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The Dakin Group undertakes translational research focusing on identifying the cellular and molecular basis of inflammatory fibrotic musculoskeletal diseases, with research programmes on tendinopathy and frozen shoulder. Understanding the cellular and molecular basis of these diseases will inform new therapeutic approaches targeting tissue resident stromal cells of the joint, to promote resolution of chronic inflammation and fibrosis.

Research Aims:

  • Identify the cellular & molecular basis of common soft tissue joint diseases 
  • Identify new therapeutic strategies to promote resolution of inflammatory soft tissue joint disease

Tendon Disease Programme

We have developed access to well-phenotyped patient cohorts and refined biopsy procedures, providing a platform to investigate the cellular basis of tendon disease. Our discoveries have catalysed a step change in understanding of how inflammation contributes to the development of chronic tendon disease, highlighting:

  1. Macrophages show complex activation states that change with disease stage
  2. Diseased tendon stromal cells show an activated pro-inflammatory phenotype and capacity for inflammation memory
  3. Diseased tendon stromal cells show dysregulated resolution responses

Potentiating resolution of tendon disease

Our studies reveal that tissue-resident stromal cells including macrophages and fibroblasts are pivotal populations driving chronic tendon inflammation. These cells represent untapped therapeutic targets in the treatment of tendinopathy. Resolution pharmacology provides a new therapeutic approach to harness the capacity of proresolving lipid mediators and their receptors to drive chronic tendon inflammation down a proresolving pathway. 

Frozen Shoulder programme

Frozen shoulder is a unique example of a chronic inflammatory fibrotic disease that almost always spontaneously resolves over time. This new programme of research will investigate the cellular basis of resolving inflammatory fibrosis, catalysing a step-change in our understanding of disease. The findings will advance healthcare via identification of effective new therapies to (1) accelerate resolution of frozen shoulder and (2) jump start other chronic inflammatory joint diseases down a resolving pathway.

To learn more about our ICECAP clinical study investigating Frozen Shoulder click here.

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See a list of our publications

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