Ryan uses primary cell models (donated healthy live cells) and tissue samples from patients to investigate the cellular genetic workings of blood disorders and cancer. He tends to collect the RNA produced when genes are switched on and off, using cutting edge techniques to collect the sequences of these genes or uses microarray technologies to profile them. From this information he can identify key genes in a disease and use RNA interference technologies to switch variations of these genes off, inhibiting the production of controlling proteins for potential treatments in that disease.

As these RNA and protein molecules change in diseases we can use these changes to diagnose and help in clinical prognosis. Ryan has worked on novel sensor technologies to make such systems clinically acceptable, quicker and more sensitive.

 

Examples of disease work:

Manipulating gene switching in Sickle Cell Anaemia as a potential treatment; Dr D Carter, NCRNA and Chromatin Research Group, Oxford Brookes University

Artificially growing blood donated by healthy volunteers as a model for investigating red blood cell formation. Working in collaboration with a team at The Babraham Institute, Cambridge, researching the role of intergenic transcription and non-coding RNA in the silencing of genes, and their knockdown as a potential therapy for Sickle Cell Anaemia. Kindly supported by Sparks Charity. Paper submitted and work is on-going before further publication.

Identifying NCRNA involved in drug resistance of womens cancers; Dr D Carter, NCRNA and Chromatin Research Group, Oxford Brookes University

Working in collaboration with Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College, London and using high throughput sequencing and designing microarrays to identify novel non-coding genes in drug resistance on cell models, their micro vesicles and patient tissue samples. Using RNAi techniques to examine these pathways further.  Kindly supported by Cancer and Polio Charity. Findings about to be published.

 

Examples of Sensor technologies work:

EU Cancer Sensor Development Project; Prof AC Woodman @Cranfield Health Industrial contracts, UK/ Siemens, Germany/ VTI Technologies, Finland

Worked with five other European research groups on the €6 million development of a point of care prostate and breast cancer test system based on gene and protein changes during tumour progression. Adapting and validating the system to work with different clinical samples and how it can be implemented. Work not in the public domain due to patent issues.

Novel biosensor for gene detection; Prof D Cullen – Cranfield Health Industrial contracts

Developing a new biosensor for ultra sensitive gene detection utilising laser technologies. Much of this involved optimising fluidics of the system, sample validation, gene probe tests and automated user interfaces. Work not in the public domain as part of a patent application.

 

Education:

Cancer biology PhD – Molecular Basis for Maize as a Risk Factor for Oesophageal Cancer in a South African Population – Prof. A.C.Woodman and Dr T. Bailey, Cranfield University.

Investigating how the diet in this target population can pre-dispose people to squamous cell carcinoma through the modulation of cell biomarkers such as COX-2, PGE2, EGFR and VEGF. This involved a period of living in developing South Africa, investigating the local population, collecting samples and setting up cell culture and molecular biology labs. Publication below.

Medical Diagnostics M.Sc. Cranfield Biomedical Centre

This course covered a wide range of different techniques and technologies, both theory and practice of all genres including molecular and proteomics. This looked at disease detection of everything from lateral flow assays to MRI scanners. I specialised in Cancer and HIV.

Thesis title: “The development and application of a novel automated CO2 enzyme sensor for the determination of urea concentration in human samples”. This was designing a complete sensor set up and design (user interface, CAD designs, mechanics, pumps, mixing, washing, sample input etc) for the sensing of urea levels in urine for various medical conditions.

Physiology and Pharmacology  B.Sc. (Hons) – Nottingham Trent University

This was a practical course investigating the action of many genres of pharmaceuticals in and out of the body, drug manufacture and laboratory methods. The third year thesis was based on “The physiological affects of sleep deprivation.”

 

Other responsibilities and training:

  • Molecular Biology Lab manager: Taught molecular biology practical lab skills to BSc/MSc courses and safe running of the labs. Have gas-handling certificate.
  • Biological Safety Officer: Sample ethics, storage and use – NEBOSH NGC Occupation Health and Safety qualified and Risk Assessment training.

 

Selected Science Lectures:

Healthcare and Design workshops with Interactive design course, London College of Communication, University Arts London – Developed and delivered workshops that investigate innovation in the design and functionality of healthcare diagnosis, monitoring and treatment.

Cancer Diagnosis and technologies for an MSc at Cranfield University.

Career in Science Research, Biochemisty of the Cell Module, Molecular Technics for an MSc & BSc at Oxford Brookes University.

 

Publications:

Pink RC, Samuel P, Massa D, Caley DP, Brooks SA, Carter DR. 2015. The passenger strand, miR-21-3p, plays a role in mediating cisplatin resistance in ovarian cancer cells. Gynecol Oncol. PMID: 25579119

Mulcahy LA, Pink RC, Carter DR. 2014. Routes and mechanisms of extracellular vesicle uptake. J Extracell Vesicles. PMID: 25143819

Carter JM, Baker SC, Pink RC, Carter DR, Collins A, Tomlin J, Gibbs M and Breuker CJ. 2013. Unscrambling butterfly oogenesis BMC Genomics. PMID: 23622113

Jacobs LA, Bewicke-Copley F, Poolman MG, Pink RC, Mulcahy LA, Baker I, Beaman EM, Brooks T, Caley DP, Cowling W, Currie JM, Horsburgh J, Kenehan L, Keyes E, Leite D, Massa D, McDermott-Rouse A, Samuel P, Wood H, Kadhim M, Carter DR. 2013 Meta-analysis using a novel database, miRStress, reveals miRNAs that are frequently associated with the radiation and hypoxia stress-responses. PLoS One. PMID: 24244721

Foster H, Davies J, Pink RC, Turckigdem S, Goumenou A, Carter DR, Saunders N, Thomas P, Karteris E. 2013. The human myometrium differentially expresses mTOR signalling components before and during pregnancy: Evidence for regulation by progesterone. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. Available online, In Press. PMID: 23541542

Pink RC, Carter DR. 2013. Pseudogenes as regulators of biological function. Biochemical Society Essays Biochem: The Role of Non-Coding RNAs in Biology Book chapter. PMID: 23829530

Al-Mayah AH, Irons SL, Pink RC, Carter DR, Kadhim M. 2012. Possible role of exosomes containing RNA in mediating nontargeted effect of ionizing radiation. Radiation Research 177(5):539-45 PMID:22612287.

Mitchell WA, Pink RC & Aspinall R. 2012. Immunosenescence and the 3Rs: Restoration, Replacement and Reprogramming Birkhäuser Advances in Infectious Diseases: Immunosenescence. Book Chapter. (http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-0346-0219-8_9?null)

Pink RC, Bailey TA, Iputo JE, Sammon AM, Woodman AC, Carter DR. 2011. Molecular Basis for Maize as a Risk Factor for Oesophageal Cancer in a South African Population via a Prostaglandin E2 positive feedback mechanism. Nutr Cancer 63(5). p714-721. PMID: 21667399

Pink RC, Wicks K, Caley DP, Punch EK, Jacobs L, Carter DR. 2011. Pseudogenes: pseudo-functional or key regulators in health and disease? RNA 17(5). p792-798. PMID: 21398401

Pink RC, Eskiw CH, Caley DP, Carter DR. 2010. Analysis of beta-globin chromatin micro-environment using a novel 3C variant, 4Cv. PLoS ONE 5(9) PMID: 20927371

Caley DP, Pink RC, Trujillano D, Carter DR. 2010. Long Coding RNAs, Chromatin and development. Scientific World Journal (10) p90-102. PMID: 20062956

WA Mitchell, RC Pink & R Aspinall. 2008. Biology of immune responses to vaccines in older people: Vaccines in practice J.

Abstract (poster) – Molecular basis for maize as a risk factor for oesophageal cancer in a South African population (Mar 2012-  SET for Science conference, House of Commons, London, UK.

Abstract (Poster) – Molecular basis for maize as a risk factor for oesophageal cancer in a South African population via a prostaglandin E2 positive feedback mechanism (Oct 2008) – NRCI Cancer Conference, Birmingham, UK.

Abstract (Poster) – Biognosis – Development of a novel point of care diagnostic for cancer detection (Oct 2008) – NRCI Cancer Conference, Birmingham, UK.

Abstract (Poster) – Biognosis – Development of a novel point of care diagnostic for cancer detection (May 2008) – Multistrand Conference, Cranfield, UK.

Abstract (Poster) – Molecular Basis for Maize as a Risk Factor for Oesophageal Cancer in a South African Population (April 2005) – AACR, Los Angeles, USA.