Ellen Billett

Ellen Billett


School of Science & Technology

Staff Group(s)


Professor Billett is the Research Coordinator for the School of Science and Technology, Chair of the School of Science and Technology Research Committee and is Director of Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research, co-ordinating the REF Unit of Assessment A03: Allied Health Professions and Studies.

Professor Billett is Module leader of Cell culture and antibody technology (M level, both FT and flexi-learning modes), and teaches on M level modules Neurobiology and neuropathology and Research project.

Research areas

Professor Billett is a member of the Biomedical and Food Sciences research groups.

Areas of research interest include monoamine oxidase (MAO), development of cell culture systems to study neurodegeneration and food authenticity.

  • The role of monoamine oxidase (MAO) in health and disease: Monoamine oxidase plays an important role in the metabolism of exogenous amines and the control of neurotransmitter levels and intracellular amine stores. Perturbation of MAO has been implicated in a number of psychiatric and somatic diseases. Professor Billett's group is particularly interested in its potential roles in pregnancy-induced hypertension, in peripheral tissues, in programmed cell death and in development. MAO-A and MAO-B monoclonal antibodies generated in their laboratory are used in this work, together with recombinant DNA approaches.
  • The development of cell culture systems to study neurodegeneration: Cells are exposed to neurotoxins such as MPTP and rotenone, used as Parkinson Disease mimetics since they inhibit complex 1 of the electron transport chain. Current work is focussing on how the mitochondrial proteome is affected by complex 1 inhibitors.
  • Food Authenticity: Professor Billett's laboratory has extensive experience in the application of proteomics in biomedical sciences (see above) and in food sciences. Her group has developed novel proteomic methods to detect undeclared offal and added serum in meat products.

Research fellows:

  • Dr Lyndsey Durose
  • Dr Aslihan Ugun-Klusek
  • Dr Cheryl Wells

Research students:

  • Muralitharan Ponnniah
  • Harriet Lea
  • Yegor Doush
  • Stacey Bedwell
  • Chelsea Rose

Opportunities to carry out postgraduate research towards an MPhil / PhD exist and further information may be obtained from the NTU Doctoral School.

External activity

Sponsors and collaborators

Current and recent research is being conducted with the collaboration of:

  • Professor N Mahy, University of Barcelona, Spain
  • Professor H Kuhn and Dr Christoph Ufer, Universitatsklinikum Charite, Berlin, Germany
  • Dr D D Mousseau, University of Saskatchewan, Canada
  • Dr R Layfield and Dr L Bedford, University of Nottingham, UK
  • Dr A Abramov, Institute of Neurology, University College London
  • Dr J Fitzgerald, The Hertie Institute, Tübingen, Germany

Research funding  since 2001 includes:

  • Validation of proteomic methods to analyse meat products, Defra (2012-13), £88,982
  • Proteomic analyses in genetic models of Parkinson’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies, University of Nottingham (2012), £30,000
  • Transfer of offal detection assay to an ELISA platform, Defra (2011-2012), £88,833
  • Production of a protocol to analyse processed foods, SIS, in collaboration with major retailer (2011)
  • Use of a mouse model to identify protein profiles in the substantia nigra linked to the development of Parkinson’s Disease, iNET (2010 to 2011), £39,729
  • Use of complementary proteomic platforms to establish a distinctive biomarker profile for pre-eclampsia, iNET (2009 to 2010), £62,500
  • Proteomic detection and quantification of offal, E Billett (PI), A Hargreaves, G Balls and C Creaser, Food Standards Agency (2006 to 2010), £276,000
  • Analysis of the Monoamine oxidase-A promoter, Visiting Leverhulme fellowship for Dr C Ufer (2006 to 2007), £19,000
  • Expression Regulation of Monoamine Oxidase Isoforms in Response to Cytokines. British Council Exchange with Professor H Kuehn, Universitatsklinikum Charite, Berlin (2005 to 2007), £3,200
  • Production and use of monoclonal anti-albumin antibodies to monitor the presence of bovine and porcine blood proteins in processed meat products, Food Standards Agency (2004 to 2008), £220,000
  • Quantification of meat species in fresh and processed foods: an evaluation of the use of antibodies to the insoluble muscle protein desmin, Food Standards Agency (2003 to 2005), £63,000
  • Signalling pathways in differentiated neuronal cells exposed to MPTP, The Dowager Countess Eleanor Peel Trust (2001 to 2003), £30,000
  • Detection of meat species in fresh and processed food: production and use of monoclonal antibodies reactive with the insoluble muscle protein desmin, Food Standards Agency (2001), £21,000.


Monoamine oxidase-A knockdown in human neuroblastoma cells reveals protection against mitochondrial toxins. Fitzgerald JC, Ugun-Klusek A, Allen G, De Girolamo LA, Hargreaves I, Ufer C, Abramov AY, Billett EE, The FASEB Journal, 2014, 28 (1), 218-229

Implications for oxidative stress and astrocytes following 26S proteasomal depletion in mouse forebrain neurones. Elkharaza J, Ugun-Klusek A, Constantin-Teodosiua D, Lawlera K, Mayera RJ, Billett EE,  Lowe J, Bedford L, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta- Moelcular Basis of Disease, 2013, 1832 (12), 1930

Monoamine oxidase a expression is vital for embryonic brain development by modulating developmental apoptosis. Wang CC, Borchert A, Ugun-Klusek A, Tang LY, Lui WT, Chu CY, Billett EE, Kuhn H , Ufer C, Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2011, 286 (32) 28322-28330

Alterations in the mitochondrial proteome of neuroblastoma cells in response to complex 1 inhibition. Billett EE, Burte F, De Girolamo LA, Hargreaves AJ, Journal of Proteome Research, 2011, 10 (4), 1974-1986

An investigation of the potential anti-immunosenescent effects of MitoQ. Barnett YA, Billett EE, Marthandan S, Murphy M. Free Radical Research, 2011, 45 (3), 351–358

Alzheimer’s disease modifies progenitor cell expression of monoamine oxidase B in the subventricular zone. Pugliese M, Rodríguez MJ, Gimeno-Bayon J, Pujadas L, Billett EE, Wells C, Mahy N, Journal of Neuroscience Research, 2010, 88 (12) 2588-2597

Translational regulation of glutathione peroxidase 4 expression through guanine-rich sequence-binding factor 1 is essential for embryonic brain development. Ufer C, Wang CC, Fähling M, Schiebel H, Thiele BJ, Billett EE, Kuhn H, Borchert A, Genes and Development, 2008, 22, 1838-1850

See all of Ellen Billett's publications...

Press expertise

  • Food authenticity and detection of food fraud
  • Detection of undeclared offal and added protein in meat products
  • Antibody technology
  • Immunochemical detection
  • Models for Parkinson's Disease to give a fuller understanding of the disease process
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Production of monoclonal antibodies and use in immunoassays
  • Proteomics, global study of proteins using both 2D gels and mass spectroscopy
  • Use of cellular models to study effects of toxic moieties