Dr Sally Clayton

Dr Sally Clayton

Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy
Wellcome Trust Early Career Fellow
Affiliated with the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing

Contact details

Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
IBR Building, University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Sally Clayton is interested in understanding how mitochondrial and metabolic regulation influence the function of immune cells during health and disease.

Her research encompasses molecular biology, immunology and metabolic analysis to learn about the fundamental processes underlying inflammation and its resolution.

Google Scholar Profile


  • PhD in Inflammation Biology, University of Birmingham (2016-2020)
  • MSci in Biochemistry, University of Cambridge (2012-2013)
  • BA (Hons) in Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge (2009-2012)


Sally completed her undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge (Girton College), where she specialized in biochemistry and molecular biology. This was followed by a master’s degree in Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge.

Sally then worked in the Technology Development Team at Cambridge-based biotech company Horizon Discovery from 2013-2016. Here she focused on optimizing methods of CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing, including in primary T cells, and headed up the guide RNA validation service.

In 2016 Sally moved to the University of Birmingham to undertake her PhD with Prof Andy Clark as part of the Arthritis Research UK Rheumatoid Arthritis Centre of Excellence (RACE) PhD programme. Sally’s PhD project focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms of the anti-inflammatory therapeutics glucocorticoids, specifically their action in macrophages.

After completing her PhD in 2020 Sally took a post-doctoral research position with Prof Andy Clark (Institute of Inflammation and Ageing) and Prof Dan Tennant (Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research) at the University of Birmingham, working on the metabolic regulation of macrophages during inflammation.

In late 2023 Sally was awarded a 5-year Wellcome Trust Early Career Award to investigate mitochondrial regulation of myeloid cells during acute inflammation. She will carry this out in the Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy, University of Birmingham, in collaboration with Dr Sarah Dimeloe.


Dr Clayton studies the regulation of macrophages and other myeloid cells during acute and chronic inflammatory conditions.

In particular she is interested in the NDUFA4 (aka COXFA4) family of mitochondrial electron transport chain proteins. Dr Clayton identified a novel member of this family that is expressed during inflammation, and she is currently working to understand the impact of this mitochondrial pathway in cellular function and disease progression.

Current Research Themes

Immunometabolism; Mitochondrial regulation; Inflammation; Inflammatory disease; Myeloid cells

Other Research Interests

Rheumatoid arthritis; Glucocorticoids; microRNAs


Recent publications


O’Neil, JD, Bolimowska, OO, Clayton, SA, Tang, T, Daley, KK, Lara-Reyna, S, Warner, J, Martin, CS, Mahida, RY, Hardy, RS, Arthur, JSC & Clark, AR 2023, 'Dexamethasone impairs the expression of antimicrobial mediators in lipopolysaccharide-activated primary macrophages by inhibiting both expression and function of interferon β', Frontiers in immunology, vol. 14, 1190261. https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2023.1190261

Pucino, V, Nefla, M, Gauthier, V, Alsaleh, G, Clayton, SA, Marshall, J, Filer, A, Clark, AR, Raza, K & Buckley, CD 2023, 'Differential effect of lactate on synovial fibroblast and macrophage effector functions', Frontiers in immunology, vol. 14, 1183825. https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2023.1183825

Clayton, SA, Lockwood, C, O’neil, JD, Daley, KK, Hain, S, Abdelmottaleb, D, Bolimowska, OO, Tennant, DA & Clark, AR 2023, 'The glucocorticoid dexamethasone inhibits HIF-1α stabilization and metabolic reprogramming in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated primary macrophages', Discovery Immunology, vol. 2, no. 1, kyad027, pp. 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1093/discim/kyad027

Clayton, SA, Daley, KK, Macdonald, L, Fernandez-vizarra, E, Bottegoni, G, O’Neil, JD, Major, T, Griffin, D, Zhuang, Q, Adewoye, AB, Woolcock, K, Jones, SW, Goodyear, C, Elmesmari, A, Filer, A, Tennant, DA, Alivernini, S, Buckley, CD, Pitceathly, RDS, Kurowska-stolarska, M & Clark, AR 2021, 'Inflammation causes remodeling of mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase mediated by the bifunctional gene C15orf48', Science Advances, vol. 7, no. 50, eabl5182. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abl5182

Falconer, J, Pucino, V, Clayton, S, Marshall, J, Raizada, S, Adams, H, Philp, A, Clark, AR, Filer, A, Raza, K, Young, S & Buckley, C 2021, 'Spontaneously resolving joint inflammation is characterised by metabolic agility of fibroblast-like synoviocytes', Frontiers in immunology, vol. 12, 725641. https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.725641

Review article

Clayton, SA, MacDonald, L, Kurowska-Stolarska, M & Clark, AR 2021, 'Mitochondria as key players in the pathogenesis and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis', Frontiers in immunology, vol. 12, 673916. https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.673916

Clayton, SA, Jones, SW, Kurowska-stolarska, M & Clark, AR 2018, 'The role of microRNAs in glucocorticoid action', Journal of Biological Chemistry, vol. 293, no. 6, pp. 1865-1874. https://doi.org/10.1074/jbc.R117.000366

View all publications in research portal