My research interests are diverse as are my publications and involve two main themes:
1. The pathophysiology of inflammatory disease and its regulation.
2. The application of advanced statistical methodology to clinical studies
I am currently a named individual in eight clinical studies with consultant clinicians and scientists, that are being organised jointly with Cardiff and Swansea Universities and also with Cwm Taf NHS Trust. These studies involve new biomarkers in stroke, polycystic ovary syndrome, cardiovascular disease, sepsis and type 2 diabetes all diseases in which inflammation is a major component. My role in these studies is dual as I can act as both statistician and as a Biomedical Scientist analysing biomarkers of inflammation. I am regularly asked to act as a statistical advisor to physicians and scientists for sample size determination, methodology and sampling including acting as advisor to PhD and MD studentships. I have acted as an external advisor on two PhD students who have undertaken British Heart Foundation funded research on nitrate infusion in regulating cardiac vessel vascular tone in Cardiff University. I have investigated the molecular basis for the ability of exercise to regulate lipid metabolism and inflammation through the activation of nuclear transcription factors. This work as the potential to allow clinicians to “dose” exercise and to determine more precisely the amount and type of exercise that can generate specified molecular and lipid metabolic effects. I have increasingly undertaken studies in applying bimolecular methods in the specialised area of Nutraceuticals that determines the precise pharmacological actions and basis for nutrient associated health benefits. These components include dietary lipids present in dairy products and flavonoids/polyphenols present in numerous dietary components. Through my collaborations with Cardiff University, in particular the Welsh Heart Institute, I have supported MD studentships. I am supervising a PhD studentship in collaboration with Sultan Qaboos University Oman, investigating camel milk-derived lipids’ ability to regulate inflammation through interaction with transcription factors such as the PPARs and Nuclear Factor kappa B.
Internationalisation of Research
I have taken a substantial role in the University’s Wales- Africa initiative that is part funded by the Welsh Government. As part of this initiative, I have been involved in the development of collaborative research and also in the development of new joint courses with two Kenyan Universities and The Medical Training College Nairobi. With colleagues,, I investigating the use of African dietary components in the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (both becoming major health issues in Africa). I have worked with three visiting academics from Kenya on African food components and their anti-diabetic properties. These dietary components are urgently required as inexpensive preventive and treatments substitutes to pharmaceuticals not only in Africa but also in Western Countries. I am supervising an Environmental Health PhD student from Uganda who is investigating sustainable and community based practices for preventing malaria.
NISCHR Biomedical Research Centre and Unit
I am one of the co-applicants on the £1.5 million NIHSCR funded with Swansea University. Clinical Accident Emergency Unit at Swansea University. I have worked with this group for seven years and through my ability to apply advanced data analytical methodology, we were the first to demonstrate that a blood clot at its incipient stage had a fractal structure and that this fractal structure is an early indicator of thrombotic risk in cardiovascular, inflammatory and malignant disease. Furthermore, this fractal structure is an additional indicator of clot structural changes during the haemodilution observed during surgical intervention and major trauma. The bid will be utilised in basic research and clinical trials and is a translational programme that will assess fractal structure as a biomarker in terms of (i) early diagnosis of clot structural abnormalities (ii) monitoring the efficacy of therapeutic interventions in a range of diseases and disorders and (iii) health and disease screening. In addition, fractal structure will be used to assess the role of indirect factors on coagulation such as inflammation, immunological, environmental and genetics. As part of this group, I act as both a Biomedical Scientist and a Biostatistician. and will involve determining how modulation in fractal structure of fibrinogen occurs in disorders such as diabetes, cancer and inflammatory models. This work has been cited in Government Strategy Document in Life Sciences for 2013.(https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/206944/13-901-information-economy-strategy.pdf
Morris K, TONKS AJ, TONKS, A, , AHLUWALIA MK, THOMAS AW, JONES, KP, JACKSON, SK (2008) DPPC regulates COX-2 expression in monocytes via phosphorylation of CREB Biochemical Biophysical Research Communications (in Press)
Pinder, AG, Rogers, SC, Morris, K, James PE (2008) Haemoglobin saturation controls the red blood cell mediated hypoxic vasorelaxation. Adv. Exp. Biol. (In Press)
Khanolkar M, Morris K, Thomas AW, Evans M (2007) Rosiglitazone produces a greater reduction in circulating platelet activity compared with gliclazide in patients with type2 diabetes mellitus – an effect probably mediated by direct platelet PPAR gamma activation. Atherosclerosis (in press)
Butcher, L., Backx, K., Roberts, A., Thomas, A., Webb, R., and Morris, K. (2008) Low-intensity exercise regulates LDL oxidation, and expression of genes responsible for lipoprotein clearance and reverse cholesterol transport, in previously sedentary adults. J.Med Sci. Ex. Sp. (in press).
Bolton, CE., Evans, M., Ionescu, A., Edwards SM., Morris RH, Luzio S, Owens D., Shale D. (2007) Insulin resistance and inflammation - A further systemic complication of COPD COPD. 4:121-6.Anderson, RA, Evans LM, Ellis, GR, Khan, N., Morris, K. et al (2006) Prolonged deterioration of endothelial dysfunction in response to postprandial lipaemia is attenuated by vitamin C in Type 2 diabetes Diabetic Medicine, 23 , 258-264
Roberts, A W and Morris K (2005) Hyperlipidaemia and cardiovascular disease. Curr Opin Lipidol. 16(2):253-5.
Anderson, RA, Ellis, GR, Evans LM, Morris, K. (2005) Platelet Nitrate responsiveness in fasting and postprandial diabetes. Diab. and Vasc. Dis. Res. (2)
Tonks A., Parton J,.Tonks A J,. Morris R H. K, et al (2005) The surfactant phospholipid, DPPC, down regulates monocyte monocyte respiratory burst via modulation of PKC. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol 288:L1070-80.
Evans M, Anderson RA, Smith JC, Khan N, Graham JM, Thomas AW, Morris K, Frenneaux MP, Rees A. (2003) Effects of insulin lispro and chronic vitamin C therapy on postprandial lipaemia, oxidative stress and endothelial function in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus Eur. J. Clin. Invest. 33:231-8.
Ahluwalia, M., Evans, L., Morris, K.,, Davies, S., Rees, A. and Thomas, A. (2002) The Pro12Ala mutation of PPAR-gamma receptor gene is associated with lower fasting plasma glucose and elevated total and non-HDL cholesterol levels in obese patients with type 2 diabetes. Diab. Ob, Met 4: 376-8.
Anderson, R.A., Evans, M.L., Ellis, G.R., Graham, J, Morris, K, Jackson, S.K, Lewis, M.J., Rees, A., Frenneaux, M.P.2001) The relationships between post-prandial lipaemia, endothelial function and oxidative stress in healthy individuals and patients with type 2 diabetes. Atherosclerosis 154: 75-83.
Ellis,G.R., Anderson, R.A., Lang, D., Morris, R.H.K., Morris-Thurgood, J., McDowell, I.F. Lewis M., Frenneaux, M.P (2000) Neutrophil Superoxide Anion Generating Capacity, Endothelial Function and Oxidative Stress in Chronic Heart Failure; Effects of Acute and Chronic Vitamin C Therapy. JACC. 36:1474-1482
Evans L.M., Anderson, R.A., Graham, J., Ellis, G., Morris, K. Davies, S., Jackson, S.K. and Rees, A. (2000) Ciprofibrate therapy improves endothelial function and reduces post prandial lipaemia and oxidative stress in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Circulation 101: 1773-1779.