About us


An interdisciplinary research centre embedded within the Faculty of Life Sciences at The University of Manchester.

Research Themes

Vision: To determine the mechanisms underpinning how cell-matrix interactions control normal tissue formation and function, and how their disruption causes disease. 

For everyone


Join artists and scientists to discover, play and create together with your family this summer at the Whitworth.  Explore what makes us human and how living things respond to the world around them.  Look at the Whitworth with new eyes together with scientists and get closer than ever to our collections. Be inspired by patterns in art and nature to create your own colourful artworks to take home.  This event was drop-in and designed for all ages. 11am-3pm and will be held on Tuesday 26th July Read more

Our discoveries

Our core facilities

Our public engagement activities

Our research

Our publications

Latest News


Press release:   Qing-Jun Meng was interviewed by BBC Radio Stoke and his paper (see below) was highlighted by Nature Reviews Rheumatology.   Dudek, M., Yang, N., Ruckshanthi, J.P., Williams, J., Borysiewicz, E., Wang, P., Adamson, A., Li, J., Bateman, J.F., White, M.R., Boot-Handford, R.P., Hoyland, J.A. and Meng, Q.J. (2016) The intervertebral disc contains intrinsic circadian clocks that are regulated by age and cytokines and linked to degeneration. Ann Rheum Dis. published Online First on Read more

Upcoming events


Friday 30 September is European Researcher’s Night and for the second time Manchester Museum will be hosting Science Uncovered Manchester - a spectacular night showcasing Manchester’s finest researchers and their work for an adult audience. This year the Thornton Lab will be showcasing their research.  As well as research, there will be music, drinks and a lively atmosphere. Our participation in Science Uncovered event is funded by the Natural History Museum, who’ve hosted this event Read more

Latest Discoveries

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We have now identified a crucial molecular pathway by which Tregs dampen ongoing inflammation. Thus, expression of the cell surface molecule integrin αvβ8 is upregulated by Tregs that are themselves activated in the inflammatory environment, and this enables the Tregs to activate high levels of the cytokine TGFβ. This pathway is absolutely required for Tregs to dampen ongoing inflammation in mice, and also appears to be conserved in humans. We have therefore identified an important pathway by Read more


We have discovered that in addition to CCL5, CXCL8 and CXCL11, TSG-6 interacts with at least 7 other chemokines (i.e. CCL2, CCL7, CCL19, CCL21, CCL27, CXCL4, and CXCL12) including those involved in both homeostatic and inflammatory functions. TSG-6 interacts (via its Link module) with the GAG-binding site on the chemokines, thereby inhibiting the binding of chemokines to GAGs and their presentation on endothelial cells; TSG-6 also inhibits the binding of chemokines to collagen, providing another Read more