Professor Dagmar Scheel-Toellner PhD

Dagmar Scheel-Toellner

Institute of Inflammation and Ageing
Professor of Inflammation Research

Contact details

Rheumatology Research Group
Institute of Inflammation and Ageing
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dagmar Scheel-Toellner leads a research team that investigates the basic mechanism of joint inflammation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. She initially trained as a pharmacist, and the translation of her research on autoimmunity into therapeutic strategies is still an important long-term aim in her work.

She closely collaborates with her clinical colleagues within the Rheumatology Research Group in their investigation of the early stages of the development of rheumatoid arthritis. Currently, a major focus of her work is the investigation of a novel proinflammatory B cell subset her team has identified in the joints of patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Dagmar has published widely on the regulation of apoptosis and the cell-cytokine network in inflammatory disease. Currently, most of the work in her team is funded by the MRC, Arthritis Research UK, and the EU.


  • Member of the Higher Education Academy, 2003
  • PhD (Dr rer. nat.) in Immunology and Pharmaceutical Biology, Christian Albrechts University, Kiel, 1994
  • State examination in Pharmacy, (Equivalent of BSc) Christian Albrechts University, Kiel, Germany, 1989


Dagmar Scheel-Toellner qualified as a pharmacist from the Christian-Albrechts University in Kiel, Germany in 1989. She went on to study for a PhD in the Department of Immunology and Cell Biology at the Research Centre Borstel with Professor Johannes Gerdes. In 1994 she was awarded the title Dr. rer. nat. (equivalent to PhD in Natural Sciences) by the Christian Albrechts University, Kiel for the thesis: “Investigation of the expression of CD26 in granulomatous tissue and normal peripheral blood.” with the grade “summa cum laude”. (Excellent)

In 1994 Dagmar moved to Birmingham to join the Department of Rheumatology as a post-doctoral research fellow with Mike Salmon and from 1996 also with Janet Lord.

She was awarded a Non-clinical Career Development Fellowship by  Arthritis Research UK in 2004. In the following years she established her research team and was promoted to Senior Research Fellow in 2007.

The Career Development Fellowship was followed by an Arthritis Research UK funded Career Progression Fellowship leading to a substantive post in the School of Immunity and Infection in 2010.

In 2015 Dagmar was promoted to Reader in Translational Inflammation Research.


Teaching Programmes

Postgraduate supervision

Dagmar is currently supervising several PhD students working on basic disease mechanisms in rheumatoid arthritis. 

If you are interesting in studying any of these subject areas please contact Professor Dagmar Scheel-Toellner 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.


Joint damage in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is driven by a complex network of interactions between resident stromal cells and infiltrating inflammatory cells. Within this network, signals are exchanged via cell-surface interactions and soluble factors such as cytokines and hormones. Dagmar’s group, in collaboration with other members of the Rheumatology Research Group, uses a systematic approach to detect cytokine gene expression in isolated inflammatory cell populations to establish an overview of the inflammatory network in the joint of patients with RA.

Current projects within Dagmar’s team include:

  • The role of a novel proinflammatory B cell population in RA
  • Characterisation of cytokine profiles in synovial tissue and in sorted inflammatory cell populations from rheumatoid synovial fluid
  • The role of neutrophils as producers of autoantigens in rheumatoid arthritis

All of these projects are directed at the identification of new targets and strategies for the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis.


Recent publications


Schiffer, L, Bossey, A, Kempegowda, P, Taylor, A, Akerman, I, Scheel-Toellner, D, Storbeck, K-H & Arlt, W 2021, 'Peripheral blood mononuclear cells preferentially activate 11-oxygenated androgens', European Journal of Endocrinology, vol. 184, no. 3, pp. 353–363.

Patel, AM, Liu, YS, Davies, SP, Brown, RM, Kelly, DA, Scheel-toellner, D, Reynolds, GM & Stamataki, Z 2021, 'The Role of B Cells in Adult and Paediatric Liver Injury', Frontiers in immunology, vol. 12, 729143.

Carr, H, Sahbudin, I, Maybury, M, Dyke, B, Turner, J, Gullick, N, Raza, K, Scheel-Toellner, D & Filer, A 2020, 'Development of a Tool to Assess Synovial Tissue Infiltrates and Derive Histological Pathotype in Inflammatory Arthritis: Relationship to Clinical and Ultrasound Variables', Arthritis & Rheumatology.

Zhao, Y, Uduman, M, Siu, JHY, Tull, T, Sanderson, JD, Wu, Y-CB, Yhou, JQ, Petrov, N, Ellis, R, Todd, K, Chavele, K-M, Guesdon, W, Jassem, W, Vossenkamper, A, D’Cruz, DP, Fear, DJ, John, S, Scheel-Toellner, D, Hopkins, C, Moreno, E, Woodman, NL, Ciccarelli, F, Heck, S, Kleinstein, SH, Bemark, M & Spencer, J 2018, 'Spatiotemporal segregation of human marginal zone and memory B cell populations in lymphoid tissue', Nature Communications.

Amara, K, Clay, E, Yeo, L, Ramskold, D, Spengler, J, Sippl, N, Cameron, J, Israelsson, L, Titcombe, P, Gronwall, C, Sahbudin, I, Filer, A, Raza, K, Malmstrom, V & Scheel-Toellner, D 2017, 'B cells expressing the IgA receptor FcRL4 participate in the autoimmune response in patients with rheumatoid arthritis', Journal of Autoimmunity, vol. 81, pp. 34-43.

Clay, E, Yeo, L, Spengler, J, Cameron, J, Sahbudin, I, Filer, A, Raza, K & Scheel-Toellner, D 2017, 'Immunoglobulin characteristics and RNAseq data of FcRL4+ B cells sorted from synovial fluid and tissue of patients with rheumatoid arthritis', Data in Brief, vol. 13, no. 7, pp. 356-370.

Juarez, M, McGettrick, HM, Scheel-Toellner, D, Yeo, L, Spengler, J, de Paz, B, Hardy, R, Cooper, M, Raza, K, Buckley, CD & Filer, A 2016, 'DKK1 expression by synovial fibroblasts in very early rheumatoid arthritis associates with lymphocyte adhesion in an in vitro flow co-culture system', Arthritis Research & Therapy, vol. 18, no. 1, 14.

Lugonja, B, Yeo, L, Milward, M, Smith, D, Dietrich, T, Chapple, I, Rauz, S, Williams, G, Barone, F, De Pablo, P, Buckley, C, Hamburger, J, Richards, A, Poveda, A, Scheel-Toellner, D & Bowman, S 2016, 'Periodontitis prevalence and serum antibody reactivity to periodontal bacteria in primary Sjögren’s syndrome: a pilot study', Journal of Clinical Periodontology, vol. 43, no. 1, pp. 26-33.

Nanus, DE, Filer, AD, Yeo, L, Scheel-toellner, D, Hardy, R, Lavery, GG, Stewart, PM, Buckley, CD, Tomlinson, JW, Cooper, MS & Raza, K 2015, 'Differential glucocorticoid metabolism in patients with persistent versus resolving inflammatory arthritis', Arthritis Research & Therapy, vol. 17, no. 1, 121.

Yeo, L, Adlard, N, Biehl, M, Juarez, M, Smallie, T, Snow, M, Buckley, CD, Raza, K, Filer, A & Scheel-toellner, D 2015, 'Expression of chemokines CXCL4 and CXCL7 by synovial macrophages defines an early stage of rheumatoid arthritis', Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, vol. 75, pp. 763-771.

Spengler, J, Lugonja, B, Ytterberg, AJ, Zubarev, RA, Creese, A, Pearson, M, Grant, M, Milward, M, Lundberg, K, Buckley, C, Filer, A, Raza, K, Cooper, P, Chapple, I & Scheel-Toellner, D 2015, 'Release of active peptidyl arginine deiminases by neutrophils can explain production of extracellular citrullinated autoantigens in RA synovial fluid', Arthritis & Rheumatology (Hoboken), vol. 67, no. 12, pp. 3135–3145.

Filer, A, Antczak, P, Parsonage, G, Legault, HM, O'Toole, M, Pearson, M, Thomas, AM, Scheel-Toellner, D, Raza, K, Buckley, CD & Falciani, F 2015, 'Stromal transcriptional profiles reveal hierarchies of anatomical site, serum response and disease and identify disease specific pathways', PLoS ONE, vol. 10, no. 3, e0120917.


Gronwall, C, Amara, K, Hardt, U, Krishnamurthy, A, Steen, J, Engström, M, Meng, S, Zubarev, RA, Ytterberg, AJ, Scheel-Toellner, D, Greenberg, JD, Klareskog, L, Catrina , AI, Malmstrom, V & Silverman, GJ 2017, 'Autoreactivity to malondialdehyde-modifications in rheumatoid arthritis is linked to disease activity and synovial pathogenesis', Journal of Autoimmunity.


Scheel-Toellner, D, Buckley, C, Raza, K, Yeo, L & Filer, A Aug. 07 2014, Biomarkers of autoimmune and/or chronic diseases associated with joint inflammation, Patent No. WO2014/118550. <>

Review article

Carr, HL, Turner, JD, Major, T, Scheel-Toellner, D & Filer, A 2020, 'New developments in transcriptomic analysis of synovial tissue', Frontiers in Medicine, vol. 7, 21.

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