Prof Sigrun Lange

Prof Sigrun Lange

As Professor of Molecular Pathobiology, I lead a pioneering cross-disciplinary research programme in Experimental Pathology and Pathobiology, with a focus on Peptidylarginine deiminases (PADs) and Extracellular Vesicles (EVs), elucidating novel mechanisms underpinning evolution of the immune system and fundamental pathobiological and physiological processes.

Formal Education: BSc Biology; MSc Biomedical Sciences (Immunology); PhD Biomedical Sciences (Immunology); PgCertHE; Accredited Business Coach; MBA Certificate from LSE. 

Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology - FRSB

I hold a BSc in Biology from the University of Iceland. I undertook a 2 year MSc/MRes research project in comparative immunology at the Institute for Experimental Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland, for which I obtained an EMBO research fellowship to the UiT The Arctic University, Norway.  My PhD (2001-2005) at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland, focused on diverse roles of the complement system and its associations with Apolipoprotein A-I in tissue remodelling and immunity during early vertebrate ontogeny, and was funded by the EC FISHAID project QLK2-CT-2000-01076 and the Icelandic Research Council (RANNIS). I obtained  visiting fellowships from the EMBO and IUBMB to carry out parts of my PhD at the MRC Immunochemistry Unit, Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford (2002) and the Department of Biomedicine, University Hospital Basel, Switzerland (2003-2005), and received the Prof. Axelsson´s Young Investigators 2005 Award for advancing fundamental understanding in vertebrate immunity and development. 

Having developed a special interest in tissue remodelling and regeneration, I spent 9 post-doctoral years at UCL in regenerative medicine and neuroscience. I identified novel molecules, including peptidylarginine deiminases (PADs), underlying spinal cord regeneration and stem cell maintenance (UCL Institute of Child Health 2006-2010 - funded by the BBSRC); and showed novel roles for PADs in perinatal brain repair (UCL Institute for Women’s Health (2010-2013 - funded by Wellbeing of Women). I investigated PADs in neurodegenerative iPSC models and described a novel PAD-mediated pathway of extracellular vesicle biogenesis, as well as participating in the EU Flagship Human Brain Project on hippocampal modelling for in silico brain-simulation (UCL School of Pharmacy, 2013-2015 - funded by the European Commission for Future and Emerging Technology). In 2015 I received the Young Scientist Award from the Icelandic Biological Society.

I joined the School of Life Sciences, University of Westminster as Lecturer in Molecular Pathology in 2016, was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2017, to Reader in 2020 and to Professor in 2022. In my current role as Professor in Molecular Pathobiology my research focuses on Experimental Pathology and Pathobiology. I have particular interest in the roles of PADs and extracellular vesicles in tissue remodelling in health and disease, including in regeneration, inflammatory disease, infection and cancer, as well as in immunity and metabolism of a range of taxa across the phylogenetic tree. I have a particular interest in using comparative animal models to inform human health. 

I supervise BSc, MSc and PhD project students and lecture on the Undergraduate (BSc) and Postgraduate (MSc) Biomedical Sciences degrees at UoW.

In 2021 I was elected Fellow of The Royal Society of Biology (FRSB) for my distinctive and notable contribution to the advancement of biological sciences.

I was lead of the Tissue Architecture and Regeneration Research Group from 2017-2023, and since 2023 lead the Pathobiology and Extracellular Vesicles Research Group.

My research activities align with the following UN Sustainable Development Goals:

SDG 2: Zero Hunger: Research relating to biomarker discovery for improved aquaculture.

SDG 3: Good Health and Wellbeing: Development of novel fingerprinting signatures in human health and disease; in chronic disease, infection and across the lifespan.

SDG 4: Quality Education: Inclusive and equitable quality education at undergraduate (BSc) and postgraduate levels (MSc, PhD), including research training for increased employability.

SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure: Development of biomarkers relating to human health and disease, in aquaculture and wildlife research, partnering with academic and industrial partners in the UK and abroad.

SDG 12: Sustainable consumption and production patterns: Identification of fundamental pathways in fish immunity for the development of novel diagnostic markers for aquaculture.

SDG 13: Climate Action: Identification and development of biomarkers in wildlife with the aim to inform effects of environmental changes. Research into zoonotic diseases. including COVID-19.

SDG 14: Life below water: Novel biomarker discovery relating to immunity and environmental effects on aquatic  species in oceans and seas (fish, cetaceans, pinnipeds, seabirds, crustaceans, mussels) and marine resources (fish, crustaceans, mussels)

SDG 17: Partnership for the goals: I foster strong links with UK and International academic, clinical and industrial collaborators, as well as with student partners. 

I am an accredited Business Coach (Notion) and hold a MBA essentials certificate from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

As Professor of Molecular Pathobiology, I lead a pioneering cross-disciplinary research programme in Experimental Pathology and Pathobiology, with a focus on Peptidylarginine deiminases (PADs) and Extracellular Vesicles (EVs), elucidating novel mechanisms underpinning evolution of the immune system and fundamental pathobiological and physiological processes.

In my research I use in vitro human, in silico and in vivo comparative animal-models across the phylogeny tree, including in animal species with unusual immune and metabolic features such as resistance to cancer, ageing and hypoxia, as well as various models for neurodegenerative disease, tissue regeneration, and models of host-pathogen interactions and infection (including zoonotic disease and COVID-19), for the discovery of novel mechanisms underlying key concepts in the evolution of immune responses to inform human pathologies, for therapeutic and drug-directed strategies, for disease fingerprinting and biomarker discovery in human and animal health. I have strong collaborations with cross-disciplinary academic, clinical and industrial partners in the UK, USA, Canada, South-America and Europe.

Topics under investigation:

1. The role for PADs in shaping physiological processes and immunity across evolution

2. Extracellular vesicle fingerprinting across the phylogeny tree

3. Biomarker discovery for aquaculture and wild-life, including environmental effects

4. PADs and EVs in neurological disease, neuronal repair and regenerative medicine

5. PAD-mediated regulation of extracellular vesicles in cancer – novel therapeutic approaches using pharmacological PAD inhibitors

6. Extracellular vesicles in cellular communication using comparative and human models

7. Extracellular vesicles and PADs in host-pathogen co-evolution and interactions

8. PADs and novel molecular mechanisms in SARS-CoV-2 infection and zoonotic transmission

9. PADs and EVs in hypoxic pathways - using human cellular and comparative animal models

10. Extracellular vesicles as health index biomarkers for human health

11. Roles for PADs in bacterial membrane vesicle regulation and implications in antibiotic resistance

See associated publications to research in my group at Google Scholar and WestminsterResearch.

  • Pathobiology and Extracellular Vesicle Research Group
  • Centre for Resilience

Sustainable Development Goals
In brief

Research areas

Pathobiology, Experimental Pathology, Peptidylarginine deiminases, Extracellular vesicles, post-translational modifications, regeneration, immunity, complement system, host-pathogen interaction, cancer, central nervous system, neurodegeneration, ageing, comparative animal models, biomarkers discovery, aquaculture, evolution, One Health, One Medicine