Friday 18 December 2015

MRG Christmas Quiz

All the group are gathered for the annual Christmas quiz.
All the questions will be about the arthritis research published this year.

Put those phones away.... I'm sure that's cheating.....

Thursday 10 December 2015

Biomarkers of Remission in RA and Histone Modifications in Chrondrogenesis

The MRG Lab Meeting will be taking place on Friday 11th December 2015 at 9.00am in the Baddiley Clark Seminar Room. 
Faye Cooles (Clinical Fellow/PhD Studentship - Supervisors John Isaacs, Cat Hilkens and Amy Anderson)
Kat Cheung (PhD Student - Supervisors David Young and Carole Proctor) Title of Talk "ChIP-seq analysis of dynamic histone modifications in chondrogenesis"
Ken Baker (Clinical Fellow/PhD Studentship – Supervisor John Isaacs) Title of Talk "The Biomarkers of Remission in Rheumatoid Arthritis (BioRRA) Study"


Monday 7 December 2015

Emily Mavin on immuno-modulatory properties of Treg derived extra-cellular vesicles.




ICM Research Seminar

Speakers:  Dr Anders Andreasson, Research Associate (Prof A Fisher,

Prof S Ali, Prof J  Dark)

Emily Hudson, PhD Student (Prof P Manning, Prof C McNeil, Prof M Wright)

Emily Mavin, Research Associate (Prof A Dickinson)

Venue: Dental Lecture Theatre F, Dental School

Date and Time:  Wednesday 9th December 2015, 13.00 pm – 14.00 pm


Dr Anders Andreasson will discuss:

An evaluation of cellular and molecular mechanisms of donor lung reconditioning during clinical ex vivo lung perfusion

Emily Hudson will discuss:

Hepatocytes from Pancreatic Progenitor Cells and their use in Toxicity Screening

Emily Mavin will discuss:

Immuno-modulatory properties of Treg derived extra-cellular vesicles.

Chair:  Pier Paoli




Monday 30 November 2015

Newcastle identified as a Centre of Excellence by EULAR 2015-2020

We are pleased to announce that once again Newcastle has been identified as a Centre of Excellence by the European League Against Rheumatism.

EULAR | Centres of excellence
Centres of Excellence in Rheumatology. EULAR collates a register of the top research centres in European rheumatology with a three-fold goal: to develop a group of ...

New Publication

MRG researchers first to describe a new mechanism as to how, in osteoarthritis, DNA polymorphisms associated with the disease could be functioning - by altering your epigenome.

Methylation quantitative trait locus analysis of osteoarthritis links epigenetics with genetic risk.
Rushton MD et al., Hum Mol Genet. 2015 Oct 13. pii: ddv433. [Epub ahead of print]

New Publication

Members of MRG involved in the identification of new microRNAs important in osteoarthritic cartilage:

Detecting new microRNAs in human osteoarthritic chondrocytes identifies miR-3085 as a human, chondrocyte-selective, microRNA. Crowe et al., Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2015 Oct 20. pii: S1063-4584(15)01351-5. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2015.10.002. [Epub ahead of print]

Fw: ICM Research Seminar Wednesday 2nd December 2015, 13.00pm Dental Lecture Theatre F


ICM Research Seminar


Speakers:  Hannah Sinclair, PhD Student (Prof J Newton, Dr V Kunadian)

Kat Cheung, PhD Student (Prof D Young, Dr M Barter, Dr C Proctor)

Dr David Hill, NC3Rs Fellow


Venue: Dental Lecture Theatre F, Dental School

Date and Time:  Wednesday 2nd December 2015, 13.00 pm – 14.00 pm


Hannah Sinclair will discuss:

"Shedding Light (And Sound) On the Pattern of Coronary Artery Disease in Older Patients with Acute Coronary Syndrome"


Kat Cheung will discuss:

“ChIP-seq analysis of histone modifications in chondrogenesis”


Dr David Hill will discuss:

“Role of the 3Rs in Cancer Research.”


Chair:  Marco Silipo



Wednesday 18 November 2015

Congratulations Ramsay

Ramsay Refaie has received a 1 year fellowship from ARUK which will allow him to continue his work on biomarkers for joint replacement infection and upgrade his project from an MD to a PhD.

Welcome to the 'New' Starters

Oliver Etherington (Research Technician – Supervisors John Isaacs and Amy Anderson) Start Date 10.8.15

Ayotomide Isinkaye (Clinical Research Fellow – Supervisor Fai Ng) will be working with us until March 2016

Silvia Lecci (PhD Student – Supervisors David Young and Drew Rowan) Start Date 28.9.15

Sarah Rice (Research Associate – Supervisors John Loughlin and Louise Reynard) Start Date 5.10.15

Dongxing Zhu (Research Associate – Supervisors John Loughlin and Louise Reynard) Start Date 5.10.15

Ramsay Refaie (Clinical Research Fellow – Supervisor Cat Hilkens) Start Date 20.10.15

Rachel Banks will be joining MRG as our ICM Lab Technician on the 30th November 2015

Also a big hello to Clinical Research Fellow Nadia Howard-Tripp working with Fai on Sjogren's Syndrome and to Research Nurse Helen Hanson who is working with John Isaacs on extending engagement in research as part of the Newcastle Experimental Arthritis Treatment Centre.

Congratulations to Shane and Sandy

Congratulations to Shane Walsh (Supervisors – Kenny Dalgarno and Mark Birch) who had a successful VIVA on Friday 7th August 2015.

Congratulations to Sandy Tse (Supervisor – Drew Rowan) who had a successful MPhil VIVA on Friday 11th September 2015.

Further Publications

Why is it hard to terminate failing projects in pharmaceutical R&D?  Peck RW, Lendrem DW, Grant I, Lendrem BC, Isaacs JD.  Nat Rev Drug Discov, 2015 14, 1-2.

Gain-of-function STAT1 mutations impair STAT3 activity in patients with Chronic Mucocutaneous Candidiasis (CMC).  Zheng J, Veerdonk FL, Crossland KL, Smeekens SP, Chan CM, Shehri TA, Abinun M, Gennery AR, Mann J, Lendrem DW, Netea MG, Rowan AD, Lilic D.  Eur J Immunol. 2015 Aug 10. doi: 10.1002/eji.201445344. [Epub ahead of print]

A concept mapping study evaluating the UK’s first NHS generic fatigue clinic.  Katie L Hackett, Rebecca L Lambson, Victoria Strassheim, Zoe Gotts, Vincent Deary and Julia L Newton.  Health Expectations.  August 2015. doi: 10.1111/hex.12405.

Lost in Space: Design of Experiments and Scientific Exploration in a Hogarth Universe. 2015 Lendrem DW, Lendrem BC, Woods D, Rowland-Jones R, Burke M, Chatfield M, Isaacs JD, Owen MR. Drug Discov Today.  Drug Discovery Today, 20 (11), 1365–1371

Hurdles in therapy with regulatory T cells.  Piotr Trzonkowski, Rosa Bacchetta, Manuela Battaglia, David Berglund, Nathalie Cools, Edward K. Geissler, Silvia Gregori, S. Marieke van Ham, Catharien Hilkens, James A. Hutchinson, Giovanna Lombardi, J. Alejandro Madrigal, Natalia Marek-Trzonkowska, Eva M. Martinez-Caceres, Maria Grazia Roncarolo, Silvia Sanchez-Ramon, Aurore Saudemont and Birgit Sawitzki.  Science Translational Medicine.  9th September 2015.  Vol 7, Issue 304, pp 304-318

Teaching Examples for the Design of Experiments: Geographical Sensitivity and the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy 2015 Lendrem DW, Lendrem BC, Rowland-Jones R, D'Agostino F, Linsley M, Owen MR, Isaacs JD.  Pharm Stats. In press.  November, 2015 DOI: 10.1002/pst.1723

What do they need to know: achieving consensus on paediatric musculoskeletal content for medical students?  Sharmila Jandial, Jane Stewart and Helen E Foster.  BMC Medical Education (2015) 15:171.  DOI 10.1186/s12909-015-0449-4

Tribbles and arthritis: what are the links? Rowan AD, Litherland GJ.   Biochem Soc Trans 2015:43(5);1051-6

Friday 6 November 2015

Another Eclectic Mix: Hepatocytes, scaffolding studies and bile acid receptor signalling.

ICM Research Seminar

Speakers:  Alistair Leitch, PhD Student (Prof M Wright)
Hannah Swinburne, PhD Student (Prof C McNeil, Dr N Keegan, Dr C Johnson)
Rachel Etherington, PhD Student (Prof J Kirby)
Venue: Dental Lecture Theatre F, Dental School
Date and Time:  Wednesday 11th November  2015 13.00 pm – 14.00 pm
Alistair Leitch will discuss:
"B-13 Progenitor-Derived Hepatocytes (B-13/H cells) Model Lipid Dysregulation in Response to Drugs and Chemicals"
Hannah Swinburne will discuss:
"Aequorin as a scaffold for peptide aptamers."
Rachel Etherington will discuss:
"Modulation of the immune response in Primary Biliary Cirrhosis by bile acid receptor signalling."
Chair: Dr Timothy Hardy

Tuesday 3 November 2015

PAR2 Receptors, Biosensors and Doing Daily Life


ICM Research Seminar
Speakers:  Adrian Falconer, PhD Student (Prof Drew Rowan)
Dr Carl Dale, Research Associate,
Lizzie Dutton PhD Student (Prof Michael Trenell/Dr Katie Brittan)
Venue: Dental Lecture Theatre F, Dental School
Date and Time:  Wednesday 4Th November 2015 13.00 pm – 14.00 pm
Adrian Falconer will discuss:
"Investigating the activation and disarming of Protease-activated receptor 2 (PAR2)"
Carl Dale will discuss:
"The Development of Point-of-Care Biosensors"
Lizzie Dutton will discuss:
"This is marvellous!" 
Experiences of using a diary-interview method to explore daily-routines with people with dementia and mild cognitive impairment.
Chair: Nishanthi Thalayasingam,

Monday 2 November 2015

Cresta Fatigue Clinic in the Mail on Sunday

The Mail on Sunday features the Cresta Clinic to combat long-term fatigue via


Read more from Katie Hackett and colleagues at the Cresta Clinic.

Saturday 24 October 2015

RA and Diabetes Special

ICM Research Seminar
Speakers: Laura Ridgley, PhD Student (Prof John Isaacs/Amy Anderson)
Katrin Jaedicke, NIHR Fellow
Dr Amy Anderson, Research Associate
Venue: Dental Lecture Theatre F, Dental School
Date and Time:  Wednesday 28th October 2015 13.00 pm – 14.00 pm
Laura Ridgley will discuss:
Understanding aberrant CD4+ T-cell signalling in early rheumatoid arthritis.
Katrin Jaedicke will discuss:
Do diabetic patients with periodontitis benefit from self-monitoring their periodontal inflammation profile?
A feasibility study.
Amy Anderson will discuss:
Age-associated B cells in rheumatoid arthritis
Chair: Kile Green, PhD Student.

Monday 19 October 2015

Tackling Fatigue: Multi-Disciplinary Teams at the CRESTA Clinic

Fatigue is a debilitating symptom affecting quality of life and ability to perform daily activities, and is experienced by up to 70% of patients with rheumatological diseases. Many patients do not feel their fatigue is appropriately managed by their medical teams, and no services up until this point enabled patients with chronic
fatigue, irrespective of their longterm physical health condition, to access a multidisciplinary team. The CRESTA Fatigue Clinic was formed in response to this unmet need. It is a novel approach to treating on symptom based,
not disease-based, criteria. It has proved successful and we suggest it is the future of managing fatigue in chronic


Rebecca L Lambson, Julia L Newton, Victoria Strassheim, Zoe M Gotts, Vincent Deary, Katie L Hackett 2015 The evolution of the Newcastle CRESTA Fatigue Clinic: a unique NHS multidisciplinary approach to fatigue. Journal of Rheumatology Occupational Therapy, 29, 7-11.




Thursday 8 October 2015

Systemic Autoinflammatory Diseases - 19th October




Dr Sinisa Savic

Consultant Clinical Immunologist and honorary Clinical Associate Professor,

St James's University Hospital, Leeds




Baddiley Clark Seminar Room


Monday 19th October 2015


13.00 – 14.00pm



Dr Sinisa Savic, MBBS, MRCP, MSc, MRCP (London), FRCPath, PhD will present:


Systemic autoinflammatory disorders:

pathophysiology and diagnosis in routine clinical practice



One of his main clinical and research interest is pathophysiology, diagnosis treatment of autoinflammatory conditions. His work in this area was initially focused on the pathogenesis of TNF Receptor periodic fever syndrome. More recently he has evaluated use of anakinra (anti-IL-1 biologic) in diagnosis of patients with undifferentiated (genetically undefined) autoinflammatory syndromes.


For the purposes of this meeting his presentation will include a brief overview of the principles which define the concept of autoinflammation. He will also present some of his work on the pathophysiology of TRAPS. He will talk about the crossover between of autoinflammation and autoimmunity and the role of these processes in the pathogenesis of more common conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.


Chair:  Dr Desa Lilic




Friday 2 October 2015

Medicine in the Information Age



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Lecture invitation





Newcastle University Medical School:


Wednesday 4 November 2015





Medicine in the Information Age
Professor Andrew Morris FRSE FMedSci






You are invited to attend a lecture by Professor Andrew Morris FRSE FMedSci, who will be giving a talk titled `Medicine in the Information Age' at Newcastle University Medical School on Wednesday 4 November 2015 at 17:00.


Professor Morris is Professor of Medicine; Director of the Usher Institute for Population Health Sciences and Informatics and Vice Principal, Data Science, at the University of Edinburgh, having taken up position in August 2014. Prior to this he was Dean of Medicine at the University of Dundee.


He is seconded as Chief Scientist at the Scottish Government Health Directorate which supports and promotes high quality research aimed at improving the quality and cost-effectiveness of services offered by NHS Scotland and securing lasting improvements to the health of the people of Scotland.


The lecture will begin at 17:00 and will be followed by a drinks reception. 


I do hope you will be able to join us for this interesting evening and ask you to reserve the date in your diaries.  


With best wishes,

Professor Christine Harrison FMedSci





17:00, Wednesday 4 November 2015


David Shaw Lecture Theatre

The Medical School

Newcastle University

Framlington Place

Newcastle Upon Tyne NE2 4AB 






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Wednesday 23 September 2015

2016 Rheumatology Research Workshop


Coming soon...


The 36th European Workshop for Rheumatology Research, February 25-27, 2016 in York, United Kingdom.

The Future of Medical Research

Subject: FW: 2015 Jacobson Lecture Friday 25th September - Professor Sir John Savill MBBS FRS PhD, Chief Executive, Medical Research Council

Professor Sir John Savill will be giving the 2015 Jacobson Lecture this Friday 25th September at 5.30pm in the Curtis Auditorium, Herschel Building.



Dendritic Cells Special


PI Seminar Series



Speaker:                   Alexandra-Chloé Villani, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard


Venue:                        Baddiley Clark Seminar Room

Date:                           Wednesday 23rd September 2015

Time:                           13.00-14.00


Chloe Villani will present:


'Discovery of dendritic cell sub-populations in human blood

by single cell RNA-sequencing'




Following-up a decade of successful disease susceptibility loci identification, the next challenge remains translating these findings to biological understanding of disease. Identifying cells in which these loci are expressed and analyzing individual cells' roles in health and disease are critical to this endeavor. Dendritic cells (DC), which have historically been defined through surface marker analysis, play a critical role in a host's response to pathogens and in the immune responses characterizing cancer, inflammatory and infectious diseases. To discover DC subtypes in a more unbiased approach, we used single cell RNA-seq (scRNA-seq) to profile the transcriptome of 1056 single human blood DCs isolated from a healthy individual. While supervised analysis of DC markers effectively classified the 4 known populations (BDCA2+ (IL3RA), BDCA1+ (CD1C), BDCA3+ (CLEC9A), CD16+ (FCGR3A)), unsupervised analysis re-discovered all 4 subsets through a 630-discriminative gene signature in addition to highlighting novel heterogeneity within subsets. Multi-dimensional classification analysis of the first 384 single cells sequenced identified 26 outlier cells not clustering with any of the 4 known subsets. These outliers displayed a unique expression signature and a shared signature with BDCA2+ and BDCA3+ lineages. Using cell surface markers identified by scRNA-seq, we sorted and validated the existence of these cells in 10 additional healthy donors, showing they represent 0.06% of the PBMCs population in the blood and 2-3% of the DC populations across all 10 donors tested. Isolation and profiling of an additional 384 single cell outliers, together with functional experiments, enabled a deeper characterization of their phenotype. Together these analyses provide a comprehensive view of the DC landscape in blood, revealing new signatures and markers for the 4 known populations, novel subtypes within the known populations, and new rare populations of DCs.


Chair: Dr Muzz Haniffa



Thursday 3 September 2015

Prof Dieter Brömme Cathepsins and Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis and Others







Prof Dieter Brömme

Canada Research Chair in Proteases and Diseases, University of British Columbia, Faculty of Dentistry, Vancouver, Canada






Friday 4th September 2015


12.00 – 1.00pm


Prof Dieter Brömme will present:


‘Extracellular Matrix Degradation by Cathepsins’



Extracellular matrix degradation is thought to be catalyzed by matrix metalloproteases as they are active at neutral pH, secreted or localized at plasma membranes, and efficient in degrading matrix proteins. However, recent research has revealed that lysosomal acidic cysteine proteases such as cathepsins are critical for bulk matrix protein turnover and that they significantly contribute to various extracellular matrix related pathologies such as osteoporosis, arthritis, atherosclerosis, destructive lung diseases, cancer and skin disorders. Cysteine proteases such as cathepsins K, S, and V represent arguably the most potent mammalian collagenases and/or elastases. The presentation will provide structural explanations for their matrix protein-degrading activities, discuss the role of these enzymes in bone and vascular diseases, and characterize them as effective therapeutic targets.  A novel approach of selectively inhibiting the collagenase and elastase activity of cathepsins without interfering with other activities will be discussed using cathepsin K as an example.


Chair:  Prof Drew Rowan


Please let Drew Rowan ( know if you would like to speak to Dieter in the afternoon after the talk.