Staff Profile

General Profile Information
Staff Name Dr Bettina Schock
Job Title Lecturer
Location Medical Biology Centre Block 97 MBC Site
Room Number 04.033
School School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences
Contact Details
Telephone +44 (0)28 9097 2258
Research Statement

I have been actively researching respiratory infections and immunity in acute and chronic pulmonary diseases since 1996 when I started my PhD with a Scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service. My PhD research showed for the first time the presence of oxidative stress in children with asthma and the kinetics of oxidative stress in preterm neonates with Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) over the first days of life. As a postdoctoral fellow at UC Davis, California, I worked with with Profs. CE Cross and MG Traber (UC Davis, USA) and studied the pro-inflammatory responses during vitamin E deficiency in alpha-tocopherol transfer-protein knock out mice, showing that systemic vitamin E deficiency deranges the innate immune response, systemically and locally in the lung.

I returned to Queen's University Belfast at the end of 2003 and have since then developed my expertise in modulation of the innate immunity in chronic airway diseases such as Cystic Fibrosis, Asthma and Bronchopulmonary displasia. I have developed Raman Microscopy to image the distribution of tocopherols and phospholipids in lung tissue. In my group we currently extend this methodology to investigate novel chromanol derived compounds with anti-inflammatory activity in lung inflammation and the role of sphingolipids in airway inflammation. A current grant is investigating pathogen-host interactions in the CF airways, especially the kinetics of Toll-like Receptor expression and signalling in CF epithelium and its relation to NF-kB activation. Results indicate prolonged expression of and signalling via TLR2 and TLR4 and delayed lysosomal degradation, which is associated with persistant NF-kB activation . Additionally, the negative regulation of NF-kB activation by the RNF11/A20 complex is also deregulated, a finding that we were able to extend to epithelial cells from different chronic lung diseases and that can be associated with TGF-beta induced airway remodelling and fibrosis.I am committed to inter-disciplinary research with a major focus on translational work to imrove diagnosis or therapies for chronic airway diseases.

Membership Of Other Societies / Professional Activities
I am a member of The Oxygen Society (since 2000) and the Society for Free Radical Research (since 2004), the British Association for Lung Research (BALR since 2004), the European Cystic Fibrosis Society (since 2012) as well as the New York Academy of Science (since 2004).  I regularly attend meetings of these society and additionally I attend meetings of The American Lung Association and the North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference. I have been invited to present my findings on several occasions.

I am a Member of the Committee of the Ulster Immunology Group (since 2006) and was elected treasurer (2006-2009)



Reviewing manuscripts:  THORAX, The British Journal of Clinical Nutrition, The Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, Biology of the Neonate, The European Respiratory Journal, Free Radical Research, Paediatric Research and Paediatric Pulmonology.

Reviewing grant applications: Czech Academy of Science, Philip Morris Research Management Group USA, Research Councils UK (MRC and BBSRC) and L'Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science Fellowships.


Invited Speaker

National and International presentations

International Colloquium, "Beyond the antioxidant defense properties of antioxidants" Department of Nutrition, University of California at Davis: "Vitamin E in lung disease: can a friend become a foe? (USA, March 2004)

Annual Meeting of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology: "The Role of a-Tocopherol in Lung Inflammation - Studies using a-Tocopherol Transfer Protein null mice" (Leicester, July 2004).

University of Western Ontario: “Identification of a-tocopherol in lung tissue using Raman Microscopy“ (Canada, June 2005)

University of Perugia: Molecular Bio-Imaging – A nutrioceutical under the microscope“ (Italy, March 2008).

University of Essen: RAMAN Microscopy for identification of intracellular lipids and proteins“ (Germany, January 2009) 


Local presentations

Inflammation Research Centre: "Vitamin E - a pulmonary essential" (October 2003),

Cardiovascular Research Centre: "Vitamin E and Inflammation" (October 2003), and the

The Vision Sciences Research Centre: "A closer look at Vitamin E - Results from the TTP null mouse" (November 2003)

Chemical Biology Seminar Series: "Vitamin E in inflammation - studies using TTP null mice" (April 2004)  

Ulster Immunology Group: "a-Tocopherol in lung disease: can a friend become a foe? (March 2005)

Epithelial group meeting: Regulation of NF-kB signalling in chronic airway inflammation“ (Boehringer Ingelheim sponsored, Belfast, October 2011) 


Awards And Honours/major Prizes

1996 - 1998         PhD Studentship: Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD, Germany)

1998 - 1999         Research Grant: Northern Ireland Mother and Baby Appeal (UK)

1999                   Travel Grant: The UCB Institute of Allergy (Belgium)

1999                   Presentation Prize: Ulster Immunology Group Annual Scientific Meeting (UK)

2002 - 2003         Research Fellowship: Philip Morris External Research (USA)

2003                   Travel Grant: The Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine (USA)

2005                   Promising Researcher Fellowship (R&D Office, Northern Ireland)

2009                   Innovation Leader Award (R&D Office, Northern Ireland)         


2003, 2004          Visiting Professor: University of California at Davis (USA)


TitleJournal NameYear
Evaluation of the ability of LL-37 to neutralise LPS in vitro and ex vivo. PLoS ONE Vol 6(10) (e26525-  DOI 2011
Effect of fruit and vegetable intake on oxidative stress and inflammation in COPD: a RCT European Respiratory Journal Vol In press (e26525-  DOI 2011
A20 Regulation of NF-{kappa}B: Perspectives for Inflammatory Lung Disease. American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology Vol in press (e26525-  DOI   2011
Identifying the spatial distribution of Vitamin E, pulmonary surfactant and membrane lipids by Confocal Raman Microscopy Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) Vol 579 (513-535)  2009
Mice lacking alpha-tocopherol transfer protein gene have severe alpha-tocopherol deficiency in multiple regions of the central nervous system Brain Research Vol 1201 (167-176)  DOI   2008
Increased concentrations of the oxidative DNA adduct 7, 80dihydro-8-oxo-2-deoxyguanosine in the germ-line of men with type 1 diabetes Reproductive BioMedicine Online Vol 16(3) (401-409)  DOI   2008
Severe Vitamin E deficiency modulates airway allergic inflammatory responses in the murine asthma model Free Radical Research Vol 42(4) (387-396)  DOI   2008
The use of Raman microscopy to determine and localize vitamin E in biological samples The FASEB Journal Vol 21(3) (766-776)  DOI   2007
Regulation of the alpha-tocopherol transfer protein in mice: Lack of response to dieary vitamin E or oxidative stress Lipids Vol 41 (105-112)  2006
Alpha-tocopherol modulates Cyp3a expression, increases gamma-CEHC production, and limits tissue gamma-tocopherol accumulation in mice fed high gamma-tocopherol diets Free Radical Biology and Medicine Vol 38 (773-785)  2005
Inhibition of NF kappa B activation and IL-8 expression in human bronchial epithelial cells by acrolein Antioxidants & Redox Signaling Vol 7 (25-31)  2005
Ascorbic acid in nasal and tracheobronchial airway lining fluids Free Radical Biology and Medicine Vol 37(9) (1393-1401)  DOI   2004
Enhanced inflammatory responses in alpha-tocopherol transfer protein null mice Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics Vol 423(1) (162-169)  DOI   2004
Tissue-specific gene expression of prolactin receptor in the acute-phase response induced by lipopolysaccharides American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism Vol 287 (E750-E757)  2004
Gene-nutrient interactions exemplified by the alpha-tocopherol content of tissues from alpha-tocopherol transfer protein-null mice fed different dietary vitamin E concentrations Vitamin E and Health Annals of New York Academy of Sciences Vol 1031 (328-329)  2004
alpha-tocopherol transfer protein deficiency in mice causes multi-organ deregulation of gene networks and behavioral deficits with age Vitamin E and Health Annals of New York Academy of Sciences Vol 1031 (109-126)  2004
5-nitro-gamma-tocopherol increases in human plasma exposed to cigarette smoke in vitro and in vivo Free Radical Biology and Medicine Vol 35 (1560-1567)  2003
Cystic fibrosis in adults - Current and future management strategies Clinical reviews in Allergy & Immunology Vol 25 (275-287)  2003
Gene expression profile of oxidant stress and neurodegeneration in transgenic mice deficient in alpha-tocopherol transfer protein Free Radical Biology and Medicine Vol 35 (1343-1354)  2003
Antioxidants and oxidative stress in BAL fluid of atopic asthmatic children Pediatric Research Vol 53 (375-381)  2003
Interleukin-4 and interleukin-4 soluble receptor alpha in bronchoalveolar lavage from children with asthma. Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Vol 90 (429-433)  2002
Environmental oxidant pollutant effects on biologic systems: a focus on micronutrient antioxidant-oxidant interactions American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine Vol 166 (S44-S50)  2002
Susceptibility to ozone-induced acute lung injury in iNOS-deficient mice American Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology Vol 282 (L540-L545)  2002
Ozone exposure activates stress responses in murine skin Toxicology Vol 179 (163-170)  2002
Antioxidants and protein carbonyls in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of children: normal data Pediatric Research Vol 49(2) (155-161)  DOI 2001
Oxidative stress in lavage fluid of preterm infants at risk of chronic lung disease American Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology Vol 281 (L1386-L1391)    2001
Serum eosinophilic cationic protein and blood eosinophil counts for the prediction of the presence of airways inflammation in children with wheezing Clinical and experimental allergy : journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology Vol 29 (1382-1389)    1999
Inflammatory mediators in bronchoalveolar lavage samples from children with and without asthma Clinical and experimental allergy : journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology Vol 29 (362-366)    1999
In vitro effects of the pyrethroid S-bioallethrin on lymphocytes and basophils from atopic and nonatopic subjects Allergy Vol 53 (1052-1059)    1998
Bronchoalveolar lavage findings suggest two different forms of childhood asthma Clinical and experimental allergy : journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology Vol 27 (1027-1035)    1997
Conference Contribution(s)
Role of CFTR, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Toll-like receptors in cystic fibrosis lung inflammation 2009