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Kirsten Riches-Suman

Lecturer in Biomedical Science

Faculty/Dept/School School of Chemistry and Bioscience
(Faculty of Life Sciences)
Telephone +441274 232145


I studied undergraduate BSc (Hons) Biology (Molecular and Cellular) at the University of Huddersfield and graduated with first class honours in 2003. I then worked at the University of Bradford as a research technician until 2005, when I started my PhD in Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Leeds under the supervision of Dr Karen Porter and Prof Chris Peers. My work during this time resulted in 3 publications and multiple awards at national and international conferences. After completing my PhD in early 2009, I worked as a post-doctoral research fellow in the Porter lab. This gave me essential training not only in various laboratory techniques, but also in composing grant applications, writing papers, establishing collaborations and supervising students. In November 2015 I started at the University of Bradford as a Lecturer in Biochemistry. In 2018 I graduated with a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Practice (distinction) and was awarded fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. In 2018 I my specialism changed to Lecturer in Biomedical Science to better reflect the teaching that I undertake. 


Teaching highlights

Nominated for Vice Chancellor's Excellence Award for my teaching in 2018.
Nominated for Best Lecturer and Most Helpful Lecturer by students in 2017.

Teaching interests

My teaching interests are the biological basis of disease. This encompasses genetics, biochemistry and pathology of diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes - their aetiology, presentation and treatment. I am passionate about engaging students in their teaching and as such use active learning techniques which have been flagged as examples of best practice by students. 


The prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2DM) is growing at an alarming rate throughout the world, and new treatments are desperately needed to help these patients cope with the complications that come with T2DM. These patients have a much greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease, have poorer outcomes following cardiac surgery, and have problems with wound healing. All of this is very distressing for the patient and also has a big financial impact on the NHS. The over-arching theme of my research interests is how diabetes can impact on cell behaviour (‘phenotype’), and examine the molecular mechanisms underlying this. In the future, this will help us to design new therapies to improve the quality of life and care for patients with diabetes.

I have previously researched the phenotypic differences in cardiovascular cells that are involved in diabetic cardiomyopathy (cardiac fibroblasts) and coronary artery bypass graft surgery (smooth muscle and endothelial cells from veins). This work has identified molecular signatures of these phenotypes and work is currently been carried out both here (with Prof. Tim Palmer, Pharmacy) and with collaborators at the University of Leeds to further this understanding. I am now looking at a different form of diabetes - gestational diabetes (GDM) – and how this can affect the smooth muscle cells in the umbilical artery. GDM normally goes away once the baby is born, but both the mother and child are at an increased risk of developing T2DM. This is a very exciting piece of work; my previous studies all looked at cells from patients who had suffered from diabetes for a long period of time. In this GDM project, the maximum duration of diabetes will have been 9 months and so it will allow us to find out how quickly phenotypic changes can occur after the onset of diabetes.

Patients with T2DM have problems with wound healing so I am also interested in how the factors in the circulation of T2DM patients (such as high levels of glucose, free fatty acids, inflammatory mediators) may alter the phenotype of cells that are involved in wound healing. I am working with in the Centre for Skin Sciences to try and explain the molecular changes that underlie this phenomenon.
Date Role Title / Description Funder Award
01-JUL-13 - 01-JUN-14Does type 2 diabetes mellitus affect K+ channel localisation in vascular smooth muscle cells?
Does type 2 diabetes mellitus affect K+ channel localisation in vascular smooth muscle cells?
01-MAY-16 - 01-APR-17Does gestational diabetes impact on human umbilical artery smooth muscle cell phenotype?
Does gestational diabetes impact on human umbilical artery smooth muscle cell phenotype?
Biochemical Society
01-AUG-10 - 01-JUL-11Exploring the morphology and function of smooth muscle cells derived from abdominal aortic aneurysms
Exploring the morphology and function of smooth muscle cells derived from abdominal aortic aneurysms
Royal College of Surgeons of England
Research collaborators
NameDr Karen E Porter
CompanyUniversity of Leeds
ThemeDiabetes and vascular disease
DescriptionResearch into the effects of diabetes and abdominal aortic aneurysms on vascular smooth muscle cells.
NameProf Tim Palmer
CompanyHull York Medical School
Role Director of the Centre for Atherothrombosis and Metabolic Disease.
ThemeCardiovascular disease
DescriptionRole of JAK/STAT signalling in cardiovascular disease
NameDr Wayne Roberts
CompanyLeeds Beckett University
RoleCourse Director
ThemeWound healing
DescriptionInfluence of platelets on skin cell phenotype
NameDr Peter O’Toole
CompanyUniversity of York
RoleHead of Imaging and Cytometry
ThemeDiabetes cellular phenotyping
DescriptionLive cell phenotypic screening
NameMr Kevin Mercer
CompanyBradford Royal Infirmary
RoleConsultant Vascular Surgeon
ThemeDiabetes and vascular disease
DescriptionProvision of clinical samples
NameDr John Huntriss
CompanyUniversity of Leeds
DescriptionRealtime data analysis on embryos
NameProf Anne Graham
CompanyUniversity of Bradford
RoleAssociate Dean of Research and Knowledge Transfer
ThemeDiabetes and Cardiovascular Disease
DescriptionMolecular mechanisms underpinning vascular disease in gestational diabetes
NameDr Julie Thornton
CompanyUniversity of Bradford
RoleSenior Lecturer
ThemeSkin Sciences
DescriptionMolecular mechanisms underpinning cellular dysfunction in the skin

Professional activities

  • 01-JAN-15: University of Bradford - Lecturer in Biochemistry
  • 01-JAN-08: University of Leeds - Post-doctoral Research Fellow
  • 01-JAN-04: University of Bradford - Research Technician
  • 01-JAN-13: LICAMM Early Career Group,
  • 01-AUG-16: School of Chemistry and Biosciences Executive,
  • 03-JUL-17: School of Chemistry and Biosciences Equality, Diversity and Opportunities,
  • 01-SEP-19: School of Chemistry and Biosciences Research Committee,
  • 01-JAN-08: University of Leeds - PhD
  • 01-JAN-03: University of Huddersfield - BSc (Hons)
  • 01-JAN-18: University of Bradford - Post-graduate Certificate in Higher Education Practice
  • 01-JAN-08: - BSCR Early Career Investigator Award
  • Member
  • Member
  • Committee Member
  • University of Bradford Representative
  • Fellow


Peer Reviewed Journal
TitleTherapeutic Targeting of the Proinflammatory IL-6-JAK/STAT Signalling Pathways Responsible for Vascular Restenosis in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. (2019)
AuthorsMoshapa FT;Riches-Suman K;Palmer TM;
JournalCardiology Research and Practice
TitleMicroRNA‐21 drives the switch to a synthetic phenotype in human saphenous vein smooth muscle cells (2018)
AuthorsAlshanwani, A.R.; Riches-Suman, Kirsten; O'Regan, D.J.; Wood, I.C.; Turner, N.A.; Porter, K.E.
TitleInsulinlike growth factor – binding protein-1 improves vascular endothelial repair in male mice in the setting of insulin resistance (2018)
AuthorsAziz, A.; Haywood, N.J.; Cordell, P.A.; Smith, J.; Yuldasheva, N.Y.; Sengupta, A.; Ali, N.; Mercer, B.N.; Mughal, R.S.; Riches-Suman, Kirsten; Cubbon, R.M.; Porter, K.E.; Kearney, M.T.; Wheatcroft, S.B.
TitleLinking energy sensing to suppression of JAK-STAT signalling: a potential route for repurposing AMPK activators? (2018)
AuthorsSpeirs, C.; Williams, Jamie J.L.; Riches-Suman, Kirsten; Salt, I.P.; Palmer, Timothy M.
TitleProgressive development of aberrant smooth muscle cell phenotype in abdominal aortic aneurysm disease (2018)
AuthorsRiches-Suman, Kirsten; Clark, E.; Helliwell, R.J.; Angelini, T.G.; Hemmings, K.E.; Bailey, M.A.; Bridge, K.I.; Scott, D.J.A.; Porter, K.E.
TitleMapping the methylation status of the miR-145 promoter in saphenous vein smooth muscle cells from individuals with type 2 diabetes (2016)
AuthorsRiches-Suman, Kirsten; Huntriss, J.; Keeble, C.; Wood, I.C.; O'Regan, D.J.; Turner, N.A.; Porter, K.E.
TitleVascular smooth muscle as a target for novel therapeutics (2015)
AuthorsPorter, K.E.; Riches-Suman, Kirsten
TitleAberrant Phenotype in Human Endothelial Cells of Diabetic Origin: Implications for Saphenous Vein Graft Failure? (2015)
AuthorsRoberts, A.C.; Gohil, J.; Hudson, L.; Connolly, K.; Warburton, P.; Suman, R.; O'Toole, P.; O'Regan, D.J.; Turner, N.A.; Riches-Suman, Kirsten; Porter, K.E.
TitleInvestigating inherent functional differences between human cardiac fibroblasts cultured from non-diabetic and type 2 diabetic donors (2014)
AuthorsSedgwick, B.; Riches-Suman, Kirsten; Bageghni, S.A.; O'Regan, D.J.; Porter, K.E.; Turner, N.A.
TitleType 2 diabetes impairs venous, but not arterial smooth muscle cell function: possible role of differential RhoA activity (2014)
AuthorsRiches-Suman, Kirsten; Warburton, P.; O'Regan, D.J.; Turner, N.A.; Porter, K.E.
TitleElevated expression levels of microRNA-143/5 in saphenous vein smooth muscle cells from patients with type 2 diabetes drive persistent changes in phenotype and function (2014)
AuthorsRiches-Suman, Kirsten; Alshanwani, A.R.; Warburton, P.; O'Regan, D.J.; Ball, S.G.; Wood, I.C.; Turner, N.A.; Porter, K.E.
TitleExploring smooth muscle phenotype and function in a bioreactor model of abdominal aortic aneurysm (2013)
AuthorsRiches, K.;Angelini, T.G.;Mudhar, G.S.;Kaye, J.;Clark, E.;Bailey, M.A.;Sohrabi, S.;Korossis, S.;Walker, P.G.;Scott, D.J.A.;Porter, K.E.;
JournalJournal of Translational Medicine
TitleApolipoprotein(a) acts as a chemorepellent to human vascular smooth muscle cells via integrin αVβ3 and RhoA/ROCK-mediated mechanisms. (2013)
AuthorsRiches K;Franklin L;Maqbool A;Peckham M;Adams M;Bond J;Warburton P;Feric NT;Koschinsky ML;O'Regan DJ;Ball SG;Turner NA;Porter KE;
JournalInternational Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology
TitleThe vascular smooth muscle cell: a therapeutic target in Type 2 diabetes? (2013)
AuthorsPorter KE;Riches K;
JournalClinical Science
TitleLipoprotein(a): Cellular Effects and Molecular Mechanisms. (2012)
AuthorsRiches K;Porter KE;
TitleDivergent effects of 17-β-estradiol on human vascular smooth muscle and endothelial cell function diminishes TNF-α-induced neointima formation. (2012)
AuthorsNintasen R;Riches K;Mughal RS;Viriyavejakul P;Chaisri U;Maneerat Y;Turner NA;Porter KE;
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
TitlePotent suppression of vascular smooth muscle cell migration and human neointimal hyperplasia by KV1.3 channel blockers. (2011)
AuthorsCheong A;Li J;Sukumar P;Kumar B;Zeng F;Riches K;Munsch C;Wood IC;Porter KE;Beech DJ;
JournalCardiovascular Research
TitleShort-term stimulation of calcium-permeable transient receptor potential canonical 5-containing channels by oxidized phospholipids. (2010)
AuthorsAl-Shawaf E;Naylor J;Taylor H;Riches K;Milligan CJ;O'Regan D;Porter KE;Li J;Beech DJ;
JournalArteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology
TitleHypoxic remodelling of Ca2+ stores does not alter human cardiac myofibroblast invasion. (2010)
AuthorsRiches K;Hettiarachchi NT;Porter KE;Peers C;
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
TitleCellular mechanisms by which proinsulin C-peptide prevents insulin-induced neointima formation in human saphenous vein. (2010)
AuthorsMughal RS;Scragg JL;Lister P;Warburton P;Riches K;O'Regan DJ;Ball SG;Turner NA;Porter KE;
TitleCCAAT/enhancer binding protein alpha, beta and delta gene variants: associations with obesity related phenotypes in the Leeds Family Study. (2010)
AuthorsBennett CE;Nsengimana J;Bostock JA;Cymbalista C;Futers TS;Knight BL;McCormack LJ;Prasad UK;Riches K;Rolton D;Scarrott T;Barrett JH;Carter AM;
JournalDiabetes and Vascular Disease Research
TitleChronic hypoxia inhibits MMP-2 activation and cellular invasion in human cardiac myofibroblasts. (2009)
AuthorsRiches K;Morley ME;Turner NA;O'Regan DJ;Ball SG;Peers C;Porter KE;
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
TitleThe -1562C/T MMP-9 promoter polymorphism does not predict MMP-9 expression levels or invasive capacity in saphenous vein smooth muscle cells cultured from different patients. (2009)
AuthorsMaqbool A;Turner NA;Galloway S;Riches K;O'Regan DJ;Porter KE;
TitleInherent differences in morphology, proliferation, and migration in saphenous vein smooth muscle cells cultured from nondiabetic and Type 2 diabetic patients. (2009)
AuthorsMadi HA;Riches K;Warburton P;O'Regan DJ;Turner NA;Porter KE;
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
TitleHypoxic inhibition of human cardiac fibroblast invasion and MMP-2 activation may impair adaptive myocardial remodelling. (2007)
AuthorsMorley ME;Riches K;Peers C;Porter KE;
JournalBiochemical Society Transactions
Other Publication
Other typeMagazine Article
TitleNorth of England Cell Biology Forum (2018)
AuthorsK Riches-Suman
PublisherBritish Society for Cell Biology Magazine
Other typeMagazine Article
TitleMeeting Report: Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes (2017)
AuthorsK Riches and meeting co-organizers
PublisherThe Biochemist
Other typeMagazine Article
TitleAutumn Meeting of the British Society for Cardiovascular Research 2016: Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes (2017)
AuthorsKE Porter, NA Turner, K Riches
PublisherBSCR Bulletin
Other typeMagazine Article
TitleVascular smooth muscle cells: phenotype and function in type 2 diabetes (2012)
AuthorsKE Porter, K Riches
PublisherBSCR Bulletin
Other typeMagazine Article
TitleCardiovascular 2010: A BSCR Travel Report (2011)
AuthorsK Riches
PublisherBSCR Bulletin