Sussan Nourshargh, FMedSci

Head of Centre for Microvascular Research & Professor of Microvascular Pharmacology

Sussan Nourshargh is a pharmacologist who studied at University College London (BSc) and King’s College London (PhD) and became Professor of Immunopharmacology at Imperial College London in 2006. In 2007 she joined Barts and The London Medical School to establish and head a new Centre focusing on Microvascular Research.


  •  Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award (2012)  
  •  Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (2012)
  •  Fellow of the Society of Biology (2010)
  •  Fellow of the British Pharmacological Society (2005)
  •  Wellcome Trust University Award (1996)
  • Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellowship (1990)

External activities

  • Member of the British Heart Foundation Board of Trustees and Advisory Council (2015-2018)
  • Member of Wellcome Trust’s Biomedical Resources & Multi-User Equipment Committee (2015-2018)
  • Academy of Medical Sciences Springboard Panel (2015 to date)
  • Royal Society’s Newton Advanced Fellowship Panel (2014-2017)
  • Recipient of the Kaley Gabor Prize in Microcirculation Research from the American Societies of Physiology and Microcirculation (2016)
  • Recipient of the British Pharmacological Society AstraZeneca Prize for Women in Pharmacology (2014)
  • Member of the British Heart Foundation Fellowship Committee (2011-2014)
  • Member of The Wellcome Trust’s Peer Review College (2012-2015)
  • Chair and Member of the Academy of Medical Sciences Committee (SC3) for selection of new Fellows (2012 to date)
  • Treasurer of the UK Adhesion Society (2007 to date)
  • Editor of European Journal of Immunology (2013 to date)
  • Editor of British Journal of Pharmacology (2010-2013)


Summary of Research

The principal objective of our research is to investigate the mode, dynamics and mechanisms of leukocyte transmigration, the final stage in the leukocyte adhesion cascade that describes the movement of leukocytes from the vascular lumen into inflamed and/or injured tissues. To achieve this goal we rigorously investigate the interactions of leukocytes with different components of microvessel walls (endothelial cells, pericytes and the vascular basement membrane) using both physiologically relevant as well as pathological inflammatory models. A key component of our work is a research programme that investigates how pathological inflammatory insults impact the dynamics of neutrophil-vessel wall interactions and the implications of disrupted modes of neutrophil transmigration (eg neutrophil reverse transmigration) on inflammatory disease development and dissemination. Collectively through the application of advanced imaging platforms such as confocal intravital microscopy to analyse leukocyte-vessel wall interactions in vivo, our work aims to unravel previously unexplored cellular and molecular physiological concepts and identify disease-specific phenomena.

Our work is largely funded by the Wellcome Trust (Senior Investigator Award) and several grants from the British Heart Foundation and the Arthritis Research UK.

Members of the Group

Academics: Sian Henson (Senior Lecturer; HEFCE), James Whiteford (Lecturer; HEFCE), Mathieu-Benoit Voisin (Lecturer; AR-UK), Abigail Woodfin (Lecturer; BHF) and Tom Nightingale (Lecturer; ECR)

Honorary Academics: Tim Williams; Robin Poston
Research staff: Tamara Girbl; Amy Sawtell, Natalia Reglero, Ross King, Steven Morrell
PhD students: Giulia De Rossi; Catherine Pickworth; Robert Beal; Samantha Arokiasamy, Anna Barkaway
Support staff: Matthew Golding (Lab Manager); Andy Vaughan (Centre Administrator)

Key Publications

For a full list of publist publications click here

Colom B., Bodkin J., Beyrau M., Woodfin A., Voisin M-B., Brohi K., Chavakis T., Imhof B. A.,  and  Nourshargh S. Leukotriene B4-neutrophil elastase axis drives neutrophil reverse transendothelial cell migration in vivo. Immunity. 2015 Jun 1. pii: S1074-7613(15)00207-1. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2015.05.010

Nourshargh S and Alon R. Leukocyte migration into inflamed tissues: cross-talks between effector leukocytes and venular walls. Immunity, 41: 694-707 (2014).

Finsterbusch M., Voisin M-B., Beyrau M., Williams T. J. and Nourshargh S. Neutrophils recruited by chemoattractants in vivo induce microvascular plasma protein leakage through secretion of TNF. J Exp Med., 21:1307-1314 (2014).

Leinster D.A., Colom B., Whiteford J. R., Ennis D. P., Lockley M., McNeish I. A., Aurrand-Lions M., Chavakis T., Imhof B. A., Balkwill F. R. and Nourshargh S. Endothelial cell junctional adhesion molecule-C plays a key role in the development of tumours in a murine model of ovarian cancer. FASEB J., 27: 4244-4253 (2013).

Proebstl, D., M.B. Voisin, A. Woodfin, J. Whiteford, F. D'Acquisto, G.E. Jones, D. Rowe and S. Nourshargh. Pericytes support neutrophil subendothelial cell crawling and breaching of venular walls in vivo. J Exp Med., 209:1219-34 (2012).
Colom, B., Y. Poitelon, W. Huang, A. Woodfin, S. Averill, U. Del Carro, D. Zambroni, S.D. Brain, M. Perretti, A. Ahluwalia, J.V. Priestley, T. Chavakis, B.A. Imhof, M.L. Feltri and S. Nourshargh. Schwann cell-specific JAM-C-deficient mice reveal novel expression and functions for JAM-C in peripheral nerves. FASEB J., 26:1064-76 (2012).

Woodfin, A., M.B. Voisin, M. Beyrau, B. Colom, D. Caille, F.M. Diapouli, G.B. Nash, T. Chavakis, S.M. Albelda, G.E. Rainger, P. Meda, B.A. Imhof and S. Nourshargh. The junctional adhesion molecule JAM-C regulates polarized transendothelial migration of neutrophils in vivo. Nat Immunol., 12:761-9 (2011).

Nourshargh, S., P.L. Hordijk and M. Sixt. Breaching multiple barriers: leukocyte motility through venular walls and the interstitium. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol., 11:366-78 (2010)

Voisin, M.B., D. Probstl and S. Nourshargh. Venular basement membranes ubiquitously express matrix protein low-expression regions: characterization in multiple tissues and remodeling during inflammation. Am J Pathol., 176:482-95 (2010).

Scheiermann, C., B. Colom, P. Meda, N.S. Patel, M.B. Voisin, A. Marrelli, A. Woodfin, C. Pitzalis, C. Thiemermann, M. Aurrand-Lions, B.A. Imhof and S. Nourshargh. Junctional adhesion molecule-C mediates leukocyte infiltration in response to ischemia reperfusion injury. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol., 29:1509-15 (2009).

Voisin, M.B., A. Woodfin and S. Nourshargh. Monocytes and neutrophils exhibit both distinct and common mechanisms in penetrating the vascular basement membrane in vivo. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol., 29:1193-9 (2009).

Woodfin, A., M.B. Voisin, B.A. Imhof, E. Dejana, B. Engelhardt and S. Nourshargh. Endothelial cell activation leads to neutrophil transmigration as supported by the sequential roles of ICAM-2, JAM-A, and PECAM-1. Blood, 113:6246-57 (2009).

Scheiermann, C., P. Meda, M. Aurrand-Lions, R. Madani, Y. Yiangou, P. Coffey, T.E. Salt, D. Ducrest-Gay, D. Caille, O. Howell, R. Reynolds, A. Lobrinus, R.H. Adams, A.S. Yu, P. Anand, B.A. Imhof and S. Nourshargh. Expression and function of junctional adhesion molecule-C in myelinated peripheral nerves. Science, 318:1472-5 (2007).

Ley, K., C. Laudanna, M.I. Cybulsky and S. Nourshargh. Getting to the site of inflammation: the leukocyte adhesion cascade updated. Nat Rev Immunol.,7:678-89 (2007).

Woodfin, A., C.A. Reichel, A. Khandoga, M. Corada, M.B. Voisin, C. Scheiermann, D.O. Haskard, E. Dejana, F. Krombach and S. Nourshargh. JAM-A mediates neutrophil transmigration in a stimulus-specific manner in vivo: evidence for sequential roles for JAM-A and PECAM-1 in neutrophil transmigration. Blood, 110: 1848-56 (2007).

Wang, S., M.B. Voisin, K.Y. Larbi, J. Dangerfield, C. Scheiermann, M. Tran, P.H. Maxwell, L. Sorokin and S. Nourshargh. Venular basement membranes contain specific matrix protein low expression regions that act as exit points for emigrating neutrophils. J Exp Med., 203:1519-32 (2006).

Huang, M.T., K.Y. Larbi, C. Scheiermann, A. Woodfin, N. Gerwin, D.O. Haskard and S. Nourshargh. ICAM-2 mediates neutrophil transmigration in vivo: evidence for stimulus specificity and a role in PECAM-1-independent transmigration. Blood,107:4721-7 (2006).



Professor Nourshargh awarded a British Heart Foundation project grant (2014)

Professor Sussan Nourshargh awarded the Astra Zeneca Prize Award for Women in Pharmacology from the British Pharmacology Society (2014)

Dr Tamara Girbl awarded an EU Horizon 2020 COFUND Fellowship (2014)

Dr Tamara Girbl awarded a BHF Immediate Post-doctoral Fellowship (2013)

Professor Sussan Nourshargh elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (April 2012).

Professor Sussan Nourshargh awarded Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award (May 2012).

Dr. Mathieu-Benoit Voisin awarded Arthritis Research UK Fellowship (January 2012).

Dr. Mathieu-Benoit Voisin awarded Young Investigator Award (Best oral presentation) at the international meeting of “Neutrophil in Immunity”, Quebec, Canada (June 2012).

Dr. Martina Beyrau awarded Young Investigator Award (oral presentation) at WHRI Annual Review (July 2012).

Ms. Krishma Halai awarded runner-up prize in British Heart Foundation Reflections of Research Image Competition (May 2012).

Professor Beat Imhof (University of Geneva) joins Centre for Microvascular Research as a visiting Professor (April-June 2012).

Dr. Abigail Woodfin awarded the prestigious Servier Prize in Microcirculation at 26th European Congress for Microcirculation (June 2011).

Dr. Abigail Woodfin awarded British Heart Foundation Intermediate Basic Science Research Fellowship (April 2011).


Internal: Professor Federica Marelli-Berg (WHRI); Professor Chris Thiemermann (WHRI); Professor Mauro Perretti (WHRI);  Professor Karim Brohi (Trauma Centre)

External: Professor Beat Imhof (Geneva, Switzerland); Dr Michel Aurrand-Lions (Marseille, France); Professor Trian Chavakis (Dresden, Germany); Professor Peter Heeringa (Groningen, Netherlands); Professor Mark Little (Dublin, Ireland); Professor Ed Rainger (University of Birmingham)


Professor Sussan Nourshargh, PhD, FMedSci
Centre for Microvascular Research

William Harvey Research Institute
Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry
Queen Mary, University of London

Charterhouse Square
London, EC1M 6BQ
T: +44 (0) 20 7882 8240 

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