Aberdeen academic awarded early career funding for arthritis research

Dr Sadaf Ashraf, a Research Fellow at the University of Aberdeen, has received a £4,000 funding award from the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance (SULSA) ECR Development Fund.

The fund supports postdoctoral researchers to develop and explore their own independent research whilst collaborating with established academics. The award will allow Dr Ashraf to continue her research within the University’s Arthritis and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory and embark on a new collaboration with the University of York.

Dr Ashraf said: “I’m delighted that this funding will allow me to continue working alongside Professor Cosimo De Bari and the fantastic team within the Arthritis and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory, as we conduct research to enhance understanding of arthritis pain and how to improve treatment.”

The team’s research aims to understand how stromal-stem cells interact with nerves to control arthritis pain and the award will partially fund a collaboration with the University of York and Professor David Walsh from the University of Nottingham to explore this further.

Dr Ashraf said: “The collaboration will enable us to use Nanostring’s GeoMxTM Digital Spatial Profiler to better analyse cells found within clinical arthritis samples and further explore cell and joint interaction. By being able to document detailed changes in tissue, this research has the potential to pave the way forward for personalised medical treatment. I first collaborated with Professor Walsh in 2019 after being awarded an NHS Grampian Endowment Fund grant and I am very pleased that the funding from SULSA allows me to continue expanding my collaborative networks whilst raising the profile of our research at the University of Aberdeen.”