Professor Christopher Buckley DPhil FRCP

Chris Buckley

Institute of Inflammation and Ageing
Honorary Kennedy Professor of Rheumatology

Contact details

Rheumatology Research Group
Institute of Inflammation and Ageing
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
Queen Elizabeth Hospital
Birmingham, B15 2WB

Chris Buckley is the Kennedy Professor of Translational Rheumatology at the Universities of Birmingham and Oxford. He is  Director of Clinical Research at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology in Oxford. He leads the Arthritis Therapy Acceleration Programme (A-TAP) which aims to deliver “stratified pathology” in a range of immune mediated inflammatory diseases in order to choose the right disease indication for the right drug. This approach complements stratified medicine where the aim is to choose the right drug for the right patient. His laboratory explores the role of fibroblasts in driving disease progression and tissue tropism in Immune Mediated Inflammatory Diseases.

Chris is part of the Modality Partnership, a single GP organisation that operates across 35 different locations as the first national GP super-partnership in the UK. A super-partnership is an organisation that combines the advantages of small GP practices working closely in local communities, with the medical and technological opportunities of a larger scale operation. Modality is dedicated to improving healthcare provision and extending the opportunity for patients in primary care to take part in experimental medicine studies by operating at a larger scale.

Chris has made major contributions to scientific administration through his roles with the Arthritis Research UK (Chair of the Fellowship Committee as well as EULAR (Scientific Programme organizing committee).   He is closely involved in the development of clinical academics and he is a strong and eloquent advocate for clinician scientists in several fora.


  • FRCP Medicine London 2006
  • DPhil Medicine Oxford 1996
  • MB BS University of London 1990
  • BA Biochemistry (1st Class) Oxford 1985


My commitment and enthusiasm for training academic clinicians is evidenced by presentations at the Royal College of Physicians careers in academic medicine conference (2012) and as guest presenter at the ARUK Annual Fellows Meeting (2007 and 2016). Through the Birmingham Institute of Translational Medicine, I am involved in establishing training schemes to support and develop clinical and non-clinical trainees prior to their full application for fellowships. I mentored and developed basic scientists undertaking translational PhDs, clinicians undertaking PhDs and supervised and sponsored scientists and clinicians holding personal fellowships. As director of the CRF, I oversee the training of health professionals, including nurses and clinical fellows. Internationally, I have led on preceptorships for clinicians visiting the NHS to learn how to set up and deliver early arthritis services

Committee member: Representing Academic development on the West Midlands Health Education England Training Programme. I have an extensive track record of training/mentoring translational research physicians in my role as academic lead in the organization, delivery and assessment of competencies for specialist registrars in Rheumatology in the West Midlands Deanery

Committee member: Integrated Academic Training Programme in Birmingham. I lead an NIHR integrated Academic Rheumatology programme, comprising 6 foundation year academic trainees, 3 academic clinical fellows and 2 clinical lecturers.

Chairman of ARUK Fellowship Committee (2005-2009)

Medical Research Society Committee Member responsible for organizing the annual Medical Research Society meeting with the Academy of Medical Sciences (2004-10)

Postgraduate supervision

A characteristic feature of chronic inflammatory reactions is their persistence and predilection for certain sites. Chris Buckley’s group investigates the role that tissue resident stromal cells (fibroblasts) play in determining both the switch to persistence as well as the site at which inflammation occurs. The group’s work has allowed them to propose that a stromal area post code, predominantly defined by fibroblasts, exists within tissues. Their hypothesis predicts that components of this stromal area post code become disordered during inflammation, leading to the accumulation of lymphocytes in structures that resemble lymphoid tissues. They suggest that stromal cells in general and fibroblasts in particular offer a new family of organ-specific targets to treat chronic immune-mediated inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Professor Buckley is interested in supervising doctoral research on the role of stromal cells in inflammation.

Other activities

University leadership

2008- Present Director of the Rheumatology Research Group which comprises over 50 scientists, clinicians and academic staff who focus specifically on translational research in Rheumatoid Arthritis and Sjögren’s syndrome. Their total active grant income is over £10M. 2016-Present Deputy Director of the Institute for Inflammation and Ageing

2016- Present Director of NIHR Infrastructure for Birmingham Health Partners; a partnership between the University and NHS partners. In this role I was responsible for helping to co-ordinate bids to the NIHR that have led to over £40M to NHS partners in 2016-17

2016-Present Theme lead in Arthritis for the Birmingham BRC in Inflammation

National leadership

2003-2008 Chairman of UK Adhesion Society Group

2010-Present Birmingham lead on the NIHR Translational Research Partnership/Collaboration

(TRP/C) in Joint and related Inflammatory diseases. I was selected to represent the TRP at the UK

Trade and Investment showcase of innovation in the NHS during the 2012 Olympics; part of the UK

Government Office for Life Sciences.

 2014-2017 BHF Programmes and Chairs committee

 2015-2017 MRC EMINENT grant committee

Involvement in Equality and Diversity (2014-15) our work on self-management and education in rheumatoid arthritis particularly in ethnic minorities has been commended in a National Audit Officereport. Arthrits-Therapy Acceleration Programme (A-TAP). I direct the A-TAP, an initiative funded through the Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research which links the Universities of Oxford and Birmingham with five NHS Trusts along the M40 corridor to deliver signal seeking, pathway focussed early pahse clinical trials in a range of Immune Mediated Inflammatory Diseases.

The A-TAP will be underpinned through NIHR infrastructure and will work to support the NIHR's vision to provide a health research system in which the NHS supports outstanding individuals working in world-class facilities, conducting leading-edge research focused on the needs of patients and the public.

International Leadership

Member of external advisory boards for academic institutes and government organizations the Netherlands in USA and Canada

2000-2004 Council Member of Human Cell Differentiation Markers (Formally HLDA) Responsible for

2004 CD workshop stromal cell classification

2014-2017 EULAR FOREUM Executive Committees.

Scientific Committee Member EULAR Congress (2009-2014) In 2012 led the organization of the annual European EULAR rheumatology meeting with over 15,000 delegates.

2015-2020 Editor in Chief of Arthritis Research and Therapy (4th most cited Rheumatology Journal

2017. Contributed to the EULAR guidelines on the management of RA [Ann Rheum Dis. 2017 76):960.PMID: 28264816]

Prizes for leadership in my field

Eijkman Lecture and Medal (2001) University of Utrecht, Netherlands

Linacre Medal and Lecture (2002) Royal College of Physicians London, UK.

Michael Mason Prize (2003) British Society for Rheumatology

Shoenlein Lecture and Medal (2016) University of Erlangen

Herberden Oration (2017) British Society for Rheumatology 


Recent publications


Rayner, F, Anderson, AE, Baker, KF, Buckley, C, Dyke, B, Fenton, S, Filer, A, Goodyear, CS, Hilkens, C, Hiu, S, Kerrigan, S, Kurowska-Stolarska, M, Matthews, FE, McInnes, IB, Ng, W-F, Pratt, AG, Prichard, J, Raza, K, Siebert, S, Stocken, D, Teare, MD, Young, S & Isaacs, JD 2021, 'BIOlogical Factors that Limit sustAined Remission in rhEumatoid arthritis (the BIO-FLARE study): protocol for a non-randomised longitudinal cohort study', BMC Rheumatology, vol. 5, no. 22, 22.

Mirza, M, Siebert, S, Pratt, AG, Insch, E, McIntosh, F, Paton, J, Wright, C, Buckley, C, Isaacs, J, McInnes, IB, Raza, K & Falahee, M 2021, 'Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on recruitment to clinical research studies in rheumatology', Musculoskeletal care.

Wang, Y, Khan, A, Antonopoulos, A, Bouché, L, Buckley, CD, Filer, A, Raza, K, Li, K-P, Tolusso, B, Gremese, E, Kurowska-Stolarska, M, Alivernini, S, Dell, A, Haslam, SM & Pineda, MA 2021, 'Loss of α2-6 sialylation promotes the transformation of synovial fibroblasts into a pro-inflammatory phenotype in arthritis', Nature Communications, vol. 12, no. 1, 2343.

Armitage, EG, Barnes, A, Patrick, K, Bechar, J, Harrison, MJ, Lavery, GG, Rainger, GE, Buckley, CD, Loftus, NJ, Wilson, ID & Naylor, AJ 2021, 'Metabolic consequences for mice lacking endosialin: LC-MS/MS-based metabolic phenotyping of serum from C56Bl/6J control and CD248 knock-out mice', Metabolomics, vol. 17, no. 2, 14.

Chandan, J, Zemedikun, D, Thayakaran, R, Byrne, N, Dhalla , S, Acosta-Mena , D, Gokhale, K, Thomas, T, Sainsbury, C, Subramanian, A, Cooper, J, Anand, A, Okoth, K, Wang, J, Adderley, N, Taverner, T, Denniston, A, Lord, J, Thomas, GN, Buckley, C, Raza, K, Bhala, N, Nirantharakumar, K & Haroon, S 2021, 'Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs and susceptibility to COVID‐19', Arthritis and Rheumatology, vol. 73, no. 5, pp. 731-739.

Falconer, J, Pucino, V, Clayton, S, Marshall, JL, 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.

Friščić, J, Böttcher, M, Reinwald, C, Bruns, H, Writh, B, Popp, S-J, Walker, KI, Ackermann, JA, Chen, X, Turner, J, Zhu, H, Seyler, L, Euler, M, Kirchner, P, Krüger, R, Ekici, AB, Major, T, Aust, O, Weidner, D, Fischer, A, Andes, FT, Stanojevic, Z, Trajkovic, V, Hermann, M, Korb-Pap, A, Wank, I, Hess, A, Winter, J, Wixler, V, Distler, J, Steiner, G, Kiener, HP, Frey, B, Kling, L, Raza, K, Frey, S, Kleyer, A, Bäuerle, T, Grüneboom, A, Steffen, U, Krönke, G, Croft, A, Filer, A, Köhl, J, Klein, K, Buckley, CD, Schett, G, Mougiakakos, D & Hoffmann, MH 2021, 'The complement system drives local inflammatory tissue priming by metabolic reprogramming of articular fibroblasts', Immunity, vol. 2021, no. 00, pp. 1-31.

Nijjar, JS, Morton, FR, Bang, H, Buckley, C, van der Heijde, D, Gilmour, A, Paterson, C, McInnes, IB, Porter, D, Raza, K & Scottish Early Rheumatoid Arthritis Inception Cohort Investigators 2021, 'The impact of autoantibodies against citrullinated, carbamylated, and acetylated peptides on radiographic progression in patients with new-onset rheumatoid arthritis: an observational cohort study', The Lancet Rheumatology, vol. 3, no. 4, pp. e284-e293.

Nikiphorou, E, de Lusignan, S, Khavandi, K, Bedarida, G, Buckley, C, Galloway, J & Raza, K 2020, 'Cardiovascular risk factors and outcomes in early rheumatoid arthritis: a population-based study', Heart, vol. 106, no. 20, pp. 1566–1572.

Birch, B, Simons, G, Buckley, C, Raza, K & Falahee, M 2020, 'Development and formative evaluation of patient research partner involvement in a multi-disciplinary European translational research project', Research Involvement and Engagement, vol. 6, 6.

Buckley, C 2020, 'Disruptive Innovation in Rheumatology; New Networks of Global Public-Private Partnerships are Needed to Take Advantage of Scientific Progress', Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, vol. 79, no. 5. <>

Alivernini, S, MacDonald, L, Elmesmari, A, Finlay, S, Tolusso, B, Gigante, MR, Petricca, L, Di Mario, C, Bui, L, Perniola, S, Attar, M, Gessi, M, Fedele, AL, Chilaka, S, Somma, D, Sansom, SN, Filer, A, McSharry, C, Millar, NL, Kirschner, K, Nerviani, A, Lewis, MJ, Pitzalis, C, Clark, AR, Ferraccioli, G, Udalova, I, Buckley, C, Gremese, E, McInnes, IB, Otto, TD & Kurowska-Stolarska, M 2020, 'Distinct synovial tissue macrophage subsets regulate inflammation and remission in rheumatoid arthritis', Nature Medicine, vol. 26, no. 8, pp. 1295-1306.

Buckley, C, Simón-Campos, JA, Zhdan, V, Becker, B, Davy, K, Fisheleva, E, Gupta, A, Hawkes, C, Inman, D, Layton, M, Mitchell, N, Patel, J, Saurigny, D, Williamson, R & Tak, PP 2020, 'Efficacy, patient-reported outcomes, and safety of the anti-granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor antibody otilimab (GSK3196165) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a randomised, phase 2b, dose-ranging study', The Lancet Rheumatology, vol. 2, no. 11, pp. e677-e688.

Review article

Davidson, S, Coles, M, Thomas, T, Kollias, G, Ludewig, B, Turley, S, Brenner, M & Buckley, CD 2021, 'Fibroblasts as immune regulators in infection, inflammation and cancer', Nature Reviews Immunology.

Buckley, C, Ospelt, C, Gay, S & Midwood, KS 2021, 'Location, location, location: how the tissue microenvironment affects inflammation in RA', Nature Reviews Rheumatology.

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