• Early stage researcher, University of Cape Town, South Africa
• WP1.1 Predisposition to tendon injury caused by polymorphisms in ECM‐encoding genes
• Secondment to University of Manchester, 2016
Andrea is a PhD student in the Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine under the supervision of Prof Alison V September and Prof Malcolm Collins, as well as Dr Colleen Saunders and Dr Junaid Gamieldien at the University of the Western Cape and the South African National Bioinformatics Institute. She is currently investigating the association of genetic risk factors with chronic and acute musculoskeletal soft tissue injuries. Specifically, a multidisciplinary approach was employed (whole exome sequencing together with an array of bioinformatics tools) to identify novel risk conferring variants within biological pathways previously implicated in injury susceptibility. Genes of particular interest include those encoding several structural components of the extracellular matrix (COL1A1, COL5A1, COL27A1 and TNC) and matrix-remodelling factors (MMPs). The variants identified are currently prioritised, based on location and functionality, for further interrogation in larger cohorts of interest through conducting case control genetic association studies.
Within RUBICON Andrea visited the laboratory of Prof Karl Kadler at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix Research, University of Manchester in the UK to study effects of the associated variants on collagen fibrillogenesis, microfibril assembly and the biomechanical properties of ECM using 3D fibroblast culture systems.