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2020 NIHR ACF PES Newcastle Platform Science and Bioinformatics



2020 NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship in Priority Research Themes

HEE Local Office: North East
Medical School: Newcastle University
Research Theme: Platform Science and Bioinformatics
Specialty Options: Dermatology or Paediatrics or Rheumatology

Plain English Summary

Advances in medical technologies now allow the in depth study of human disease down to the level of an individual’s DNA or an inventory of the protein-coding genes being used in a specific diseased organ or tissue. The machines that generate this data from patient samples can handle large numbers of specimens and generate enormous outputs in terms of information. The modern-day NHS faces a challenge to firstly integrate these new technologies into clinical care and for clinicians to be able to use and understand this data in a meaningful way to help benefit patients. This programme will allow a fully integrated research and medical training allowing the benefits of modern technologies to be implemented to study clinical problems in patients. Newcastle has high quality clinical research environment linked directly to world leading scientific expertise and state of the art laboratory and computational infrastructure that will allow the trainee doctors to learn from multidisciplinary research teams how to understand more about their patients’ diseases. This can be as simple as answering questions about what caused the disease, but may also explaining why 2 patients have different outcomes from the same disease or why patients did or didn’t respond to a certain treatment. The linkage of high-quality clinical services with the most modern research infrastructure and expertise will provide an inspirational training experience for those on the programme. It is the aim that this training will equip the doctors of the future with the skills to allow them to care for their patients in a more direct and precise way, and devise new individualised treatments specific to the underlying cause and disease process.

Dermatology: Projects will involve integration of cutting-edge single-cell technologies with our well-characterised patient clinical cohorts including psoriasis and eczema. This will determine the response of skin diseases to systemic and biological treatments. We are defining the clinical and molecular biomarkers of psoriasis in response to biological therapy. Opportunities are also available in investigator led studies in using re-purposing of drugs to treat rare skin diseases.

Rheumatology: Projects will integrate with our highly original therapeutic research. We have pioneered the application of cell therapies in rheumatoid arthritis. Using state-of-the-art immune monitoring, we are identifying the optimal route of delivery to target cells to target tissues.

Paediatrics: Newcastle University and The Great North Children’s Hospital are world-renowned centres of excellence not only in offering state-of-the art clinical services to our young patients in the UK, but also for training the next generation of health professionals and for conducting basic, clinical and translational research. Here research programmes will concentrate on what children with inherited immunodeficiency can teach us about the normal immune system, and how that knowledge can help us look after patients better. Programmes of work will be aimed at understanding the genetic, cellular and molecular basis of novel primary immunodeficiencies, and how this informs our knowledge of the normal immune system.