Professor in Skeletal Tissue Dynamics, Scientific Advisor
Professor Helen Birch is a biochemist and physiologist with 30 years of experience in scientific research focusing on the extracellular matrix, particularly the protein collagen, in the context of healthy skeletal tissue function and pathways leading to disease. Helen’s work on functionally distinct tendons was the first to describe specialisation of mechanical properties, matrix composition, and cell synthetic and degradative activity in energy storing and positional tendons. More recent work in Helen’s laboratory at UCL Department of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Science has focused on understanding age-related changes, particularly adventitious crosslinking of collagen. Helen’s research has shown a half life of up to 200 years for collagen in tendon, an accumulation of the advanced glycation end-product (AGE) crosslinks pentosidine and glucosepane in human tendon tissue and associated changes to collagen packing and hydration. Helen has over 90 peer reviewed publications, is a regular reviewer for research funding bodies and scientific journals and is a qualified (non-practising) Osteopath. Helen brings valuable contribution to Longaevus in a role of a Scientific Advisor with her expertise in a field of ageing and work with extracellular matrix.