Dr Nicholas Peake

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Dr Nicholas J Peake BSc, PhD

Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences


I was awarded a PhD from the University of Newcastle in 2005 in the field of inflammatory rheumatology, followed by 10 years of postdoctoral research in Toronto, Southampton and London. This has focussed on inflammation - mainly in the context of musculoskeletal diseases - and extracellular matrix biology as a result of inflammatory disease and cancer. I moved to Sheffield Hallam in 2015 as a lecturer in Biomedical Sciences.


I began my research training at the University of Newcastle, obtaining a PhD in 2005 for my studies on juvenile arthritis before moving to Canada where I continued to work on juvenile rheumatic disease at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto. Returning to the UK, I expanded my research to investigate the relationship between inflammation and cancer, working in the Cancer Sciences Division at Southampton.

I moved to Queen Mary University of London in 2011, continuing to study inflammation in the musculoskeletal system, characterising a novel pathway with the potential to treat these diseases. I also maintained my work with Southampton, winning research funding to continue investigating pathways linking inflammation, extracellular matrix biology and the progression of colorectal cancer.

After supporting cell biology, musculoskeletal biology and bioengineering courses as a temporary lecturer, I moved to Sheffield Hallam in 2015 as a lecturer in biomedical sciences. My teaching responsibilities complement my research programme, with funding from Bowel & Cancer Research and continuing collaboration with Southampton and London to study inflammatory and biomechanical characteristics of colorectal cancer. I also continue my interest in musculoskeletal biology, working to identify novel anti-inflammatory and pro-reparative therapies.

Specialist areas of interest

Musculoskeletal disease
Colorectal cancer progression



Essentials of biosciences for nursing practice
Infection and Immunity


My research interests are focused on the relationship between the extracellular matrix that provides structural support to cellular tissues, and the processes that contribute to disease. My particular focus is on mechanisms connecting inflammatory activation and tissue damage to the progression of cancer and musculoskeletal conditions.

Inflammation and tissue remodelling in colorectal cancer:

As disease progresses, cancers remodel their environment in order to invade and spread into surrounding tissues. Cancer cells are also highly responsive to their environment, making this interaction crucial in determining disease outcome. My work has identified that the enzyme Transglutaminase-2 is prominently expressed in the tissue surrounding colorectal tumours, and that it has pro-inflammatory and tissue remodeling functions. My current research is studying these roles in 3D cell culture models of colorectal cancer, and investigating whether novel technologies can be developed to modulate enzyme activity and therefore the progress of disease.

Protecting cartilage from inflammatory musculoskeletal disease:

My recent work has involved research into mechanisms connecting inflammation to cartilage breakdown in Osteoarthritis, and I have studied how this breakdown can be prevented by movement and the protective peptide, CNP. This has involved multiple approaches focused on promoting the beneficial effects of CNP, and include examining epigenetic regulation, investigating the impact of ageing on CNP function, and developing novel technologies for the delivery of CNP to sites where it could promote tissue repair. My current research is investigating ways to optimise these beneficial effects in musculoskeletal disease.

Collaborators and sponsors

Professor Gleb Sukhorukov, QMUL
Professor Martin Knight, QMUL
Mr Alex Mirnezami, Southampton University NHS Trust


Journal articles

Welsh, J.A., Goberdhan, D.C.I., O'Driscoll, L., Buzas, E.I., Blenkiron, C., Bussolati, B., ... Witwer, K.W. (2024). Minimal information for studies of extracellular vesicles (MISEV2023): From basic to advanced approaches. Journal of Extracellular Vesicles, 13 (2). http://doi.org/10.1002/jev2.12404

Chandler, K., Millar, J., Ward, G., Boyall, C., White, T., Ready, J.D., ... Peake, N. (2023). Imaging of Light-Enhanced Extracellular Vesicle-Mediated Delivery of Oxaliplatin to Colorectal Cancer Cells via Laser Ablation, Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry. Cells, 13 (1). http://doi.org/10.3390/cells13010024

Guarnerio, S., Tempest, R., Maani, R., Hunt, S., Cole, L.M., Le Maitre, C.L., ... Peake, N. (2023). Cellular Responses to Extracellular Vesicles as Potential Markers of Colorectal Cancer Progression. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 24 (23). http://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242316755

Alim Al-Bari, A., Ito, Y., Thomes, P.G., Menon, M.B., García-Macia, M., Fadel, R., ... Klionsky, D.J. (2023). Emerging mechanistic insights of selective autophagy in hepatic diseases. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 14. http://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2023.1149809

Lees, R., Tempest, R., Law, A., Aubert, D., Davies, O.G., Williams, S., ... Peacock, B. (2022). Single extracellular vesicle transmembrane protein characterization by nano-flow cytometry. Journal of Visualized Experiments, 2022 (185). http://doi.org/10.3791/64020

Tempest, R., Guarnerio, S., Maani, R., Cooper, J., & Peake, N. (2021). The biological and biomechanical role of transglutaminase-2 in the tumour microenvironment. Cancers, 13 (11). http://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13112788

Delaine-Smith, R., Wright, N., Hanley, C., Hanwell, R., Bhome, R., Bullock, M., ... Peake, N. (2019). Transglutaminase-2 mediates the biomechanical properties of the colorectal cancer tissue microenvironment that contribute to disease progression. Cancers, 11 (5), 701. http://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11050701

Peake, N.J., Bader, D.L., Vessillier, S., Ramachandran, M., Salter, D.M., Hobbs, A.J., & Chowdhury, T.T. (2015). C-type natriuretic peptide signalling drives homeostatic effects in human chondrocytes. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 465 (4), 784-789. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2015.08.087

Cellura, D., Pickard, K., Quaratino, S., Parker, H., Strefford, J.C., Thomas, G.J., ... Peake, N.J. (2015). miR-19-Mediated Inhibition of Transglutaminase-2 Leads to Enhanced Invasion and Metastasis in Colorectal Cancer. Molecular cancer research : MCR, 13 (7), 1095-1105. http://doi.org/10.1158/1541-7786.mcr-14-0466

Peake, N.J., Pavlov, A.M., D'Souza, A., Pingguan-Murphy, B., Sukhorukov, G.B., Hobbs, A.J., & Chowdhury, T.T. (2015). Controlled release of C-type natriuretic peptide by microencapsulation dampens proinflammatory effects induced by IL-1β in cartilage explants. Biomacromolecules, 16 (2), 524-531. http://doi.org/10.1021/bm501575w

Peake, N.J., Hobbs, A.J., Pingguan-Murphy, B., Salter, D.M., Berenbaum, F., & Chowdhury, T.T. (2014). Role of C-type natriuretic peptide signalling in maintaining cartilage and bone function. Osteoarthritis and cartilage, 22 (11), 1800-1807. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.joca.2014.07.018

Peake, N., Su, N., Ramachandran, M., Achan, P., Salter, D.M., Bader, D.L., ... Chowdhury, T.T. (2013). Natriuretic peptide receptors regulate cytoprotective effects in a human ex vivo 3D/bioreactor model. Arthritis research & therapy, 15 (4), R76. http://doi.org/10.1186/ar4253

(2010). Correction. Gut, 59 (7), i-1007. http://doi.org/10.1136/gut.2009.183608corr1

Luciani, A., Villella, V.R., Vasaturo, A., Giardino, I., Pettoello-Mantovani, M., Guido, S., ... Maiuri, L. (2010). Lysosomal accumulation of gliadin p31-43 peptide induces oxidative stress and tissue transglutaminase-mediated PPARgamma downregulation in intestinal epithelial cells and coeliac mucosa. Gut, 59 (3), 311-319. http://doi.org/10.1136/gut.2009.183608

Peake, N.J., Khawaja, K., Myers, A., Nowell, M.A., Jones, S.A., Rowan, A.D., ... Foster, H.E. (2006). Interleukin-6 signalling in juvenile idiopathic arthritis is limited by proteolytically cleaved soluble interleukin-6 receptor. Rheumatology (Oxford, England), 45 (12), 1485-1489. http://doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/kel154

Barksby, H.E., Milner, J.M., Patterson, A.M., Peake, N.J., Hui, W., Robson, T., ... Rowan, A.D. (2006). Matrix metalloproteinase 10 promotion of collagenolysis via procollagenase activation: implications for cartilage degradation in arthritis. Arthritis and rheumatism, 54 (10), 3244-3253. http://doi.org/10.1002/art.22167

Peake, N.J., Foster, H.E., Khawaja, K., Cawston, T.E., & Rowan, A.D. (2006). Assessment of the clinical significance of gelatinase activity in patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis using quantitative protein substrate zymography. Annals of the rheumatic diseases, 65 (4), 501-507. http://doi.org/10.1136/ard.2005.039032

Peake, N.J., Khawaja, K., Myers, A., Jones, D., Cawston, T.E., Rowan, A.D., & Foster, H.E. (2005). Levels of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-1 in paired sera and synovial fluids of juvenile idiopathic arthritis patients: relationship to inflammatory activity, MMP-3 and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-1 in a longitudinal study. Rheumatology (Oxford, England), 44 (11), 1383-1389. http://doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/kei025

Sadler, F., Peake, N., Borrow, R., Rowl, P.L., Wilkins, E.G.L., & Curry, A. (2002). Genotyping of Enterocytozoon bieneusi in AIDS patients from the north west of England. The Journal of infection, 44 (1), 39-42. http://doi.org/10.1053/jinf.2001.0934

Borrow, R., Southern, J., Andrews, N., Peake, N., Rahim, R., Acuna, M., ... Kaczmarski, E. (2001). Comparison of antibody kinetics following meningococcal serogroup C conjugate vaccine between healthy adults previously vaccinated with meningococcal A/C polysaccharide vaccine and vaccine-naïve controls. Vaccine, 19 (23-24), 3043-3050. http://doi.org/10.1016/s0264-410x(01)00050-0

Borrow, R., Joseph, H., Andrews, N., Acuna, M., Longworth, E., Martin, S., ... Miller, E. (2000). Reduced antibody response to revaccination with meningococcal serogroup A polysaccharide vaccine in adults. Vaccine, 19 (9-10), 1129-1132. http://doi.org/10.1016/s0264-410x(00)00317-0

Conference papers

Delaine-Smith, R., Wright, N., Hanley, C.J., Hanwell, R., Bhome, R., Bullock, M., ... Peake, N. (2019). Transglutaminase-2 mediates stromal biomechanics in colorectal cancer [abstract only]. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PATHOLOGY, 100 (4), A15-A16. http://doi.org/10.1111/iep.12332

Peake, N. (2018). 3D culture modelling illustrates a role for EVs in mediating the biomechanics of the tumour microenvironment. ISEV2018 Abstract Book.

Theses / Dissertations

Guarnerio, S. (2023). A multi-model study of extracellular vesicles in bowel cancer invasion and metastasis. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Peake, N., Le Maitre, C., & Cole, L. http://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00581


Owens, K., Peake, N., Jordan-Mahy, N., & Leyland, R. (2018). Exploring the interactions of Interferon-gamma and polyphenols in colorectal cancer cells. Presented at: British Society for Immunology: Yorkshire Immunology Group Annual Symposium 2018, University of York, UK, 2018

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