Associate Professor
Medicine
Telephone: (01792) 295066
Email: JavaScript is required to view this email address.
Room: Academic Office - 328
Third Floor
Institute of Life Science 1
Singleton Campus

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. & Using biomarkers to predict clinical outcomes in multiple sclerosis. Practical Neurology 19(4), 342-349.
  2. & Calorie restriction activates new adult born olfactory‐bulb neurones in a ghrelin‐dependent manner but acyl‐ghrelin does not enhance subventricular zone neurogenesis. Journal of Neuroendocrinology 31(7)
  3. & Meningeal inflammation and cortical demyelination in acute multiple sclerosis. Annals of Neurology
  4. & Inflammatory intrathecal profiles and cortical damage in multiple sclerosis. Annals of Neurology
  5. & Cortical grey matter demyelination can be induced by elevated pro-inflammatory cytokines in the subarachnoid space of MOG-immunized rats. Brain
  6. & Tissue microarray methodology identifies complement pathway activation and dysregulation in progressive multiple sclerosis. Brain Pathology
  7. & Complement is activated in progressive multiple sclerosis cortical grey matter lesions. Journal of Neuroinflammation 13(1)
  8. & 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.
  9. & Complement activation in multiple sclerosis plaques: an immunohistochemical analysis. Acta Neuropathologica Communications 2(1), 53
  10. & Molecular pathology of Multiple Sclerosis lesions reveals a heterogeneous expression pattern of genes involved in oligodendrogliogenesis. Experimental Neurology

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-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-304 Biomolecular Research Project

    *

  • PM-304C Prosiect Ymchwil Biofoleciwlaidd

    Profiad gwaith mewn labordy ymchwil.

  • 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.

  • PM-344 Capstone Project

    The aim of this module is to provide a capstone experience to students¿ learning, through participating in their own enquiry-based research project. Depending on the student's employability strand within the programme, the project may be laboratory, data, or education-based, but it will always involve a research question that is drawn from the literature, focused on a topic relevant to medical science. It will ask a novel research question and involve the critical analysis of research findings. Students will refine their oral and written communication skills to a graduate level through creating an introductory presentation on the project background, and a written dissertation and oral presentation on their research conclusions.

  • PM-344C Prosiect Capfaen

    Nod y modiwl hwn yw rhoi cyfle i fyfyrwyr gael profiad dysgu capfaen drwy gymryd rhan yn eu prosiect eu hunain yn seiliedig ar gwestiwn ymchwil. Gan ddibynnu ar linyn cyflogadwyedd y myfyriwr yn y rhaglen, gall y prosiect fod yn seiliedig ar waith labordy, data neu addysg, ond bydd bob amser yn cynnwys cwestiwn ymchwil sy'n deillio o'r llenyddiaeth, ac sy'n canolbwyntio ar bwnc perthnasol i wyddor feddygol. Bydd yn gofyn cwestiwn ymchwil newydd ac yn cynnwys dadansoddiad beirniadol o ganfyddiadau ymchwil. Bydd myfyrwyr yn mireinio eu sgiliau cyfathrebu llafar ac ysgrifenedig i lefel raddedig, drwy lunio cyflwyniad rhagarweiniol ar gefndir y prosiect, ynghyd â thraethawd estynedig a chyflwyniad llafar ar ganfyddiadau eu hymchwil.

  • PM-347 Human Immunopathology

    The module aims to provide students with a greater understanding of the human immune system and the causes of a range of diseases associated with immune dysfunction including autoimmune diseases, metabolic disorders and neurological conditions.

  • PM-400 Advanced Research Project A

    The advanced research project is a key component of the final year of study, providing students with experience of conducting cutting-edge research in the Institute of Life Science and Centre for Nanohealth over an 9-month period. The project will fall into one of the current medically-related research themes: Biomarkers and Genes; Microbes and Immunity; Devices. Students will employ a range of advanced analytical procedures to investigate a specific topic. In addition, they will gain experience in preparing a research proposal and presenting their data in various formats. Research topics will be assigned that are appropriate to a specific degree title. For example, a Genetics student could be assigned a project investigating gene function in an insect vector of a tropical disease, using the technique of RNA interference. The advanced research project is divided between 2 modules, PM-400 and PM-402. PM-400 includes the following components: (1) Preparation of a research poster, (2) A 15-minute audio recording giving a presentation of the research area, (3) Lab performance and (4) Oral defence of the project in an open viva (20-minute presentation followed by 10-minutes of questions).

  • PM-400C Prosiect Ymchwil Uwch A

    Mae'r prosiect ymchwil uwch yn elfen allweddol o'r flwyddyn astudio olaf. Mae'n rhoi cyfle i fyfyrwyr gael profiad o ymgymryd ag ymchwil arloesol yn y Sefydliad Gwyddor Bywyd a'r Ganolfan NanoIechyd am naw mis. Bydd y prosiect yn canolbwyntio ar un o'r themâu ymchwil canlynol sy'n berthnasol i'r gwyddorau meddygol: Biofarcwyr a Genynnau; Microbau ac Imiwnedd; Dyfeisiau. Bydd myfyrwyr yn defnyddio amrywiaeth o dechnegau dadansoddi uwch i ymchwilio i bwnc penodol. Yn ogystal, byddant yn cael profiad o lunio cynnig ymchwil a chyflwyno eu data mewn amrywiaeth o fformatau. Dynodir themâu ymchwil sy'n briodol i deitl gradd penodol. Er enghraifft, os yw myfyriwr yn astudio Geneteg, gellir dynodi prosiect yn ymchwilio i weithrediad gennyn mewn fector pryfed clefyd trofannol, gan ddefnyddio techneg ymyrraeth RNA. Rhennir y prosiect ymchwil uwch rhwng dau fodiwl, PM-400 a PM-402. Mae PM-400 yn cynnwys y cydrannau canlynol: (1) Llunio poster ymchwil; (2) Recordiad sain 15 munud sy'n cyflwyno'r maes ymchwil; (3) Perfformiad yn y labordy a (4) Amddiffyn y prosiect mewn arholiad llafar agored (cyflwyniad 20 munud i'w ddilyn gan 10 munud o gwestiynau).

  • PM-402 Advanced Research Project B

    The advanced research project is a key component of the final year of study, providing students with experience of conducting cutting-edge research in the Institute of Life Science and Centre for Nanohealth over an 9-month period. The project will fall into one of the current medically-related research themes: Biomarkers and Genes; Microbes and Immunity; Devices. Students will employ a range of advanced analytical procedures to investigate a specific topic. In addition, they will gain experience in preparing a research proposal and presenting their data in various formats. Research topics will be assigned that are appropriate to a specific degree title. For example, a Genetics student could be assigned a project investigating gene function in an insect vector of a tropical disease, using the technique of RNA interference. The advanced research project is divided between 2 modules, PM-400 and PM-402. PM-402 comprises the final written dissertation.

  • PM-402C Prosiect Ymchwil Uwch B

    Mae'r prosiect ymchwil uwch yn elfen allweddol o'r flwyddyn astudio olaf, gan roi cyfle i fyfyrwyr gael profiad o ymchwil arloesol yn y Sefydliad Gwyddor Bywyd a'r Ganolfan NanoIechyd dros naw mis. Bydd y prosiect yn seiliedig ar un o'r themâu ymchwil canlynol sy'n ymwneud â'r gwyddorau meddygol: Biofarcwyr a Genynnau; Microbau ac Imiwnedd; Dyfeisiau. Bydd myfyrwyr yn defnyddio amrywiaeth o dechnegau dadansoddi uwch i ymchwilio i bwnc penodol. Yn ogystal, cânt brofiad o lunio cynnig ymchwil a chyflwyno eu data mewn amrywiaeth o fformatau. Dynodir pynciau ymchwil sy'n briodol i deitl gradd penodol. Er enghraifft, os yw myfyriwr yn astudio Geneteg, gellir dynodi prosiect yn ymchwilio i weithrediad gennyn mewn fector pryfed clefyd trofannol, gan ddefnyddio techneg ymyrraeth RNA. Rhennir y prosiect ymchwil uwch rhwng dau fodiwl, PM-400 a PM-402. PM402 yw¿r traethawd estynedig terfynol.

  • PMLM05 LC/MS Applications IV: Medical and life sciences

    Students will have the opportunity to gain extensive knowledge of the role mass spectrometry plays in biomarker discovery (proteins and small molecules).with its application to clinical diagnosis including the analysis of carbohydrates, glycoproteins and nucleic acids using activity-based proteomics and techniques for affinity pull-down.

Supervision

  • Oxysterols and the brain: Do oxysterols drive disease and is their concentration affected by high dose statin treatment?«br /» (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof William Griffiths
  • Complement Activation and Regulation in Multiple Sclerosis (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Mark Rees
  • THE INNATE IMMUNE RESPONSE AND CORTICAL PATHOLOGY IN PROGRESSIVE MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Mark Rees
  • Preventing nerve cell loss in Alzheimer's disease: a role for the orexigenic hormone ghrelin? (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Alwena Morgan
    Other supervisor: Dr Jeffrey Davies
  • Biobanking neurological conditions in Wales for Genetic Research (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Steve Bain
  • Mass Spectroscopy Imaging of Human Brain (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof William Griffiths
  • 'Cortical grey matter demyelination and meningeal inflammation in a cohort of short duration Multiple Sclerosis.' (awarded 2018)

    Student name:
    MSc
    Other supervisor: Prof Mark Rees
  • The importance of cortical lesions in multiple sclerosis. (awarded 2018)

    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.' (awarded 2017)

    Student name:
    MRes