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Sarah Snelling

MBiochem DPhil

Associate Professor

  • Senior Scientific Officer, NIHR Biomedical Research Centre Musculoskeletal theme


Sarah Snelling leads the Soft Tissue Repair Group in NDORMS. She leads the CZI Tendon Seed Network and Ancestrally Inclusive Musculoskeletal Single-Cell Network and is a lecturer in Biomedicine at St Hilda's College, Oxford. Sarah is also the Musculoskeletal Biological Network coordinator for the Human Cell Atlas.

Sarah received an MBiochem from the department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford before moving to the Botnar Institute, NDORMS to pursue a DPhil in the genetics and functionality of osteoarthritis. Since then her work has expanded to utilise deep understanding of the cellular composition of our bodies to address critical unmet clinical needs in the repair of soft and hard musculoskeletal tissues.

Research Summary

When musculoskeletal tissues become critically damaged by disease or injury surgery pharmacologic treatments are limited or non-existent, and surgery is often the only option.  Despite improvements in surgical techniques it is common for repairs to fail either structurally or biologically. Without a full understanding of the cellular basis of tissue health and disease, effective pharmacologic, surgical or combined treatment strategies will remain elusive. 

Sarah utilises next generation sequencing approaches to interrogate and characterise the cellular and molecular signatures of healthy and diseased musculoskeletal tissues including tendon, ligament and bone. These signatures enable the identification of key cell types and molecules that drive tissue health and disease, and the response of our tissues to surgery. The tissue atlases delivered by Sarah's team also provide essential metrics for evaluation and testing of pharmacologic and implant-based surgical treatments. 

Diseases studied by Sarah's group include tendinopathies, ligament disease, joint infection, osteoarthritis and fracture.

Key publications

Recent publications

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