Professor Rosemary Fricker

Title: Professor in Neurobiology, Director of Medical Science
Phone: +44 (0)1782 734732
Email: r.a.fricker@keele.ac.uk
Location: Room 1.06 David Weatherall Building
Role: ISTM Research theme: Regenerative Medicine
Year 5 Scientific Lead for Keele MBChB
Contacting me: Try my office or arrange an appointment by e-mail
rose fricker

I completed my BSc in Applied Biology at Bath University in 1991. From there I moved to Cambridge University to undertake a PhD, investigating factors affecting the survival and function of neural transplants for use in Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Huntington’s disease (HD). In 1995 I moved to the University of Lund, Sweden, to undertake a postdoctoral position, developing neural stem cells for transplantation in HD and PD. In 1998 I travelled to Harvard Medical School and spent two years investigating the potential of neural transplants in the cortex. I returned to the UK in 2000, and held a Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellowship, with my research group based at Cardiff University.

In January 2005, I moved to Keele as a lecturer in the new Medical School, and in the School of Life Sciences. In the Medical School my roles have included Year 1 lead for Curriculum 2007, Theme lead for Doctor as a Scholar and Scientist Theme, and Deputy Chair of student Progress and Health and Conduct committees.

I am Principal Investigator of a research group within the Medical School / Institute for Science and Technology in Medicine at the University, and my research focuses on stem cell therapies for neurodegenerative diseases, in particular the role of vitamins in brain development and repair, and the bioengineering of neural circuits for therapeutics testing.

I became a Senior Lecturer in 2008 and was promoted to Reader in 2012 and to Professor of Neurobiology in 2016.

ISTM Research theme: Regenerative Medicine

My group currently focuses on the characterisation of immature stem/progenitor cells and their ability for neuronal differentiation and axonal growth, both in vitro and in vivo. We work with neural stem cells and embryonic stem cells and our research aims to discover extrinsic factors that govern neuronal differentiation. Our goal is to derive dopaminergic neurons for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, and GABAergic neurons for the treatment and investigation of Huntington’s disease.

Using state-of-the-art proteomics techniques we have identified novel signalling molecules that influence the development of midbrain dopaminergic neurons. With cell culture and targeted transplantation studies, we aim to tease out to what extent these signals drive stem cell differentiation.

Blazing neurons
Blazing Neurons (George Joseph)

My research group’s current focus is the role of vitamins in neural development and brain repair. Our work on the vitamin D3 metabolite, calcitriol, shows that it is a key neuroprotective agent for dopamine neurons, acting through upregulation of glial derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF). Other work on the vitamin B3 metabolite, nicotinamide, has shown that this small signaling molecule is fundamental in driving stem cells towards a neural lineage and accelerating their development to yield higher numbers of neurons, specifically dopamine neurons. We believe that both these vitamins hold potential for further exploration for clinical therapies for Parkinson’s disease.

Rosemary Fricker Nerve Superhighway 265x149 2016
Nerve Superhighway (Rowan Orme)

In addition, in collaboration with Dr Paul Roach in ISTM, we are developing a microfluidic device to allow us to re-create in vitro functional neuronal circuitries to serve as models of neurodegenerative disease. We are using chemical and topographical cues to fabricate biomaterial substrates that influence neuronal differentiation and direct axonal elongation; and we aim to generate stem cell-derived neuronal circuits that will serve as state-of-the-art models of neural degeneration, for the advancement of in vitro testing of emerging technologies in regenerative medicine.

Rosemary Fricker Sile Griffin Posters 200x149 2016
Síle Griffin at her prize-winning poster: The role of vitamin B3 in the conversion of stem cells to neurons

External to Keele I have been a member of Parkinson’s UK Research Advisory Panel since 2009. I am on the Editorial Board of NeuroReport, and was Editor-in-Chief 2012-14. I was inaugural External Examiner for Bristol University’s Masters in Stem Cells and Regeneration degree programme 2010-13. I have examined over 15 PhD students either as an external examiner or internal to Keele and am a supervisor in Keele’s Doctoral Training Centre in Regenerative Medicine, run in collaboration with Loughborough and Nottingham Universities.

Selected Publications

  • Bagga V, Dunnett SB, Fricker RA. 2015. The 6-OHDA mouse model of Parkinson's disease - Terminal striatal lesions provide a superior measure of neuronal loss and replacement than median forebrain bundle lesions. Behav Brain Res, vol. 288, 107-117. link> doi>
  • Fricker RA, Orme R, Bhangal M. Calcitriol imparts neuroprotection to midbrain dopaminergic neurons through up-regulation of GDNF.
  • Griffin SM, Pickard MR, Orme RP, Hawkins CP, Williams AC, Fricker RA. 2017. Nicotinamide alone accelerates the conversion of mouse embryonic stem cells into mature neuronal populations. PLoS One, vol. 12(8), e0183358. link> doi>
  • Williams A, Griffin S, Pickard M, Fricker R. 2016. Nicotinamide: A Key Player in the Developmental Origins of Parkinson's Disease?. NEUROLOGY (vol. 86). link>
  • Orme RP, Middleditch C, Waite L, Fricker RA. 2015. The Role of Vitamin D₃ in the Development and Neuroprotection of Midbrain Dopamine Neurons. Vitamins and hormones, vol. 100, 273-297. doi>

Full Publications List show

Journal Articles

  • Griffin SM, Pickard MR, Orme RP, Hawkins CP, Williams AC, Fricker RA. 2017. Nicotinamide alone accelerates the conversion of mouse embryonic stem cells into mature neuronal populations. PLoS One, vol. 12(8), e0183358. link> doi>
  • Orme RP, Middleditch C, Waite L, Fricker RA. 2015. The Role of Vitamin D₃ in the Development and Neuroprotection of Midbrain Dopamine Neurons. Vitamins and hormones, vol. 100, 273-297. doi>
  • Roach P, Kamudzandu M, Yang Y, Fricker R. 2015. Nanofibrous scaffolds supporting optimal central nervous system regeneration: an evidence-based review. Journal of Neurorestoratology, vol. 2015(3), 123-131. doi>
  • Bagga V, Dunnett SB, Fricker RA. 2015. The 6-OHDA mouse model of Parkinson's disease - Terminal striatal lesions provide a superior measure of neuronal loss and replacement than median forebrain bundle lesions. Behav Brain Res, vol. 288, 107-117. link> doi>
  • Kamudzandu M, Yang Y, Roach P, Fricker RA. 2015. Efficient alignment of primary CNS neurites using structurally engineered surfaces and biochemical cues. RSC ADVANCES, vol. 5(28), 22053-22059. link> doi>
  • Griffin SM, Pickard MR, Orme RP, Hawkins CP, Fricker RA. 2013. Nicotinamide promotes neuronal differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells in vitro. Neuroreport, vol. 24(18), 1041-1046. link> doi>
  • Lane EL, Dunnett SB, Fricker RA. 2013. The 12th International Symposium on Neural Transplantation and Restoration. Neuroreport, vol. 24(18), 997-999. link> doi>
  • Balami JS, Fricker RA, Chen R. 2013. Stem cell therapy for ischaemic stroke: translation from preclinical studies to clinical treatment. CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets, vol. 12(2), 209-219. link> doi>
  • Orme RP, Bhangal MS, Fricker RA. 2013. Calcitriol imparts neuroprotection in vitro to midbrain dopaminergic neurons by upregulating GDNF expression. PLoS One, vol. 8(4), e62040. link> doi>
  • Chan A, Orme RP, Fricker RA, Roach P. 2013. Remote and local control of stimuli responsive materials for therapeutic applications. Adv Drug Deliv Rev, vol. 65(4), 497-514. link> doi>
  • Shin E, Forsyth N, Fricker RA. Physiologic oxygen levels increase the differentiation and maturation of GABAergic neurons derived from mouse embryonic stem cells. Stem Cells Studies.
  • Fricker RA, Kuiper JH, Gates MA. 2012. Transplanting intact donor tissue enhances dopamine cell survival and the predictability of motor improvements in a rat model of Parkinson's disease. PLoS One, vol. 7(10), e47169. link> doi>
  • Shin E, Palmer MJ, Li M, Fricker RA. 2012. GABAergic neurons from mouse embryonic stem cells possess functional properties of striatal neurons in vitro, and develop into striatal neurons in vivo in a mouse model of Huntington's disease. Stem Cell Rev, vol. 8(2), 513-531. link> doi>
  • Fricker RA. Models in Parkinson’s research: Are we addressing the right questions?. Advances in Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation.
  • Orme RP, Gates MA, Fricker-Gates RA. 2010. A multiplexed quantitative proteomics approach for investigating protein expression in the developing central nervous system. J Neurosci Methods, vol. 191(1), 75-82. link> doi>
  • Fricker-Gates RA and Gates MA. 2010. Stem cell-derived dopamine neurons for brain repair in Parkinson's disease. Regen Med, vol. 5(2), 267-278. link> doi>
  • Orme R, Fricker-Gates RA, Gates MA. 2009. Ontogeny of substantia nigra dopamine neurons. J Neural Transm Suppl, 3-18. link> doi>
  • Bagga V, Dunnett SB, Fricker-Gates RA. 2008. Ascorbic acid increases the number of dopamine neurons in vitro and in transplants to the 6-OHDA-lesioned rat brain. Cell Transplant, vol. 17(7), 763-773. link> doi>
  • Fricker-Gates RA. 2006. Radial glia: a changing role in the central nervous system. Neuroreport, vol. 17(11), 1081-1084. link> doi>
  • Gates MA, Torres EM, White A, Fricker-Gates RA, Dunnett SB. 2006. Re-examining the ontogeny of substantia nigra dopamine neurons. Eur J Neurosci, vol. 23(5), 1384-1390. link> doi>
  • Gates MA, Coupe VM, Torres EM, Fricker-Gates RA, Dunnett SB. 2004. Spatially and temporally restricted chemoattractive and chemorepulsive cues direct the formation of the nigro-striatal circuit. Eur J Neurosci, vol. 19(4), 831-844. link> doi>
  • Fricker-Gates RA, White A, Gates MA, Dunnett SB. 2004. Striatal neurons in striatal grafts are derived from both post-mitotic cells and dividing progenitors. Eur J Neurosci, vol. 19(3), 513-520. link> doi>
  • Fricker-Gates RA, Muir JA, Dunnett SB. 2004. Transplanted hNT cells ("LBS neurons") in a rat model of huntington's disease: good survival, incomplete differentiation, and limited functional recovery. Cell Transplant, vol. 13(2), 123-136. link> doi>
  • Hughes AC, Errington RJ, Fricker-Gates RA, Jones L. 2004. Endophilin A3 forms filamentous structures which colocalise with microtubules but not actin filaments. Molecular Brain Research, vol. 128(2), 182-192. doi>
  • Smith R, Bagga V, Fricker-Gates RA. 2003. Embryonic neural progenitor cells: the effects of species, region, and culture conditions on long-term proliferation and neuronal differentiation. J Hematother Stem Cell Res, vol. 12(6), 713-725. link> doi>
  • Fricker-Gates RA, Smith R, Muhith J, Dunnett SB. 2003. The role of pretraining on skilled forelimb use in an animal model of Huntington's disease. Cell Transplant, vol. 12(3), 257-264. link> doi>
  • Fricker-Gates RA, Lewis J, Baird AL, Dunnett SB. 2002. Survival and differentiation of LBS neurons after transplantation in a rat model of Huntington's disease. EXPERIMENTAL NEUROLOGY, vol. 175(2), 431. link>
  • Smith R, Fricker-Gates RA, Muhith J, Dunnett SB. 2002. The role of pretraining on skilled forelimb use after striatal neuron loss. EXPERIMENTAL NEUROLOGY, vol. 175(2), 444. link>
  • FRICKER-GATES RA, Macklis JD, Shin JJ, Tai CC. 2002. Late-Stage Immature Neocortical Neurons Reconstruct Interhemispheric Connections and Form Synaptic Contacts with Increased Efficiency in Adult Mouse Cortex Undergoing Targeted Neurodegeneration. Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 22(10), 4045-4056. link>
  • Fricker-Gates RA, Shin JJ, Tai CC, Catapano LA, Macklis JD. 2002. Late-stage immature neocortical neurons reconstruct interhemispheric connections and form synaptic contacts with increased efficiency in adult mouse cortex undergoing targeted neurodegeneration. J Neurosci, vol. 22(10), 4045-4056. link>
  • Fricker-Gates RA and Dunnett SB. 2002. Rewiring the Parkinsonian brain. Nat Med, vol. 8(2), 105-106. link> doi>
  • Englund U, Fricker-Gates RA, Lundberg C, Björklund A, Wictorin K. 2002. Transplantation of human neural progenitor cells into the neonatal rat brain: extensive migration and differentiation with long-distance axonal projections. Exp Neurol, vol. 173(1), 1-21. link> doi>
  • Fricker-Gates R. 2001. New steps in combating the prions. NEUROREPORT, vol. 12(14), A85-A86. link>
  • Fricker-Gates R. 2001. Rival vaccines for Alzheimer's disease. NEUROREPORT, vol. 12(14), A85. link>
  • Fricker-Gates R. 2001. Food dependence - It's all in the mind!. NEUROREPORT, vol. 12(12), A72. link> doi>
  • Fricker-Gates RA, Lundberg C, Dunnett SB. 2001. Neural transplantation: restoring complex circuitry in the striatum. Restor Neurol Neurosci, vol. 19(1-2), 119-138. link>
  • Fricker-Gates RA. 2000. Axonal growth - from outside or within?. NEUROREPORT, vol. 11(18), F19-F20. link> doi>
  • Fricker-Gates R. 2000. Three neuroscientists to share Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine. Neuroreport, vol. 11(17), A13. link>
  • Gates MA, Fricker-Gates RA, Magavi SS, Macklis JD. 2000. Cellular repair of complex cortical circuitry. NEUROSCIENTIST, vol. 6(5), 326-337. link> doi>
  • Fricker-Gates RA, Winkler C, Kirik D, Rosenblad C, Carpenter MK, Björklund A. 2000. EGF infusion stimulates the proliferation and migration of embryonic progenitor cells transplanted in the adult rat striatum. Exp Neurol, vol. 165(2), 237-247. link> doi>
  • Shin JJ, Fricker-Gates RA, Perez FA, Leavitt BR, Zurakowski D, Macklis JD. 2000. Transplanted neuroblasts differentiate appropriately into projection neurons with correct neurotransmitter and receptor phenotype in neocortex undergoing targeted projection neuron degeneration. J Neurosci, vol. 20(19), 7404-7416. link>
  • Englund U, Fricker RA, Lundberg C, Bjorklund A, Wictorin K. 2000. Comparison of the integration, migration and differentiation of human neural progenitor cells after transplantation into either the embryonic, neonatal or adult rat brain. EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE, vol. 12, 292. link>
  • Gates MA, Fricker-Gates RA, Macklis JD. 2000. Reconstruction of cortical circuitry. Prog Brain Res, vol. 127, 115-156. link> doi>
  • Fricker RA, Carpenter MK, Winkler C, Greco C, Gates MA, Björklund A. 1999. Site-specific migration and neuronal differentiation of human neural progenitor cells after transplantation in the adult rat brain. J Neurosci, vol. 19(14), 5990-6005. link>
  • Englund U, Fricker RA, Eyes EM, Rosner MR, Victorin K. 1998. Transplantation of the conditionally immortalized hippocampal cell line H19-7 into the adult and neonatal rat striatum and hippocampus. EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE, vol. 10, 334. link>
  • Winkler C, Fricker RA, Gates MA, Olsson M, Hammang JP, Carpenter MK, Björklund A. 1998. Incorporation and glial differentiation of mouse EGF-responsive neural progenitor cells after transplantation into the embryonic rat brain. Mol Cell Neurosci, vol. 11(3), 99-116. link> doi>
  • Carpenter MK, Winkler C, Fricker R, Emerich DF, Wong SC, Greco C, Chen EY, Chu Y, Kordower JH, Messing A, Björklund A, Hammang JP. 1997. Generation and transplantation of EGF-responsive neural stem cells derived from GFAP-hNGF transgenic mice. Exp Neurol, vol. 148(1), 187-204. link> doi>
  • Kordower JH, Chen EY, Winkler C, Fricker R, Charles V, Messing A, Mufson EJ, Wong SC, Rosenstein JM, Björklund A, Emerich DF, Hammang J, Carpenter MK. 1997. Grafts of EGF-responsive neural stem cells derived from GFAP-hNGF transgenic mice: trophic and tropic effects in a rodent model of Huntington's disease. J Comp Neurol, vol. 387(1), 96-113. link> doi>
  • Fricker RA, Torres EM, Dunnett SB. 1997. The effects of donor stage on the survival and function of embryonic striatal grafts in the adult rat brain. I. Morphological characteristics. Neuroscience, vol. 79(3), 695-710. link> doi>
  • Fricker RA, Torres EM, Hume SP, Myers R, Opacka-Juffrey J, Ashworth S, Brooks DJ, Dunnett SB. 1997. The effects of donor stage on the survival and function of embryonic striatal grafts in the adult rat brain. II. Correlation between positron emission tomography and reaching behaviour. Neuroscience, vol. 79(3), 711-721. link> doi>
  • Fricker RA, Barker RA, Fawcett JW, Dunnett SB. 1996. A comparative study of preparation techniques for improving the viability of striatal grafts using vital stains, in vitro cultures, and in vivo grafts. Cell Transplant, vol. 5(6), 599-611. link> doi>
  • Hume SP, Lammertsma AA, Myers R, Rajeswaran S, Bloomfield PM, Ashworth S, Fricker RA, Torres EM, Watson I, Jones T. 1996. The potential of high-resolution positron emission tomography to monitor striatal dopaminergic function in rat models of disease. J Neurosci Methods, vol. 67(2), 103-112. link> doi>
  • Brundin P, Fricker RA, Nakao N. 1996. Paucity of P-zones in striatal grafts prohibit commencement of clinical trials in Huntington's disease. Neuroscience, vol. 71(3), 895-897. link> doi>
  • Fricker RA, Annett LE, Torres EM, Dunnett SB. 1996. The placement of a striatal ibotenic acid lesion affects skilled forelimb use and the direction of drug-induced rotation. Brain Res Bull, vol. 41(6), 409-416. link> doi>
  • Torres EM, Fricker RA, Hume SP, Myers R, Opacka-Juffry J, Ashworth S, Brooks DJ, Dunnett SB. 1995. Assessment of striatal graft viability in the rat in vivo using a small diameter PET scanner. Neuroreport, vol. 6(15), 2017-2021. link> doi>
  • FRICKER RA, TORRES EM, LOMBROSO PJ, DUNNETT SB. 1995. THE LOCALIZATION OF AN ANTIBODY TO STEP IN STRIATAL TISSUE GRAFTS (VOL 5, PG 2638, 1994). NEUROREPORT, vol. 6(7), 1072. link>
  • Barker RA, Fricker RA, Abrous DN, Fawcett J, Dunnett SB. 1995. A comparative study of preparation techniques for improving the viability of nigral grafts using vital stains, in vitro cultures, and in vivo grafts. Cell Transplant, vol. 4(2), 173-200. link> doi>
  • Fricker RA, Torres EM, Lombroso PJ, Dunnett SB. 1994. The localization of an antibody to STEP in embryonic striatal tissue grafts. Neuroreport, vol. 5(18), 2638-2640. link> doi>
  • Kamudzandu M, Evans MG, Fricker RA, Roach P. A Micro-fabricated in vitro Platform to Model Complex Neuronal Functionality of a Central Nervous System Circuit. Lab on a Chip.
  • Fricker RA, Orme R, Bhangal M. Calcitriol imparts neuroprotection to midbrain dopaminergic neurons through up-regulation of GDNF.

Chapters

  • FRICKER-GATES RA. 2006. Neural Transplantation. In Handbook of Experimental Neurology: Methods and Techniques in Animal Research. Tatlisumak T and Fisher M (Eds.). Cambridge University Press.
  • FRICKER-GATES RA. 2006. Neural Transplantation. In Handbook of Experimental Neurology: Methods and Techniques in Animal Research. Tatlisumak T and Fisher M (Eds.). Cambridge University Press.
  • FRICKER-GATES RA, Dunnett SB, Torres EM, Gates MA. 2006. Neural Transplantation. In Handbook of Experimental Neurology: Methods and Techniques in Animal Research. Tatlisumak T and Fisher M (Eds.). Cambridge University Press.
  • FRICKER-GATES RA, Wictorin K, Campbell K, Olsson M. 1999. Cell and tissue transplantation. In Modern Techniques in Neuroscience Research. Windhorst U and Johansson H (Eds.). Springer.
  • FRICKER-GATES RA, Barker RA, Dunnett SB. 1994. Factors important in the survival of dopaminergic neurons in intracerebal grafts of substantia nigra. In Providing Pharmacological Access to the Brain. Flanagan TR, Emerich DF, Winn SR (Eds.). Academic Press, Orlando, Florida.
  • FRICKER-GATES RA, Bjorklund A, Campbell K, Sirinathsinghji DJS, Dunnett SB. 1994. Functional capacity of striatal transplants in the rat Huntington model. In Functional Neural Transplantation. Dunnett SB and Bjorklund A (Eds.). Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Other

  • Williams A, Griffin S, Pickard M, Fricker R. 2016. Nicotinamide: A Key Player in the Developmental Origins of Parkinson's Disease?. NEUROLOGY (vol. 86). link>
  • Griffin S, Pickard M, Orme R, Hawkins C, Williams A, Chari D, Fricker R. 2014. THE INFLUENCE OF NICOTINAMIDE ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF NEURONS. JOURNAL OF NEUROLOGY NEUROSURGERY AND PSYCHIATRY (vol. 85). link> doi>
  • Fricker-Gates RA, Muir JA, Dunnett SB. 2003. Transplanted hNT cells ('LBS neurons') in a rat model of Huntington's disease: Good survival, incomplete differentiation, and no functional recovery. CELL TRANSPLANTATION (vol. 12, pp. 317-318). link>
  • MBChB Theme Lead – Doctor as a Scholar and Scientist (2012- )
  • MBChB 1st year Undergraduate Medical Degree Year 5 Scientific Lead (2012-15)
  • MBChB 1st year Undergraduate Medical Degree Year 1 Lead (2007-12)
  • MBChB Modules 1 and 2 (years 1 and 2)
  • LSC-10024 Ethical issues in the Biosciences
  • PHA-10012 Ethical issues in the Biosciences for pharmacy students
  • PHA 20004 Principles of Pharmacology LSC-30014 Biomedical Sciences Dissertation Projects
  • LSC-30015 Biology of Disease
  • LSC-30020 Neurobiology of Disease
  • LSC-30021 Final Year Project for Neuroscience
  • LSC-30023 Neuroscience Dissertation Projects

Research Team:
Current postdocs:
Munya Kamudzandu. Project: Fabrication of a microfluidic device to create functional basal ganglia circuitry in vitro.

Current students:
Matthew Dunn – Project: Optimisation of an in vitro microfluidic circuit to model Huntington’s and Parkinson’s diseases .
George Joseph – Project: Computational methods to model neural stem cell responses to defined surface chemistries.

Former PhD students/postdocs:
Síle Griffin – Project: Directing stem cell differentiation towards a neuronal fate using nicotinamide.
Rowan Orme - Projects: Identification of novel signaling molecules involved in the development of midbrain dopamine neurons. The role of calcitriol in the development and neuroprotection of midbrain dopamine neurons.
Rupert Wright – Project: Driving the responses of neural stem cells using defined surface chemistries.
Eunju Shin – Project: Generation of functional GABAergic neurons from mouse embryonic stem cells for transplantation to a model of Huntington’s disease.
Veejay Bagga – Project: Manipulation of precursor cells for the replacement of complex circuitry lost in neurodegenerative disease.