Inflammation

Inflammatory processes represent a fundamental biological function impacting both positively (physiology) and negatively (pathology) on the performance of our body. Our research is devoted to the study of inflammatory mechanisms controlling immunity and inflammation in the joint, vasculature and diseased organ including heart and kidney. This programme aims to discover the mechanisms behind leukocyte trafficking, develop new gene therapies, anti-inflammatory peptides, small molecules, antagonists that block novel targets, agonists that activate patient-specific pro-resolving pathways. 

Centre for Inflammation and Therapeutic InnovationRecently we have expanded our inflammation research outreach with the formation of a cross-institute multi-faculty Centre for inflammation and Therapeutic Innovation (CiTI) establishing a strategic partnership with Arthritis Research UK and UCB Pharma. During the first phase of financing of CiTI, we have established two Arthritis Research UK Chairs at WHRI. CiTI harness WHRI inflammation research themes, and bring together other sections of the Faculty, with a focus on therapeutic innovation in the context of i) Genomics and personalised medicine; ii) vascular inflammation and cell trafficking; iii) target identification and therapeutic exploitation; iv) reparative and regenerative therapeutics. As such our inflammation programme dovetails very well with a large proportion of our efforts in cardiovascular research.

Our translational research is published in Science and Nature journals, Immunity, PNAS, JCI and more, and the excellence of our research is recognised by the award of the Arthritis Research UK Early Arthritis Treatment Centre and an NIHR Translational Research Partnership. 

Major impact 

  • We lead translational research on rheumatoid arthritis patient stratification, enabling adoption of the cancer model (deep tissue pathotype definition to guide personalised therapy).
  • We pioneered the area of Resolution of Inflammation identifying distinct mediators and receptor targets
  • We made fundamental discoveries on the process of leukocyte trafficking, with translational relevance to organ transplantation
  • For REF2014, we have returned outputs published in Nature, Nature Immunology (x3), Nature Cell Biology, J Exp Med (x2), J Clin Invest, J Cell Biol (x2), PNAS (x2), Blood (x3), Circulation Research and several articles in J Immunol, Arthritis & Rheumatism and Annals of Rheumatic Diseases
  • Several Grant Awards finance our research on the inflammation stream, including – at present - WT/Royal Society Sir Henry Dale Fellowship, European Research Council - Start Grant, Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award, 1 BHF programme Grant, MRC/Arthritis Research UK MATURA Consortium for Stratified Medicine (£4.7m), NIHR Experimental Medicine Evaluation Programme for Stratified Medicine (£1.2million) and a variety of projects from MRC, Arthritis Research UK and other public or private funders. We contribute to the Arthritis Research UK Centre for OA Pathogenesis (lead, Oxford University).

Training

  • Multiple British Heart Foundation and Arthritis Research UK Junior and Intermediate Fellowships and just been awarded two Marie Curie Fellowships. For post-graduate training, we coordinate a Marie Curie ITN with 11 PhD students of which 4 at WHRI/QMUL). At the same time, we host several PhD studentships from Arthritis Research UK, British Heart Foundation, BBSRC and MRC Case studentships. 

Key partnerships and clinical links 

  • We are linked to the Barts Health NHS Trust Musculoskeletal Clinical Service connecting bench to the clinic
  • We are active members of the Academic Health Science Centre of UCL Partners, domain of the 3Is (Inflammation, Immunity, Infection)
  • We have a strong partnership with UCL Rheumatology and a joint research strategy effected also through CiTI
  • Current industrial partners are Genentech/Roche, GSK, MedImmune/AstraZenecaUCB Pharma and Abbvie and many Biotechs. 

Find out more about research at the WHRI

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