Professor Ilaria Bellantuono MD, PhD

Academic Unit of Bone Biology
The University of Sheffield
D Floor, The Medical School
S10 2TA

Office: DU33

Tel: +44 (0)114 215 9037
Fax: +44 (0)114 271 1711
Secretary: Poppy Turner Tel: +44 (0)114 215 9068


I graduated with a MD degree from University of Pavia, Italy, in 1992 and completed a PhD in the Department of Experimental Haematology, Paterson Institute for Cancer Research, at the University of Manchester in 1998. I undertook post-doctoral training in the Department of Immunology, Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College. In 2001 I relocated to the Royal Manchester Children´s Hospital as senior scientist and was awarded an honorary lectureship in stem cell biology in 2002 at the University of Manchester. I was appointed Lecturer in Bone Biology at the University of Sheffield in 2005 and currently I am Professor in Musculoskeletal Ageing.

Research Interests

The focus of my research is on the Biology of Bone Marrow-Derived Stem Cells, both hematopoietic (HSC) and mesenchymal (MSC). We want to understand: (a) what changes bone marrow stem cells undergo with age; (b) whether those changes may be responsible for the development of diseases of older people such as myelodisplastic syndromes and rheumatoid arthritis and; (c) whether we can intervene by chemical intervention.

Teaching Interests

I am the Director of training for the new MRC-AR UK Centre for Integrated research into Musculoskeletal Ageing (CIMA). The Centre is a is a collaboration between the Universities of Liverpool, Newcastle and Sheffield and the training includes a MRes and PhD programme. I also contribute to the Student Selected Components of Phase 1a of the MBChB course.

Professional Activities

I head the Mellanby Centre skelet.AL laboratories (former Bone Analysis Laboratory), which in provides access and expertise to contemporary technologies for the analysis of bone to investigators, internally and externally. I am leading ShARM (Shared Ageing Research Models), a facility funded by Wellcome Trust, which provides immediate and cost effective access to aged murine models and their tissue. I am the Research Lead for the Department of Human Metabolism and a member of the Faculty Research and Innovation Committee, which oversees the Faculty strategic approach to Research and Innovation. I am a member of the BBSRC Bioscience Skills and Careers (BSC) Strategy Advisory Panel and I regularly take part to evaluations for FP7 calls.

Current Projects

  • Understanding the role cellular senescence in bone, what impact this has on stem cells and bone formation with age
  • Identification of interventions including small molecules able to delay stem cell ageing
  • Identification of pathologies which are a consequence of an accelerated stem cell ageing or of an abnormal ageing process. Our models are myelodyspalstic syndromes and rheumatoid arthritis

Key Publications

ST Mohanty, CJ Cairney, AD Chantry, S Madan, J Fernandes, SJ Howe, HD Moore, MJ Thompson, B Chen, A Thrasher, WN Keith, I Bellantuono A small molecule modulator of prion protein increases human mesenchymal stem cell lifespan, ex vivo expansion and engraftment to bone marrow in NOD/SCID mice, Stem Cells 30(6):1134-43, 2012

A Gambardella, C.K. Nagaraju, P.J. O’Shea, S.T. Mohanty, L. Kottam, J. Pilling M. Sullivan, M. Djerbi , W. Koopmann, P.I.Croucher and I Bellantuono. Glycogen synthase kinase-3α/β inhibition promotes in vivo amplification of endogenous mesenchymal progenitors with osteogenic and adipogenic potential and their differentiation to the osteogenic lineage JBMR 26(4):811-21, 2011

Mohanty, S.T., Kottam, L., Gambardella, A., Nicklin, M.J., Coulton, L., Hughes, D., Wilson, A.G., Croucher, P.I., and Bellantuono, I. (2010) Alterations in the self-renewal and differentiation ability of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells in a mouse model of rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Research and Therapy 12: R149

Cairney, C.J., Sanguinetti, G., Ranghini, E., Chantry, A.D., Nostro, M.C., Battacharyya, A., Svendsen, C.N., Keith, W.N., and Bellantuono, I. (2009) A System biology approach to Down Syndrome: identification of Notch/Wnt dysregulation in a model of stem cell aging. Biochimica et biophysica acta 1792: 353-363

Bellantuono, I., Aldahmash, A., and Kassem, M., (2009). Aging of marrow stromal stem cells and their contribution to age related bone loss. Biochimica et biophysica acta 1792: 364-370

Bellantuono, I and Keith, W. N., (2007) Stem cell ageing: does it happen and can we intervene? Expert Reviews in Molecular Medicine 9: 1-20

Holmes, D.K., Bates, N., Murray, M., Ladusans, E.J., Morabito, A., Bolton-Maggs, P.H., Johnston, T.A., Walkenshaw, S., Wynn, R.F., and Bellantuono, I. (2006) Hematopoietic progenitor cell deficiency in fetuses and children affected by Down's syndrome. Experimental Hematology 34: 1611-1615

Wynn, R.F., Hart, C.A., Corradi-Perini, C., O'Neill, L., Evans, C.A., Wraith, J.E., Fairbairn, L.J., and Bellantuono, I. (2004) A small proportion of mesenchymal stem cells strongly expresses functionally active CXCR4 receptor capable of promoting migration to bone marrow. Blood 104: 2643-2645

Baxter, M.A., Wynn, R.F., Jowitt, S.N., Wraith, J.E., Fairbairn, L.J., and Bellantuono, I. (2004) Study of telomere length reveals rapid aging of human marrow stromal cells following in vitro expansion. Stem Cells 22: 675-682

Campagnoli, C., Roberts, I.A., Kumar, S., Bennett, P.R., and Bellantuono, I. and Fisk, N.M. (2001) Identification of mesenchymal stem/progenitor cells in human first-trimester fetal blood, liver, and bone marrow. Blood 98: 2396-2402