential cell sources to promote regeneration including bone marrow and adipose stromal cells; and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Her work has investigated these cell strategies either alone or in combination with smart biomaterials which can restore the biomechanical environment, whilst inhibiting catabolic signalling processes and supporting stem cell differentiation. She has also investigated the potential of gene therapy approaches to modulate abnormal cytokine signalling to inhibit cellular pathogenesis, providing the correct tissue niche to support repair and regeneration. Her work on next generation therapies has led to patent generation, industry collaborations and potential commercialisation opportunities.
Professor Le Maitre’s research to date has led to >100 publications with >8,600 citations a current H index of 43 and i10 index 78 (Feb 2023), with over £22 million in research grant income and £10 million in doctoral training grant income to date and is involved in a number of large consortia projects, including iPSPINE and Disc4all.