BSc Hons Biological Sciences (Pharmacology, University of Edinburgh, 1993); PhD Pharmacology (University of London, 1997); Postdoctoral Fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology (University of Oxford, 1997); Departmental Lectureship in Human Anatomy (University of Oxford, 1998-2000); University Lectureship and Fellow of St Anne’s College, Oxford (2000-present).
Undergraduate: Anatomy, Pharmacology, Endocrinology and Reproduction.
Helen Christian's research interests are in the mechanisms of steroid hormone regulation of the pituitary gland, in particular the role of Annexin 1. The Annexins are a well-conserved super-family of structurally related Ca2+ - and phospholipids-binding proteins with wide-ranging functions in health and disease. Annexin 1 is a 37kD protein that is induced by glucocorticoids and mediates glucocorticoid action within the host defence and neuroendocrine systems. Glucocorticoids regulate the synthesis, phosphorylation and cellular disposition of annexin 1, and annexin 1 is implicated in the regulation by these important drugs of pituitary function, the control of cell growth and signal transduction. Most recently her group have characterized a novel secretory pathway of annexin 1, a protein which lacks a signal sequence, involving a member of the ATP binding cassette transporter family, ABCA1. This is the first time the secretion mechanism of an annexin family member has been determined and the group are interested in whether similar pathways may be utilized by other annexin family members. Also the group have demonstrated regulation of annexin 1 expression by estrogens. This is exciting, as gender differences in annexin 1 regulation may underly differences between the sexes in regulation of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis and susceptibility to immune and inflammatory diseases.
S. Omer, D. Meredith, J.F. Morris and H.C. Christian, ‘Evidence for the role of ABCA1 in the externalisation of annexin 1 from pituitary folliculo-stellate cells and ABCA1-transfected cell models’, Endocrinology, 147 (2006), 3219-27
F. Rahman and H.C. Christian, ‘Non-classical actions of testosterone: an update’, Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, 18 (2007), 371-378
E. Davies, S. Omer, J.C. Buckingham, J.F. Morris and H.C. Christian, ‘Expression and externalisation of annexin 1 in the adrenal gland’, Endocrinology, 148 (2007), 1030-38
E. Davies, S. Omer, J.F. Morris and H.C. Christian, ‘The influence of 17?-estradiol on annexin 1 expression in the anterior pituitary’ J Endocrinol, 192 (2007), 429-42