Prof Helen Birch
InterestsProfessor Helen Birch's research interests are in skeletal tissues, particularly tendons and ligaments, and their dynamic nature. Her research team is interested in the immediate dynamic response to an applied load (mechanical properties) and the dynamic response over the longer term (tissue turnover), which occurs during adaptation and ageing. The team focuses primarily on the extracellular matrix, in particular the protein collagen, from a molecular level to the gross structure. The extracellular matrix is responsible for the immediate dynamic response of tendons, differs between tendons with different functional requirements (energy storing and positional tendons) and changes during ageing and in disease. Understanding the extracellular matrix in skeletal tissues is therefore fundamental to understanding the functioning of these complex structures in health and disease.