Professor Andrew Filer FRCP PhD

Andrew Filer

Institute of Inflammation and Ageing
Professor in Translational and Experimental Rheumatology

Contact details

+44 (0)121 371 3221
+44 (0)121 415 5475
View my research portal
Rheumatology Research Group
Institute of Inflammation and Ageing
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
Queen Elizabeth Hospital
Birmingham, B15 2WB

Andrew Filer is a passionate advocate for translational medicine, integrating patient cohorts and samples with high quality basic science. He brings skills in musculoskeletal ultrasound and the novel Ultrasound guided synovial biopsy technique to bear upon the Birmingham BEACON early arthritis research cohort and interventional clinical trials in arthritis.

Andrew is a member of the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing and an integral part of the NIHR Birmingham Biomedical Research Centre.


Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Rheumatologist

  • Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, 2014
  • PhD in immunology, 2006
  • Member of the Royal College of Physicians, 1998
  • MBChB (with honours), 1995
  • BSc (hons) in Medical Biochemical Studies, 1992


Andrew Filer graduated from Medical School at the University of Birmingham in 1995, working in Birmingham at first, then in Australia before returning to take up an MRC clinical training fellowship and gaining his PhD in Birmingham.

With Dr Karim Raza he has run the Birmingham Early Arthritis Clinic for five years, working on novel clinical, serological and imaging predictors of outcome in the very early window of arthritis. He is an experienced musculoskeletal sonographer, and uses his skills to answer clinical questions, practice a wide variety of imaging guided procedures, and also to investigate the role of musculoskeletal ultrasound as a predictive tool in early arthritis.

His Versus Arthritis clinician scientist fellowship focuses on the role of stromal cell subpopulations in the pathobiology of early rheumatoid arthritis, and the development of stromal cell based therapies for inflammatory arthritis. This interest is linked to imaging via the use of novel, minimally invasive ultrasound guided biopsy techniques to obtain samples from the joint.


Teaching Programmes

Other Teaching

  • Graduate school coordinator for MD students in the College
  • Member of the EPSRC Physical Sciences for Health (Sci-Phy-4-Health) Integrated PhD imaging consortium and Lecturer
  • Supervisor of doctors on the Academic Clinical Training program
  • Teacher on selected clinical Ultrasound Courses

Postgraduate supervision

Dr Filer has previously supervised or co-supervised 4 PhD students to completion and continues to supervise or co-supervise a further 4 current students. Dr Filer is interested in supervising doctoral research students in the following areas:

  • Stromal-Leucocyte interactions
  • The role of stroma cells in the progression of rheumatoid arthritis
  • The role of ultrasound Imaging in research in early arthritis
  • The role of tissue biomarkers in prediction of outcome and disease stratification in early arthritis
  • The role of multiple frequency optical imaging as a research tool in arthritis

If you are interesting in studying any of these subject areas please contact Dr Andrew Filer directly, or for any general doctoral research enquiries, please email

For a full list of available Doctoral Research opportunities, please visit our Doctoral Research programme listings.


Investigating pathways of persistence of disease and resolution of inflammation in early arthritis:

This work uses stromal cell resources and tissue from patients in the BEACON cohort that captures patients in the early stages of arthritis. I use multiple methodologies through a collaborative approach to interrogate the phenotype of stromal cells from different diseases and different stages of rheumatoid arthritis to understand fully the contribution of these cells to inflammation and damage in arthritis, and the change in cellular phenotype during the early development and progression of rheumatoid arthritis. In vitro cellular work is validated in tissue (Scheel-Toellner group). Methodologies include transcriptomics (Clark group), microRNA and methylome analysis (Gay group, Zurich, Novartis), metabolomics (Young, Tennant groups). The functional phenotype of these cells is investigated in multicellular models of disease investigating stromal cell:leucocyte interactions (McGettrick group and Novartis).

Translation and intervention:

Understanding the processes underlying persistence and resolution of inflammation would be of little use if it did not inform patient treatment. This work includes development of mesenchymal stromal cellular therapies in arthritis (Orbsen therapeutics) and repurposing of therapies targeting stromal cells in cancer for use in rheumatoid arthritis (MRC dpfs funded TRAFIC trial with AR-UK RACE Centres).


Use and development of novel imaging modalities including musculoskeletal ultrasound in clinical research. Ultrasound imaging is a key technology enabling the collection of tissue and cellular resources from patients in the BEACON cohort, but has an increasingly important role in objective measurement of synovial inflammation. This work includes: Identifying predictors of outcome in the early phases of disease and the use of ultrasound as an outcome measure in clinical trials. I am a member of the OMERACT US SIG and run ultrasound imaging in the APIPPRA international multicentre trial intervening with biologic therapy in patients with inflammatory arthralgia at high risk of RA.

Other activities

  • OMERACT Ultrasound Special Interest Group, 2014-present
  • Birmingham and the Black Country CLRN Musculoskeletal Speciality Group Lead, 2012-2014
  • University Hospitals Birmingham CDRC executive board, 2011-2013
  • Midland Rheumatology Society Treasurer and Executive Committee member, 2009-2013
  • British Society for Rheumatology Education and Training Committee, 2001-2005
  • ARC Education Subcommittee, 2001-2004


Recent publications


Sahbudin, I, Singh, R, Trickey, J, Baranskaya, A, Tracy, A, Raza, K, Filer, A, Jowett, S & Boonen, A 2023, 'Is symptom duration before DMARD therapy a determinant of direct and indirect costs in DMARD-naïve RA patients?', Rheumatology Advances in Practice.

Fenton, S, Gasparyan, AY, O'Brien, C, Kitas, GD, Rayner, F, Isaacs, JD, Baker, KF, Pratt, AG, Buckley, CD, Raza, K, Filer, A, Siebert, S, McInnes, IB & McGucken, A 2023, 'Number of days required to measure sedentary time and physical activity using accelerometery in rheumatoid arthritis: a reliability study', Rheumatology International.

Fenton, CG, Crastin, A, Martin, CS, Suresh, S, Montagna, I, Hussain, B, Naylor, AJ, Jones, SW, Hansen, MS, Gorvin, CM, Price, M, Filer, A, Cooper, MS, Lavery, GG, Raza, K & Hardy, RS 2022, '11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 within osteoclasts mediates the bone protective properties of therapeutic corticosteroids in chronic inflammation', International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol. 23, no. 13, 7334, pp. 7334.

De Pablo, P, Serban, S, Lopez-Oliva, I, Rooney, J, Hill, K, Raza, K, Filer, A, Chapple, I & Dietrich, T 2022, 'Outcomes of periodontal therapy in rheumatoid arthritis: the OPERA feasibility randomized trial', Journal of Clinical Periodontology, vol. 50, no. 3, pp. 295-306.

De Pablo, P, Dinnes, J, Berhane, S, Osman, A, Lim, Z, Coombe, A, Raza, K, Filer, A & Deeks, J 2022, 'Systematic review of imaging tests to predict the development of rheumatoid arthritis in people with unclassified arthritis', Seminars in arthritis and rheumatism, vol. 52, 151919.

Van Boheemen, L, ter Wee, MM, Falahee, M, Filer, A, van Beers-Tas, MH, Finckh, A, Hensvold, A, Raza, K & van Schaardenburg, D 2022, 'The Symptoms in Persons At Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis (SPARRA) questionnaire: predicting clinical arthritis development', Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology.

Sahbudin, I, Singh, R, De Pablo, P, Rankin, E, Rhodes, B, Justice, E, Derrett-Smith, E, Amft, EN, Narayan, N, McGrath, CM, Baskhar, S, Trickey, J, Maybury, M, Raza, K & Filer, A 2022, 'The value of ultrasound–defined tenosynovitis and synovitis in the prediction of persistent arthritis', Rheumatology (Oxford, England), vol. 2022, keac199.

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.

Dhaliwal, A, Williams, FR, Quinlan, JI, Allen, SL, Greig, C, Filer, A, Raza, K, Ghosh, S, Lavery, GG, Newsome, PN, Choudhary, S, Breen, L, Armstrong, MJ, Elsharkawy, AM & Lord, JM 2021, 'Evaluation of the mechanisms of sarcopenia in chronic inflammatory disease: protocol for a prospective cohort study', Skeletal Muscle, vol. 11, no. 1, 27.

Webster, J, Sagmeister, M, Fenton, C, Seabright, A, Lai, Y-C, Jones, S, Filer, A, Cooper, MS, Lavery, G, Raza, K, Langen, R & Hardy, R 2021, 'Global deletion of 11β-HSD1 prevents muscle wasting associated with glucocorticoid therapy in polyarthritis', International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol. 22, no. 15, 7828.

Webster, JM, Sagmeister, MS, Fenton, CG, Seabright, AP, Lai, YC, Jones, SW, Filer, A, Cooper, MS, Lavery, GG, Raza, K, Langen, R & Hardy, RS 2021, 'Global deletion of 11β-HSD1 prevents muscle wasting associated with glucocorticoid therapy in polyarthritis', International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol. 22, no. 15, 7828.

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.

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.


Sahbudin, I, Singh, R, De Pablo, P, Rankin, E, Rhodes, B, Justice, E, Derrett-Smith, E, Amft, N, Narayan, N, McGrath, C, Baskar, S, Trickey, J, Maybury, M, Raza, K & Filer, A 2023, 'Correction to: The value of ultrasound-defined tenosynovitis and synovitis in the prediction of persistent arthritis ', Rheumatology, vol. 62, no. 3, pp. 1356-1356.


Accelerating Medicines Partnership Program: Rheumatoid Arthritis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (AMP RA/SLE) Network 2022 'Cellular deconstruction of inflamed synovium defines diverse inflammatory phenotypes in rheumatoid arthritis' bioRxiv.

View all publications in research portal


Inflammation in early arthiritis