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Kate Hughes

Mammary Gland Biology and Involution, Veterinary Anatomic Pathology

I study the mammary gland and tumours developing in this tissue. My particular field of interest encompasses the interactions between different cell types within the mammary gland during mammary gland involution, the process of regression at the end of lactation. I am especially interested in the role of the transcription factor Stat3, both within normal and neoplastic mammary epithelial cells, and in immune cells.

I am a Specialist in Veterinary Anatomic Pathology, and in parallel with my research, I spend a proportion of my time working as part of the diagnostic veterinary anatomic pathology team, providing diagnostic pathology support to the Queen’s Veterinary School Hospital and receiving cases from external practices. In this context I work with, and supervise, the residents in veterinary anatomic pathology. I have a particular interest in neoplasia arising in veterinary species, and in mastitis in ruminants. I also work with other research groups, providing specialist histopathology support and therefore contributing to diverse projects allied to my interests in the fields of oncology and immunity.

Key Publications

Google Scholar - link to all publications

The Mammary Microenvironment in Mastitis in Humans, Dairy Ruminants, Rabbits and Rodents: A One Health Focus.Hughes K* and Watson CJ. J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia. 2018;

Sinus-like dilatations of the mammary milk ducts, Ki67 expression, and CD3-positive T lymphocyte infiltration, in the mammary gland of wild European rabbits during pregnancy and lactation. Hughes K* and Watson CJ. J Anat. 2018;

Stat3 modulates chloride channel accessory protein expression in normal and neoplastic mammary tissue. Hughes K*, Blanck M, Pensa S, Watson CJ. Cell Death & Disease. 2016; 7, e2398; doi:10.1038/cddis.2016.302

Over-expression of the oncostatin-M receptor in cervical squamous cell carcinoma is associated with epithelial-mesenchymal transition and increased metastasis. Kucia-Tran J, Tulkki V, Smith S, Scarpini C, Hughes K, Araujo A, Yan K, Botthof J, Pérez-Gómez E, Quintanilla M, Cuschieri K, Munoz-Caffarel M, Coleman N.  Br J Cancer. 2016; 115: 212–222.

Anaplastic large cell lymphoma arises in thymocytes and requires transient T cell receptor expression for thymic egress. Malcolm T, Villarese P, Fairbairn C, Lamant L, Trinquand A, Hook C, Amos Burke G, Brugières L, Hughes K, Payet D, Merkel O, Schiefer A, Ashankyty I, Mian S, Wasik M, Turner M, Kenner L, Asnafi V, Macintyre E, Turner SD. Nat Commun. 2016; 7, article number: 10087.

Estrogen receptor and Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3 expression in equine mammary tumors. Hughes K*, Scase TJ, Foote, AK. Vet Path. 2015; 52 (4): 631-634.

Conditional deletion of Stat3 in mammary epithelium impairs the acute phase response and modulates immune cell numbers during post-lactational regression. Hughes K, Wickenden J, Allen J, Watson C.  J Pathol. 2012; 227 (1): 106–117. doi: 10.1002/path.3961

Prognostic histopathological and molecular markers in feline mammary neoplasia. Hughes K*, Dobson J. The Veterinary Journal. 2012; 194 (1):19-26. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2012.05.008.

* indicates corresponding author.

 Kate Hughes

Dr Kate Hughes

Senior Lecturer in Veterinary Anatomic Pathology

    Plain English

    The mammary gland is a dynamic organ which undergoes cycles of proliferation and cell death in the adult animal. I am particularly interested in studying the process of mammary gland involution, in which many of the milk-producing mammary epithelial cells are removed at the end of lactation and the gland is largely restored to its pre-pregnant state. My work focuses on the interactions between different cell types in the gland during this process and understanding how this process may impact mammary tumour development.

    I am a Specialist in Veterinary Anatomic Pathology, and in parallel with my research I enjoy contributing to the diagnostic pathology service of the Queen’s Veterinary School Hospital and receiving cases from external practices. Clinical aspects of my research focus on the pathogenesis of tumours arising in domestic species and the study of mastitis in ruminants.