Rheumatology Research Group


Our research has a major focus on inflammatory rheumatic diseases; in particular the pathobiology, comorbidity and patient reported outcomes associated with rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome and systemic lupus erythematosus, as well as their epidemiology and clinical management. We are a substantial multidisciplinary team including academic/clinical rheumatologists, general practitioners, biological/behavioural scientists, allied health professionals and patient research partners.

Karim RazaTheme Lead

Professor Karim Raza

Professor of Rheumatology supported by Versus Arthritis

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Our research group

The Rheumatology Research Group (RRG) is based in the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing (IIA) in the College of Medical and Dental Sciences. The Institute has major research themes in Inflammation, Ageing, Trauma, Regeneration and Repair. These research themes are linked to the clinical disciplines of Clinical Immunology, Neurology, Nephrology, Rheumatology, Ophthalmology, Gastroenterology and Respiratory Medicine. Academic Rheumatology in Birmingham is therefore ideally placed to act as a focus for translational clinical research in inflammation, where a clear understanding of how immune cells behave in inflamed microenvironments is likely to be of critical importance for future experimental medicine studies.

Aims of our research

The overarching objective of our Group is to improve clinical outcomes for those with, and at risk of developing, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Sjögren’s syndrome (SS) and systemic lupus erythematosus(SLE) by developing diagnostic tests, drugs, cell based therapies and lifestyle assessments to predict, prevent and reverse disease pathology. A unique feature of our translational research is that we have pioneered a first in class,“process-driven pathway-focused” approach to the biology of inflammatory arthritis.

  • To improve clinical outcomes for those with, and at risk of developing, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Sjogren’s syndrome (SS) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • To discover and improve tests used to make diagnoses and to predict disease course from the earliest stages of symptoms
  • To explore therapeutic targeting of the tissue microenvironment and compare and contrast the biological processes underpinning the development, maintenance and resolution of inflammation
  • To compare shared biological mechanisms across a number of traditionally independent organ based medical disciplines in order to develop biologically meaningful and therapeutically tractable process-driven links to other disease areas in inflammation biology

Our staff

Rheumatology Research Group Principal Investigators
Principal InvestigatorResearch Interest
Professor Karim Raza Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) – early treatment & predictive testing
Professor Andy Clark Mechanisms in resolving inflammation
Professor Dagmar Sheel-Toellner Disease mechanisms in chronic inflammation
Dr Andrew Filer Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and ultrasound guided biopsies
Dr Stephen Young Molecular & cellular processes in inflammatory diseases
Dr Marie Falahee Understanding the perspectives of individuals with, or at risk of musculoskeletal disorders
Dr Benjamin Fisher Sjögren’s syndrome – new treatments and risk factors
Dr Helen McGettrick Understanding the movement of immune cells across blood vessels, bone formation and repair
Dr Amy Naylor Bone turnover and remodelling
Dr Paola de Pablo Early diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) using imaging technologies
Dr John Reynolds Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and common features across inflammatory diseases
Professor Caroline Gordon Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), including clinical trials
Professor Christopher Buckley Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and fibroblasts