Peter Coussons

Senior Lecturer

Faculty:Faculty of Science & Technology

Department:Biomedical and Forensic Science

Location: Cambridge

Untitled Page

Peter is an accomplished research scientist with over seven years of postdoctoral research experience. He is a Senior Lecturer in biomedical science and Director of our Biomedical Research Group.

Untitled Page

peter.coussons@anglia.ac.uk

Background

Peter’s research experience is from a wide variety of settings; from the Clinical Pharmacology laboratory (1992-1995) ex. of Hans Krebs (Nobel Laureate) in the Radcliffe Infirmary, University of Oxford, to the Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge (1995-2000). His current and long-standing research interests are in the role of transglutaminase enzymes, during programmed cell death (apoptosis) and most recently in cancer and chemotheraputic drug resistance of hepatocarcinoma.

In recent years, this interest has extended to the study of erythropoetin and nitrogen oxide metabolism (NO) in explant tissue culture models of rheumatoid arthritis. Peter’s research experience informs his teaching.

Research interests

  • The role of transglutaminase enzymes in health and disease
  • Investigation of mechanisms of chemoresistance of anti-cancer drug
  • New roles for erythropoietin in modulation of rheumatoid arthritis
  • Receptor-ligand interaction

Areas of research supervision

Untitled Page
  • 2015: Peter will be supervising a PhD student for work on transglutaminase enzymes and cancer and a second first supervision of a project investigating antioxidant activity of antibody molecules (Ashley Clark). Another two PhD students (Mark D’Arcy and Dipak Meshram) are in the final stages of their PhD studies. Mark is investigating the effects of natural compounds such as resveratrol and berberine on cancer cells. Dipak is investigating the role of transglutaminase enzymes on the development of chemoresistance in liver cancer. Both are expected to graduate in 2015/6. 
  • 2014: Two of Peter’s PhD students successfully graduated in 2014. The first project (Benedict Odii) involved the role of transglutaminase enzymes in the development of chemoresistance in liver cancer cells to the anticancer drug cisplatin. The second project (Dr Helen McRobie) investigated the genetic and structural basis of the development of melanism in the black squirrel following deletion mutations in the melanocortin gene. Peter also sworked as a second supervisor to Pushpika Perera on a breast cancer project with Dr Claire Pike as lead supervisor.
  • 2013: Amanda Evans (Dept. Haematology, University of Cambridge) passed her PhD by publication under Peter’s supervision. Her work investigated the role of various genes in developmental biology and cancer.
  • 2012: John O’Brien (MRC) passed his PhD by publication under Peter’s supervision. John’s work related to the use of the “gene gun” to introduce new genes into living tissues.
  • 2012: Zhenjun Li passed his PhD by publication under Peter’s supervision. His work focused on the 'Role of cigarette smoke in the polymerization of lung antitrypsin and its effect on risk of emphysema'. 
  • 2007-2012: Under Peter’s joint (second) supervision of hospital based project at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, Tim Key passed his MPhil studying the effects of inflaximab on success in kidney transplantation.
  • 2010: Rui Ziou passed her PhD by publication under Peter’s supervision, for her work on 'Role of protein deamination on cellular pH and control of apoptosis in myeloproliferative disease'. 
  • 2007-2008: MPhil supervision to completion of ARU staff member Elizabeth Serathaahan on the effects of unsaturated fatty acids on bone density.
  • 2003-2005: Peter supervised to completion MRes student Anthony Ipikehim in project on glycation chemistry.
  • 2002-2005: Peter was second external supervisor of PhD student (Kevin Gorman) studying nicotine-based insecticides on aphids conducted at Rothhampstead.
  • 2003-2005: Peter was second supervisor to PhD student Elaine Wheeler, studying NMDA receptors and their role in neurological inflammation (passed 2008).
  • 2002-2004: Peter was second internal supervisor to Somara Baig on her MRes project investigating the role of erythropoietin on glycosaminoglycan turnover in a model of rheumatoid arthritis.

Teaching

Untitled Page

BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science

Qualifications

  • PhD Structural Enzymology, Department of Biochemistry, University of Stirling, 1992
  • BSc (Hons) Biochemistry, Department of Biochemistry, University of Stirling, 1988

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) since 2009
  • Director of Biomedical Research Group, Department of Life Sciences, Anglia Ruskin University, 2010-present
  • Biochemical Society, 1991-present
  • European Haematology Association, 1994-2002
  • Medical Research Society, 1995-2005
  • Institute of Biomedical Science, 2000-present

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

  • 2014: grant application reviewer for Orthapedic Research charity
  • 2003-2010: editor/reviewer for many popular academic scientific texts for Oxford University Press and Pearson
  • 2008: invited grant reviewer for international glycation chemistry proposal for The British Council
  • 2005: external academic panel member for validation of FdSc Biological Sciences, University of Brighton
  • 2003-2005: representative for departmental schools liaison for Biomedical Science (University of Luton)
  • 2002-2005: academic link with Institute of Optimum Nutrition (ION) for accreditation of a foundation degree in nutritional therapy
  • 2000-2002: consultant and invited speaker to The Roslin Institute, Edinburgh, UK, 'Dolly the transgenic sheep' researching the glycation of milk proteins in drug manufacture
  • 1994: Bayer Science Ltd, invited speaker and consultant for the Annual Medical Translators Workshop 'Who wants to live forever? Current ideas concerning programmed cell death

Selected recent publications

Odii, B.O. and Coussons, P., 2014. Reduction of cisplatin cytotoxicity in Hepatocarcinoma cells by optimization of treatment conditions. International Journal of Scientific Research, November 2014, 3(11), pp.297-302. 

Odii, B.O. and Coussons, P., 2014. History and Biology of Transglutaminase 2: A synopsis. International Journal of Biochemistry Research & Review, 4(1), pp.43-65.

McRobie, H., King, L., Fanutti, C., Martyn, F., Symmons, M. and Coussons, P., 2014. Agouti signalling protein is an inverse agonist to the wildtype and agonist to the melanic variant of the melanocortin-1 receptor in the grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis). FEBS Letts, 588(14), pp.2335-2343.

Odii B., O. and Coussons, P., 2014. Review, Biological Functionalities of Transglutaminase 2 and the Possibility of its Compensation by Other Members of the Transglutaminase Family. The Scientific World Journal, Hindawi Publishing Corporation.

McRobie, H., King L., Fanutti C., Coussons P., Moncrief N. and Thomas A., 2014. The melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) gene in the grey (Sciurus carolinensis), fox (Sciurus niger) and red (Sciurus vulgaris) squirrels: melanism is not associated with variation in the MC1R in the red and fox squirrel. J Hered, 105(3), pp.423-428. 

Odii B. and Coussons P., 2012. Pharmacological Isolation of Experimental Models of Drug-resistant Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cell Line. Journal of Cancer Therapy, 3(4), pp.216-221.

Coussons, P., Fanutti, C., Baig, S., and Grant, R., 2011. Human recombinant erythropoietin (rHuEPO) modulates tissue remodelling in juvenile porcine cartilage explant tissue. International Journal of Experimental Pathology, 92, A49.

Odii, B. and Coussons, P., 2011. Pharmacological Isolation of Experimental Models of Drug-resistant Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cell Line. Journal of Cancer Therapy, 3, pp.216-221.

Recent presentations and conferences

McRobie, H., King, L., Symmons, M., Fanutti, C. and Coussons, P., 2013. An eight amino acid deletion in the melanocortin-1-receptor leads to a constitutively active receptor in the grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis). Signalling 2013: From Structure to Function, University of York, 7-19 July 2013.

Laws, S., Gibbons, S., Khondkar, P., Mbaebie, B., Coussons, P. and Fanutti, C., 2012. In vitro screening of antimicrobial plant natural products against escherichia coli. Norwich Research Park Antibiotics Symposium: Obstacles, Opportunities and Innovations, University of East Anglia, Norwich, 17 July 2012.

Fanutti, C., Baig, S., Hussain, S., Davidson, R, Clark, I., Grant, R. and Coussons, P., 2012. Effects of fibroblast co-culture on the response of immature porcine cartilage explant tissue to erythropoietin and interleukin-1 beta in explant models of arthritic disease. European Congress in Immunology, Glasgow, 5-8 September 2012.

McRobie, H., Fanutti, C., Symmons, M.F. and Coussons, P. A model of the deletion mutant of melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R-D24) derived from a melanic form of the grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis). Biochemical Society Conference: G-protein-coupled-receptors: from structural insights to functional mechanisms, Monash University Prato Centre, Italy, 12-14 September 2012.

Odii, B. and Coussons, P., 2012. Untangling the mechanism of cisplatin/5-fluorouracil therapy of liver cancer using a hepatocarcinoma cell line. Faculty of Science and Technology, 2nd Annual Research and Scholarship Conference, Anglia Ruskin University, 23 May 2012.

Odii, B. and Coussons, P., 2012. Pharmacological isolation of experimental models of drug-resistant cells in hepatocellular carcinoma cell line. 6th Annual Research Student Conference, Anglia Ruskin University, 6 June 2012.

D'Arcy, M. and Coussons, P., 2012. Determination of the TG2 isoforms in the HepG2 (hepatocarcinoma) cell line. 6th Annual Research Student Conference, Anglia Ruskin University, 6 June 2012.

D'Arcy, M. and Coussons P., 2012. The role of transglutaminase 2 (TG2) in cancer. Faculty of Science and Technology, 2nd Annual Research and Scholarship Conference, Anglia Ruskin University, 23 May 2012.

Coussons, P.J., Fanutti, C., Baig, S. and Grant, R., 2010. Human recombinant erythropoietin (rHuEPO) modulates tissue remodelling in juvenile porcine cartilage explant tissue. BSMB Autumn Meeting, Inflammation meets matrix biology, Norwich, 6-7 September 2010.