Mhairi Morris

Dr Mhairi Morris

Pronouns: She/her

BSc (Hons), PGCertHE, SFHEA, PhD

  • Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry

Mhairi (“Vari”) Morris graduated from the University of Glasgow with a degree in Medical Biochemistry in 2004, then took up a PhD scholarship with Professor Lawrence Young at the University of Birmingham, investigating the role of the viral oncoprotein, latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1), in modulating epithelial cell invasion and metastasis. On completion of her PhD in 2008, Mhairi continued her LMP1 research at Birmingham.

Following a brief career break from 2010-2013, Mhairi returned to academia as a Lecturer at De Montfort University, Leicester, where she attained her Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGCertHE) with distinction. Mhairi was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2014, and awarded DMU Teacher Fellow status in 2016, prior to joining Loughborough University as a Lecturer in Biochemistry in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences in February 2017.

Mhairi currently supervises 2 PhD students at Loughborough University and 3 PhD students at De Montfort University. She holds an Eric Reid Methodology Award from The Biochemical Society, and sits on the editorial board for Pathogens open access journal. In addition, Mhairi is a member of the Board of Trustees for Self Help UK – a charitable organisation that supports local self-help groups.

Her current research interests include understanding the interactions between cancer cells and stromal cells in the tumour microenvironment, and how exercise may impinge on these interactions. In particular, Mhairi has an interest in developing a novel 3D model system for investigating the interactions between “exercised” skeletal muscle tissue and 3D tumour spheroids.

Mhairi’s current research interests span three broad areas:

  • The role of the viral oncoprotein in transforming cells in the tumour microenvironment and the development of a novel 3D system for investigating this phenomenon (PhD student: Alexandra Davis, De Montfort University – 3-Minute Thesis finalist, 2017);
  • The role of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in contributing to cancer cell invasion, and the impact exercise may play in reducing metastasis (Marie-Juliet Brown, Loughborough University);
  • The development of a novel 3D model system for measuring the effects of “exercised” skeletal muscle tissue on tumour cell invasiveness (Jin Zhang, Loughborough University).

Trying to outrun cancer: the benefits of exercise across the cancer continuum

In this presentation for the NCSEM, Dr Mhairi Morris talks about the importance of exercise throughout the cancer continuum, from prevention to reducing secondary risk, as well as the benefits of exercise as prehab for treatment.

Professional memberships

  • Member and ambassador for the European Association for Cancer Research (EACR)
  • Member and holder of an Eric Reid Methodology Award from The Biochemical Society

Regular reviewer

  • Pathogens
  • Molecular Cancer

Other activities

Featured publications

  • Morris MA, Laverick L, Wei W, Davis AM, O’Neill S, Wood L, Wright J, Dawson CW, Young LS. The EBV-Encoded Oncoprotein, LMP1, Induces an Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) via Its CTAR1 Domain through Integrin-Mediated ERK-MAPK Signalling. Cancers, 2018, 10(5), 130. DOI: 10.3390/cancers10050130. Link to article in Institutional Repository.
  • Morris MA. Somewhere in between: blogging as an intermediate and accessible space. JWCP. ISSN: 1753-5190. Link to article in Institutional Repository.
  • Morris MA. Epstein-Barr Virus. eLS, 2017 Jun. DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902. Link to article in Institutional Repository.
  • Rasekh M, Nazari K, Arshad MS, Kucuk I, Haj-Ahmad R, Hussain A, Morris MA, Abbas N, Chang MW, Li X, Ahmad Z. Polymeric based therapeutic delivery systems prepared using electrohydrodynamic processes. Curr Pharm Des, 2016 Feb. PMID: 26898734. Link to article in Institutional Repository.
  • Morris MA, Dawson CW, Laverick L, Davis AM, Dudman JPR, Raveenthiraraj S, Ahmad Z, Yap LF, and Young LS. The Epstein-Barr virus-encoded LMP1 oncoprotein modulates cell adhesion via regulation of activin A/TGFb and b1 integrin signalling. Sci Rep, 2016 Jan. PMID: 26782058. Link to article in Institutional Repository.
  • Rasekh M, Karavasili C, Soong Y, Bouroplouos N, Morris MA, Armitage D, Li X, Fatouros DG, Ahmad Z. Electrospun PVP-indomethacin constituents for transdermal dressings and drug delivery devices. Int J Pharma, 2014 Jul. Link to article in Institutional Repository.
  • Morris MA*, Dawson CW, Young LS. Role of the Epstein-Barr virus-encoded latent membrane protein-1, LMP1, in the pathogenesis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. (Review) Future Oncol, 2009 Aug. Link to article in Institutional Repository.
  • Morris MA*, Dawson CW*, Wei W, O’Neil JD, Stewart SE, Jia J, Bell AI, Young LS, Arrand JR. Epstein-Barr virus-encoded LMP1 induces a hyperproliferative and inflammatory gene expression programme in cultured keratinocytes. J Gen Virol, 2008 Nov. Link to article in Institutional Repository.
  • Morris MA, Young LS, Dawson CW. DNA tumour viruses promote tumour cell invasion and metastasis by deregulating the normal processes of cell adhesion and motility. (Review) Eur J Cell Biol, 2008 Sep. Link to article in Institutional Repository.
  • Dawson CW, Laverick L, Morris MA, Tramoutanis G, Young LS. Epstein-Barr virus-encoded LMP1 regulates epithelial cell motility and invasion via the ERK-MAPK pathway. J Virol 2008 Jan. Link to article in Institutional Repository.