Sheffield Institute for
Translational Neuroscience

Dr Claire Garwood, PhD

Alzheimer’s Society Junior Research Fellow, University of Sheffield

Research Interests

My research is focused on understanding the role of astrocytes in neurodegeneration, particularly their contribution to Alzheimer’s disease development and progression.  In particular I am investigating how alterations in specific astrocytic signalling pathways compromises their function and their ability to support neurons.

Current Projects

  • Consequences of impaired insulin signalling in Alzheimer’s disease. 
  • Development of a 3D neural co-culture system.

Dr Garwood’s research is funded by the Alzheimer’s Society and the University of Sheffield.


Prof. John Haycock, Department of Bioengineering, University of Sheffield.

Research Team

  • Laura Ratcliffe (2nd Year PhD Student)
  • Research Technician (to be appointed)


  • Julie E Simpson, Paul G Ince, Thais Minett, Fiona E Matthews, Paul R Heath, Pamela J Shaw, Emily Goodall, Claire J Garwood, Laura E Ratcliffe, Carol Brayne, Magnus Rattray, Stephen B Wharton (2015) Neuronal DNA damage response-associated dysregulation of signalling pathways and cholesterol metabolism at the earliest stages of Alzheimer-type pathology. Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. In press
  • Ryan Mathur, Paul G Ince, Thais Minett, Claire J Garwood, Pamela J Shaw, Fiona E Matthews, Carol Brayne, Julie E Simpson*, Stephen B Wharton* (2015) A reduced astrocyte response to β-amyloid plaques in the ageing brain associates with cognitive impairment. PLOS one 10(2):e0118463
  • SimpsonJ.E., InceP.G., MatthewsF., ShawP.J., Heath P.R., Brayne C., Rattray M.,Garwood C.J., Abdalla H.H., Higginbottom A.,Wharton S.B. (2015)  A neuronal DNA damage response is detected at the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s neuropathology and correlates with cognitive impairment in the MRC-CFAS ageing brain cohort. Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol.  41(4):483-96
  • Phillips E.C., Croft C.L., Kurbatskaya K., O’Neill M.J., Hanger D.P., Hutton M.L., Garwood C.J*., Noble W*. (2014) Astrocytes and neuroinflammation in Alzheimer’s disease. Biochem Soc Trans. 42(5):1321-5 *joint senior author
  • Garwood C.J., SimpsonJ.E., AxeC, Wilson S., Heath P.R., ShawP.J., Matthews F., Brayne C.,Ince P.G., Wharton S.B. (2014) Population Variation in Endothelial Cell Injury in Human Brain Ageing: Relationship to Astrocytic and Neuronal Injury and to Alzheimer’s Neuropathology.   Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 40(7): 802-814.
  • Atherton J, Garwood C.J., Bondulich M, Phillipson K, Hanger DP, Noble W. (2013) Calpain-mediated cleavage of the sodium calcium exchanger 3 is increased in AD brain. Aging Cell. 13(1):49-59
  • Viggars A.P., Wharton S.B., Simpson J.E., Matthews F.E., Brayne C., Savva G.M., Garwood C.J., Shaw P.J., Ince P.G. (2011) Alterations in the blood brain barrier in ageing cerebral cortex in relationship to Alzheimer-type pathology: a study in the MRC-CFAS population neuropathology cohort. Neurosci Lett, 7;505(1):25-30.
  • Garwood C.J., Hanger D.P., Noble W. (2011) Astrocytes are important mediators of Aβ-induced neurotoxicity and tau phosphorylation in primary culture. Cell Death Dis 2.e167.
  • Garwood C.J., Cooper J.D., Hanger D.P., Noble W. (2010) Anti-inflammatory impact of minocycline in a mouse model of tauopathy. Front. Psychiatry 1:136.
  • Noble W., Garwood C.J., Hanger D.P. (2009) Minocycline as a potential therapeutic agent in neurodegenerative disorders characterised by protein misfolding. Prion 3(2): 78-83.
  • Noble W., Garwood C.J., Stephenson J., Kinsey A., Hanger D.P., Anderton B.H. (2009) Minocycline reduces the development of abnormal tau species in models of Alzheimer’s disease. FASEB J. 23(3): 739-750.


2015-present: Alzheimer Society Junior Research Fellow

2011-2015:     Post-doctoral Research Associate

2007-2010:     PhD (Neuroscience), Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London.

2009-2010:     Research Assistant, MRC Centre for Neurodegeneration Research, Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London.

I obtained my PhD in Neuroscience from Kings College London in 2010 where I determined that astrocytes mediate many of the toxic effects of beta-amyloid, one of the pathological proteins implicated in Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis, and that minocycline was able to reduce the inflammatory response of astrocytes in Alzheimer’s disease models (Garwood et al., Cell Death Dis 2.e167; Garwood et al., Front. Psychiatry 1:136; Noble et al., FASEB J. 23(3): 739-750.)

After completing my PhD I moved to the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience to continue investigating the role of astrocytes in Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis as a post-doctoral research associate with Prof. Stephen Wharton.

I have recently been awarded an Alzheimer’s Society Junior Research Fellowship based within the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN) to continue working on the role astrocytes in Alzheimer’s disease and to develop a 3D astrocyte-neuron co-culture system in collaboration with Prof. John Haycock in the Department of Bioengineering.


Faculty of Medicine Early Career Researcher Award 2015: Outstanding contributions to excellence in enhancing the research environment within the faculty

Teaching Interests

I teach on the MSc courses in Translational Neuroscience, Translational Pathology and Molecular Medicine focussing on molecular neuroscience including experimental design to study protein expression and critical review of the literature teaching. I also supervise MSc and BMedSci students during their research projects.

Contact Details

Department of Neuroscience
Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience
University of Sheffield
Room B26
385a Glossop Road
S10 2HQ

T: +44 (0)114 22 22272
F: +44 (0)114 22 22290