Associate Professor
Swansea University Medical School
Telephone: (01792) 295066
Email: JavaScript is required to view this email address.

I am interested in the biology of neuroinflammation and study the disease mechanisms of multiple sclerosis. Although great strides have been made in treating those people with the early form of the disease we still do not understand why some people will experience a more severe, progressive disease. Our work looks at the pathomechanisms of multiple sclerosis using patient samples, cell cultures and post-mortem brain tissues.

We have a limited number of places in our group for summer students, visiting researchers and volunteer students to gain experience in research. We also have permanent positions available from time to time, which are advertised on the University website and elsewhere. For more information about joining our group please get in touch (o.w.howell@swansea.ac.uk).

Areas of Expertise

  • Multiple sclerosis research
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Neuropathology
  • Bio-banking

Publications

  1. & Complement is activated in progressive multiple sclerosis cortical grey matter lesions. Journal of Neuroinflammation 13(1)
  2. & Extensive grey matter pathology in the cerebellum in multiple sclerosis is linked to inflammation in the subarachnoid space. Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology 41(6), 798-813.
  3. & Cortical grey matter demyelination can be induced by elevated pro-inflammatory cytokines in the subarachnoid space of MOG-immunized rats. Brain
  4. & Complement activation in multiple sclerosis plaques: an immunohistochemical analysis. Acta Neuropathologica Communications 2(1), 53
  5. & Meningeal inflammation plays a role in the pathology of primary progressive multiple sclerosis. Brain 135(10), 2925-2937.
  6. & Meningeal inflammation is widespread and linked to cortical pathology in multiple sclerosis. Brain 134(9), 2755-2771.
  7. & Mitochondrial DNA deletions and neurodegeneration in multiple sclerosis. Annals of Neurology 69(3), 481-492.
  8. & Related B cell clones populate the meninges and parenchyma of patients with multiple sclerosis. Brain 134(2), 534-541.
  9. & Two binding sites for [3H]PBR28 in human brain: implications for TSPO PET imaging of neuroinflammation. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism 30(9), 1608-1618.
  10. & A Gradient of neuronal loss and meningeal inflammation in multiple sclerosis. Annals of Neurology 68(4), 477-493.

See more...

Teaching

  • PM-132 Eukaryotic Cell Biology

    This module will provide a broad introduction to fundamental concepts in Eukaryotic cell biology investigating the origins of the cell, cell structure and specialised cells and cells in disease. There will be a general focus on human cells throughout with reference to other organisms when needed. Students will gain practical experience in identification, differentiation of cells from different human and animal species.

  • PM-132C Bioleg Celloedd Ewcaryotig

    Bydd y modiwl hwn yn darparu cyflwyniad bras i gysyniadau sylfaenol ym maes bioleg celloedd Ewcaryotig, gan ymchwilio i darddiad y gell, strwythur y gell a chelloedd arbenigol a chelloedd mewn clefyd. Bydd ffocws cyffredinol ar gelloedd dynol drwy gydol y modiwl, gan gyfeirio at organebau eraill yn ôl yr angen. Bydd myfyrwyr yn cael profiad ymarferol o nodi celloedd, gwahaniaethu rhwng gwahanol gelloedd dynol a rhywogaethau o anifeiliaid.

  • PM-139 Human Physiology I

    This module aims to provide an understanding of the structure and function of key physiological systems of the human body. Human physiology is the study of how our body works in an integrated way. A central principle of human physiology is homeostasis, the maintenance of a relatively stable internal environment. Failure to maintain homeostasis disrupts normal function that may lead to disease (or pathophysiology). Students will be taught the key concepts of homeostasis in the physiological systems of the body, enabling the student to understand the consequences of pathophysiology to human health. Students will gain practical experience in assessing respiration and cardiac function during two separate laboratory based exercises

  • PM-257 Neuroscience

    In order to help students understand the biological basis for behavioural neuroscience and neurological disorders, this module seeks to integrate the multidisciplinary sciences ¿ for example, anatomy, physiology and biochemistry - that have combined to build the emerging field of neuroscience. The aim is to gain a mechanistic and holistic knowledge of the nervous system that builds from the molecular, cellular and developmental, to the systems level. In addition to exploring normal function, this module will introduce common disorders of the central and peripheral nervous systems in an integrated way. Students will be guided in exploring the scientific evidence around what is known and unknown and will be introduced to current research findings in the scientific literature.

  • PM-333 Aspects of Human Sensory and Metabolic Biochemistry

    This module introduces students to the physiology and biochemistry of the Central Nervous System (CNS). Special aspects of central nervous system biochemistry such as the provision of energy for the brain, the metabolism of neurotransmitters and the role of neurotransmitters in controlling behaviour is also considered. Consideration is given to defects in the CNS and the implications for pathological states such as epilepsy, Parkinson's Disease and Multiple sclerosis. The module concludes with a description of the biochemistry and physiology of visual transduction, olfaction and sensory biochemistry.

  • PM-334 Biochemistry Literature Review and Communication

    Students will acquire a detailed knowledge of one topical research area of key importance to their particular degree scheme.

Supervision

  • The pathology of multiple sclerosis: connective tissue inflammation and cortical grey matter demyelination in early disease (current)

    Student name:
    MSc
    Other supervisor: Prof Mark Rees
  • Untitled (current)

    Student name:
    MSc
    Other supervisor: Prof Mark Rees
  • 'The innate immune system in progressive Multiple Sclerosis: a role for complement and microglia in cortical neuropathology.' (current)

    Student name:
    MRes
  • THE INNATE IMMUNE RESPONSE OF CORTICAL PATHOLOGY IN PROGRESSIVE MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Mark Rees
  • Activation and Regulation in Multiple Scierosis (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Mark Rees
  • 'Using big data for epilepsy research: genes and populations' (awarded 2016)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Mark Rees
  • ''Investigating the role of ghrelin in adult olfactory bulb neurogenesis'' (awarded 2016)

    Student name:
    MSc
    Other supervisor: Dr Jeffrey Davies
  • ''Mutation Analysis of GABAergic neuroinhibitory genes in childhood genetic generalised epilepsies'' (awarded 2015)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Mark Rees
    Other supervisor: Dr Seo-Kyung Chung