Monday 29 February 2016

B-cell activation in RA and Sjogrens

An excellent talk today by Michele Bombardieri...




PI Seminar Series


Speaker:      Dr Michele Bombardieri, MD, PhD, FRCP

Senior Clinical Lecturer and Consultant

Rheumatologist, Queen Mary University of London and Barts Health NHS Trust


Venue:             Baddiley Clark Seminar Room

Date:                29th February 2016

Time:                13.00-14.00


Dr Michele Bombardieri will present:


‘Mechanisms regulating autoreactive B cell activation in rheumatic diseases



Michele Bombardieri is NIHR Senior Clinical Lecturer in Rheumatology at the Centre for Experimental Medicine and Rheumatology. Dr Bombardieri graduated at Catholic University of Rome and completed his specialist Rheumatology training with Prof Valesini at University of Rome La Sapienza”. Since 2003 he joined Prof Pitzalis group at Kings College London where he completed his PhD in Experimental Rheumatology in 2007 with support from a Clinical Research Fellowship from the Arthritis Research Campaign (now Arthritis Research UK). In 2007 he relocated to the William Harvey Research Institute at Queen Mary  University of London as part of the new Centre for Experimental Medicine and Rheumatology. He held an ARUK Clinician Scientist Fellowship until 2010 when he was awarded an NIHR new blood senior clinical lectureship.


Chair: Professor Fai Ng




Wednesday 24 February 2016

ICM Research Seminar Wednesday 24th February 2016 13.00pm Dental Lecture Theatre F

 Today's ICM Research Seminar Wednesday 24th February 2016 13.00pm Dental Lecture Theatre F










ICM Research Seminar


Speakers: Fouzeyyah Ali Alsaeedi, (Prof L Armstrong, Prof M Wright)

Ahmed Ghanim Mahdi Alhelal, (Prof J Whitworth)

Dr Karin Englehardt, (Prof S Hambleton)


Venue: Dental Lecture Theatre F, Dental School

Date and Time:  Wednesday 24th February 2016, 13.00 pm – 14.00 pm


Fouzeyyah Ali Alsaeedi

Potentiating stem cell-derived hepatocyte function


Utilising pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), pancreatic and liver progenitor cells as a source of stem cell and investigate individually and in combination the effects of infecting the cells with viruses encoding liver specific transcription factors and the role of glucocorticoids and SGK1 expression on quantitative function of derived hepatocytes.


Ahmed Ghanim Mahdi Alhelal

Cell-systems physiology in the dental pulp - a preclinical investigation


Structural and functional interrelationships between odontoblast (OCL) and sub-odontoblast cell layers (SOCL) are relevant to tissue formation and regulation in health and disease, but are incompletely understood.  This study employed contemporary immunohistochemical , ELIZA and gene expression techniques to gain important new insights on tissue complexity and signalling within the rodent mandibular incisor.


Dr Karin Engelhardt

A novel heterozygous CD45 wedge mutation in a family with autoimmunity

We apply whole exome sequencing to identify pathogenic variants in novel or known disease-causing genes in patients with primary immunodeficiencies. Homozygous loss-of-function mutations in the gene PTPRC encoding the tyrosine phosphatase CD45, a critical regulator of lymphocyte signalling, are known to cause severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID). We found a novel heterozygous variant in PTPRC in a family with autoimmune features and aim to understand how this mutation in the wedge domain of CD45 leads to autoimmunity



Chair: Luigi Locatelli





Thursday 18 February 2016

Karl Wood - New Starter!

Karl Wood started his new role as the ICM core technician based up on 4th floor Cookson yesterday.

Karl will form part of the new ICM core technical team together with Rachel Banks.

I'm sure you will all welcome Karl on board & look forward to working with him going forward.

NICR Speaker Series Tuesday 23 February at 1.00pm in the Baddiley Clark Seminar Room

This could be interesting! 

NICR External Speaker Series

Tuesday 23 February at 1.00pm in the Baddiley Clark Seminar room and the guest speakers:

Mike Stubbington & Valentina Proserpio EBI & Welcome Trust Sanger Institute

Teichman Lab - group home page is here:

Title of the Seminar is:  Single-cell investigations of T-helper cell differentiation

Brief Synopsis...

Valentina will be talking about her work investigating the link between proliferation and differentiation in Th2 differentiation and the mathematical model that arose from this work. She used single-cell qPCR, single-cell RNAseq and single-cell live imaging. Mike will be talking about work that they have done to extend analyses of T cell single-cell RNAseq data to reconstruct T cell receptor sequences. This allows us to infer clonal relationships between cells and to connect this with their transcriptional identity.

They will give a good overview of Single-cell methods within the context of a set of accessible and exciting scientific questions.


The MRG Lab Meeting will be taking place on Friday 19th February 2016 at 9.00am in the Baddiley Clark Seminar Room. 

Rachel Spiering (Research Associate – Supervisor - Cat Hilkens)
Arthur Pratt (Intermediate Clinical Fellow/Hon Consultant) Title of Talk "The CD4+ lymphocyte in early RA: Seeking pathogenetic insight for clinical benefit" (MRG PI overview)
Amanda Villavilla (Research Associate - Supervisors - Louise Reynard/John Loughlin) Title of Talk "Analysis of DNA methylation in the 20q13 osteoarthritis susceptibility region marked by rs6094710"


Monday 22nd Feb - Tissue Regeneration




PI Seminar Series



Professor Stuart Forbes, Professor of Transplantation and Regenerative Medicine Edinburgh University




Baddiley Clark Seminar Room


Monday 22nd February, 2016





Professor Stuart Forbes will present:



Regenerating the failing liver’


Stuart J Forbes is Professor of Transplantation and Regenerative Medicine, Edinburgh University. Stuart researches how the severely damaged liver regenerates (
Prof Stuart Forbes group at the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh, works on Liver stem cells and regeneration.

). Stuart is Director of (i) The MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, Edinburgh University ( and (ii) the UK wide UKRMP Hub for engineering and exploiting the stem cell niche ( Stuart is a Hepatologist at the Scottish Liver Transplant Unit, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.



Chair:  Dr Jelana Mann





Tuesday 9 February 2016

ICM Research Seminar Wednesday 10th February 2016, 13.00 pm, Dental Lecture Theatre F

 ....including our very own Katie Hackett


ICM Research Seminar


Speakers: Irene Del Molinio Del Barrio, (Prof Kirby, Prof Ali, Dr A Meeson)

Dr Emma Fairhall, (Prof M Wright)

Katie Hackett  (Prof F Ng)


Venue: Dental Lecture Theatre F, Dental School

Date and Time:  Wednesday 10th February 2016, 13.00 pm – 14.00 pm


Irene Del Molinio Del Barrio

CXCR4 and CXCR7 homodimers and heterodimers play differential roles in breast cancer


Most breast cancer deaths are due to metastasis, a process mediated by the chemokine receptor CXCR4 and its ligand CXCL12. This process, however, may also be affected by the expression of CXCR7. Given CXCR7’s ability to form heterodimers with CXCR4, we investigated how dual expression of both receptors differed from their lone expression in terms of their signalling and internalization pathways.


Dr Emma Fairhall

“Transdifferentiation of pancreas to liver: a source of human hepatocyte-like cells.”


The B-13 cell line, is a rat pancreatic acinar cell line capable of transdifferentiating into functional hepatocyte-like cells through single glucocorticoid hormone exposure.  Following work on the B-13 cells we aimed to identify an equivalent human cell line and investigate its conversion into hepatocyte-like cells in order to provide a more clinically relevant in vitro model.


Katie Hackett

“Identifying key barriers to participation for people with primary Sjogren’s syndrome in order to develop future psychosocial interventions: A group concept mapping study”. 


Many people with primary Sjögren’s syndrome (PSS) experience difficulty participating fully in everyday activities such as work or leisure activities.  The specific barriers to participating fully in daily life in this patient group are not yet understood. I am trying to identify priority participatory barriers for people with PSS. In the seminar, I will describe the theory of a group concept mapping exercise, and how this revealed key barriers which include fatigue, worry, sleep problems, pain and low mood. These will inform future interventions for PSS patients.


Chair: Eyman Rashdan



Sarah Rice, PhD

Congratulations to Sarah Rice (Supervisor – John Loughlin) who had a successful VIVA on Monday 11th January 2016.

New Starters

Welcome to our new MRG Undergraduate Project Students:

  • Olivia Rosie Wilkinson  (Supervisors–David Young/David Wilkinson)
  • Jane Ng Wei Ting    (Supervisors–David Young/Matt Barter)
  • Rachel Theobald   (Supervisors–Sophie Hambleton/Karin Engelhardt)
  • Emma Louise Dinnigan   (Supervisors–Sophie Hambleton/Karin Engelhardt)
  • Jennifer Combe    (Supervisors–John Loughlin/Colin Shepherd)
  • Susana Keane    (Supervisors–John Loughlin/Amanda Villalvilla)
  • Michael David Robbins   (Supervisors–Desa Lilic/Tariq AlShehri)
  • Samuel Christopher Mitchell  (Supervisors–Desa Lilic/Tariq AlShehri)
  • Helene Anne-Marie Pans   (Supervisors–Arthur Pratt/Amy Anderson)


Further, successful grant applications:

  • Desa Lilic has obtained MRC Confidence in Concept funding – Newcastle award 46K/6 month for her project: Validating the role of gain-of-function (GOF)-STAT1 mutations in interferonopathies.  Co-applicants on the project are Drew Rowan and David Young
  • Helen Foster has been successful for NIHR funding for the project “Steroid Induction Regimen for Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA)”.

Further MRG Publications

The latest batch of successful publications:

  • Clinical Use of Tolerogenic Dendritic Cells-Harmonization Approach in European Collaborative Effort.  Anja Ten Brinke, Catharien M.U. Hilkens, Nathalie Cools, Edward K. Geissler, James A. Hutchinson, Giovanna Lombardi, Philip Lord, Birgit Sawitzki, Piotr Trzonkowski, S. Marieke Van Ham and Eva M. Martinez-Caceres.  Mediators of Inflammation (2015).  Article ID 471719, 8 pages.
  • CMV seropositivity and T-cell senescence predict increased cardiovascular mortality in octogenarians: results from the Newcastle 85+ study.  Ioakim Spyridopoulos, Carmen Martin-Ruiz, Catharien Hilkens, Mohammad E. Yadegarfar, John Isaacs, Carol Jagger, Tom Kirkwood and Thomas von Zglinicki.  Aging Cell (2015) pp 1-4.  Doi: 10.1111/acel.12430
  • The microRNA-29 family in cartilage homeostasis and osteoarthritis.  Linh T.T. Le, Tracey E. Swingler, Natalie Crowe, Tonia L. Vincent, Matthew J. Barter, Simon T. Donnell, Anne M. Delany, Tamas Dalmay, David A. Young and Ian M. Clark.  J Mol Med. (2015) DOI 10.1007/s00109-015-1374-z 
  • Investigating CD11c expression as a potential genomic biomarker of response to TNF inhibitor biologics in whole blood rheumatoid arthritis samples.  Samantha Louise Smith, Stephen Eyre, Annie Yarwood, Kimme Hyrich, Ann W. Morgan, A.G. Wilson, John Isaacs, Biologics in Rheumatoid Arthritis and Genomics Study Syndicate, Darren Plant and Anne Barton.  Arthritis Research & Therapy (2015) 17: 359
  • A Transcriptional Signature of Fatigue Derived from Patients with Primary Sjögren’s Syndrome.  Katherine James, Shereen Al-Ali, Jessica Tarn, Simon J. Cockell, Colin S. Gillespie, Victoria Hindmarsh, James Locke, Sheryl Mitchell, Dennis Lendrem, Simon Bowman, Elizabeth Price, Colin T. Pease, Paul Emery, Peter Lanyon, John A. Hunter, Monica Gupta, Michele Bombardieri, Nurhan Sutcliffe, Costantino Pitzalis, John McLaren, Annie Cooper, Marian Regan, Ian Giles, David Isenberg, Vadivelu Saravanan, David Coady, Bhaskar Dasgupta, Neil McHugh, Steven Young-Min, Robert Moots, Nagui Gendi, Mohammed Akil, Bridget Griffiths, The UK Primary Sjögren’s Syndrome registry, Anil Wipat, Julie Newton, David E. Jones, John Isaacs, Jennifer Hallinan and Wan-Fai Ng.  PLOS ONE (2015)  DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0143970
  • Paediatric musculoskeletal matters (pmm) – collaborative development of an online evidence based interactive learning tool and information resource for education in paediatric musculoskeletal medicine.  Nicola Smith, Tim Rapley, Sharmila Jandial, Christine English, Barbara Davies, Ruth Wyllie and Helen E Foster.  Pediatric Rheumatology (2016). 14:1 DOI 10.1186/s12969-015-0062-4
  • AIRE is not essential for the induction of human tolerogenic dendritic cells.  Katherine L Crossland, Mario Abinun, Peter D Arkwright, Timothy D Cheetham, Simon H Pearce, Catharien M U Hilkens, Desa Lilic: Autoimmunity 2016
  • Clonal Strain Persistence of Candida albicans Isolates from Chronic Mucocutaneous Candidiasis Patients.  Neil A. R. Gow; Alex J Moorhouse; Desa Lilic; Muhammad Raza; Claire Rennison.  PLoSOne 2016
  • Teaching examples for the design of experiments: geographical sensitivity and the self-fulfilling prophecy.  Dennis W. Lendrem, B. Clare Lendrem, Ruth Rowland-Jones, Fabio D’Agostino, Matt Linsley, Martin R. Owen and John D. Isaacs.  Pharmaceutical Statistics (2016), 15 90-92
  • Factors associated with choice of biologic among children with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: results from two UK paediatric biologic registers.  Lianne Kearsley-Fleet, Rebecca Davies, Eileen Baildam, Michael W. Beresford, Helen E. Foster, Taunton R. Southwood, Wendy Thomson and Kimme L. Hyrich.  Rheumatology (2016) doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kev429
  • Cytokines in rheumatoid arthritis – shaping the immunological landscape.  Ian B. McInnes, Christopher D. Buckley & John D. Isaacs.  Nature Reviews Rheumatology (2016) Vol 12 No 1 pp63-68 Leptin and pro-inflammatory stimuli synergistically upregulate MMP-1 and MMP-3 secretion in human gingival fibroblasts.  Williams RC, Skelton AJ, Todryk SM, Rowan AD, Preshaw PM, Taylor JJ. PLOS ONE 2016; In Press

NUTH Rheumatology wins BSR Emerging Best Practice Award

The Rheumatology Department at NuTH has won the British Society for Rheumatology “Emerging Best Practice” award. Virtually all aspects of what we do as a department in some way fed into the application, which truly was a team effort, and I think the award will rightly be seen as recognition of all the hard work that is done for patients by the Newcastle team.  Special thanks are due to Ben Hargreaves, all the clinical nurse specialists, research team and administrative staff, whose collaborative effort has been key - and to the many people who encouraged the application in the first place, supported it or contributed to it and the BSR visit day in November.


Sunday 7 February 2016

Fw: ICM PI Seminar - Prof Fai Ng - Monday 8th Feb




PI Seminar Series


Speaker:       Professor Fai Ng, Professor of Rheumatology


Venue:  L2.2


Time and Date: 8th February 2016, 13.00-14.00



Professor Fai Ng will present:


Primary Sjogren’s syndrome – from bench to bedside Disease’ 


Primary Sjogren’s syndrome (PSS) is a chronic autoimmune condition characterized by dryness of the eyes and the mouth, muscle and joint pain and disabling fatigue. It is also associated with a markedly increased risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and increased mortality. There is currently no effective treatment in part because the underlying pathogenesis is not clear. It is associated with a high direct and indirect healthcare-related cost with fatigue being one of the key contributing factors to loss of work productivity.


I run a comprehensive programme of research in PSS with particular focus on the following areas: Understanding the pathogenesis of lymphoma development and fatigue; biomarker development to improve the diagnostic pathway for lymphoma and stratification of fatigue; clinical service development including management guidelines and non-pharmacological intervention; partnership with industry to develop early phase clinical trials of novel therapeutics.



Chair: Dr Muzz Haniffa




Wednesday 3 February 2016

MRG Lab Meeting 5.2.16

The MRG Lab Meeting will be taking place on Friday 5th February 2016 at 9.00am in the Baddiley Clark Seminar Room. 
Colin Shepherd (Research Associate – Supervisors - John Loughlin/Louise Reynard)
Desa Lilic (Consultant and Clinical Senior Lecturer in Immunology) Title of Talk "Chronic Mucocutaneous Candidiasis: from bench to bedside" (MRG PI overview)
Laura Ridgley (PhD Student - Supervisors - John Isaacs/Arthur Pratt) Title of Talk "Understanding aberrant CD4+ T-cell signalling in early rheumatoid arthritis".