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.
  • Variation in astrocyte responses to different molecular pathologies and the effect on neuroprotection

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.
  • Dr Rosemary Staniforth, Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology

Research Team

  • Martyna Matuszyk, Alzheimer’s Society Funded PhD student


Ratcliffe L.E., Vázquez Villaseñor I., Jennings L., Heath P.R.., Mortiboys H., Schwartzwentruber A., Karyka E., Simpson J.E., Ince P.G., Garwood C.J.,* Wharton S.B.*. (2018) Loss of IGF1R in human astrocytes alters complex I activity and support for neurons. Neuroscience 390, 46-59. *equal author contribution

Waller R., Murphy M., Garwood CJ., Jennings L., Heath PR., Chambers A., Matthews FE., Brayne C., Wharton SB., Simpson JE, on behalf of the Cognitive Function and Ageing Study. (2018) Metallothionein-I/II expression associates with the astrocyte DNA damage response and not Alzheimer-type pathology in the ageing brain. Glia 66(11) 2316-2323

Morgan S.V*,  Garwood C.J*., Jennings L,  Simpson J.E., , Castelli LM Heath P.R ., Mihaylov SR Vazquez-Villaseñor I., Minshull TC Ince P.G., Dickman MJ., Hautberge G., Wharton S.B.,    (2018) Proteomic and cellular localisation studies suggest non‐tight junction cytoplasmic and nuclear roles for occludin in astrocytes. EJN 47(12) 1444-1456  *equal author contribution. Corresponding author.

Garwood C.J., Ratcliffe L.E., Morgan S.V., Simpson J.E., Heath P.R., Wharton S.B. (2017) Astrocytes in dementia; a supporting player with a central role. Commissioned review for Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 43(4):281-29

Garwood C.J*, Ratcliffe L.E.*, Morgan S.V., Simpson J.E., Owens H, Vazquez-Villaseñor I, Heath P.R., Romero I.A., Ince P.G., Wharton S.B. (2015) Insulin and IGF-1 signalling pathways in human astrocytes in vitro and in vivo; characterisation, subcellular localisation and modulation of the receptors. Molecular Brain 8(51).


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