Welcome to the Cash lab website! We are located in the Centre for Inflammation Research in the Queen’s Medical Research Institute at Edinburgh University. Established in 2016, we use mouse and human models to understand the mechanisms that govern whether a skin wound will heal acutely or develop into a chronic non-healing wound. We employ next generation sequencing, digital spatial profiling, histology, multiphoton imaging, OCT, lipidomics and flow cytometry to understand the steps involved in skin healing versus repair failure. We particularly focus on the response of immune cells, including macrophages, neutrophils and mast cells, to skin injury in our preclinical mouse models and human wound biopsies. We are also exploring whether pro-resolving pathways can be harnessed to drive healing, including rescue of chronic wounds.
The overarching goal of our translational, multi-disciplinary program is to develop novel therapeutic strategies to promote skin healing.
See our individual project pages under the Research tab for more information.
A bit about me
I graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in Pharmacology (with Industrial Experience) in 2005. I was then awarded a British Heart Foundation DPhil studentship to identify novel endogenous anti-inflammatory pathways at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, Oxford University, with Professor David Greaves. I have many fond memories of my DPhil and found the lab to be a supportive, fun environment to work in. My research resulted in the discovery that a protein, chemerin, undergoes proteolytic processing by activated macrophages to generate peptides with dual anti-inflammatory and pro-resolving properties. Chemerin-derived peptides are under international patent and undergoing a clinical trial to treat skin inflammation. On completion of my DPhil in 2009, I was awarded the prestigious Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship for 4 years. I divided my time between Professor Mauro Perretti’s lab (William Harvey Research Institute, London), Professor Paul Kubes lab (Calgary University, Canada) and Professor Paul Martins lab (Bristol University). During this period I learnt specialised intravital microscopy techniques and developed a keen interest in wound healing, finding that chemerin peptide C15 can accelerate skin repair with reduced scarring and inhibit neutrophil integrin activation to reduce their recruitment to a site of inflammation.
I was subsequently awarded a 1 year Elizabeth Blackwell Early Career Research Fellowship by Bristol University/Wellcome ISSF, which provided me with the time and funds to pursue setting up my own lab. I was able to establish a clinically relevant mouse model of human chronic wounds and multiphoton imaging of skin repair processes in the mouse. I ultimately secured a Chancellors Fellowship (University of Edinburgh) and a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust/Royal Society to establish my lab within the Centre for Inflammation Research at the University of Edinburgh in August 2016.