The members of the Centre for Inflammation Research and Translational Medicine (CIRTM) comprise Principal Investigators and their groups, Associate Members and Professional Services Staff
Researchers within the Centre for Inflammation Research and Translational Medicine (CIRTM).
Felicity is a pharmacologist who received her PhD (funded by the British Heart Foundation [BHF]) from Queen Mary University under the mentorship of Professors Roderick Flower, FRS and Mauro Perretti. She then obtained a Junior Research Fellowship from the BHF to study the effects of targeting inflammation in cerebral ischemia reperfusion injury (IRI). Following on from this Felicity joined Imperial College in London in 2007 as a member of the faculty, and Deputy Head for the Centre of Neuroinflammation and Neurodegeneration. She and her team left Imperial College in 2013 to move to Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport (LSUHSC-S) USA, where she was an Associate Professor with tenure in the Department of Physiology and Director of the Small Animal Imaging Facility. In 2019, Felicity returned to the UK, to become Professor of Pharmacology and Director of CIRTM at Brunel University London, having been awarded a prestigious Royal Society Wolfson Fellowship. She is a long-standing member of several societies, including the British Pharmacological Society (BPS) and the American Physiological Society (APS). Felicity has achieved funding support from a number of research councils (including the BHF, BBSRC, MRC, the Royal Society and Wolfson Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, American Heart Association [AHA] and the National Institutes of Health [NIH]) and industry (including GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and GE Healthcare).
Steven is a Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences in the Department of Life Sciences at Brunel University London. He received his Ph.D. for a project at the Cancer Medicine Research Unit at St. James's University Hospital, Leeds, investigating the CD8 T-cell stimulating properties of a DNA vaccine encoding multiple, melanoma-associated epitopes and has since pursued a career in the field of immunology and infectious diseases. Prior to taking up his position at Brunel, Steven was an Assistant Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He is a member of the British Society for Immunology and is treasurer for the mycobacterial interest group, the Acid Fast Club.
Dr Raha Pazoki is a lecturer and MRC Rutherford Fund Fellow at Brunel University and Honorary Lecturer at Imperial College, London. She obtained her PhD from University of Amsterdam in 2015 and spent 3 years as Research Associate and Research Fellow at Imperial College, London. Her research is focused on the large-scale identification of clinical and genetic determinants for complex diseases in relation to behaviour and circulating biomarkers with a focus on cardiovascular diseases. Dr Pazoki is in collaboration with scientists at Imperial College, London, Erasmus University and Groningen University in the Netherlands, Million Veteran Programme in the US, and University of Bern in Switzerlands.
Luigi is a Lecturer in Pharmacology and Toxicology and Group Leader at Brunel University London. He is specialised in the quantitative bi-directional extrapolation of complex biological processes between zebrafish, pre-clinical mammalian species, and humans. He earned his PhD in Environmental Toxicology from Brunel University London in 2011 (sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline), working on the extrapolation of pharmacological and toxicological data between zebrafish, mammalian pre-clinical models, and humans. Luigi continued to develop his research interests in comparative pharmacology during a 4-year BBSRC/AstraZeneca-funded Post-Doc at AstraZeneca and Brunel University London, where he started his independent research group in 2015. His current research is focused on understanding the dynamic multi-scale effects of pharmaceuticals, alone and in combination, and developing predictive models able to inform drug safety assessment. Since starting his independent group in 2015, Luigi secured external research funding as Principal Investigator from several public research councils (e.g. BBSRC, NC3Rs, European Commission) as well as industrial partners (e.g. AstraZeneca).
Ashley is a Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences in the Department of Life Sciences at Brunel University London. He received his Ph.D. from Cardiff University on a project investigating the impact of biological control agents on indigenous microbial communities in the rhizosphere of crop plants for Research undertaken at the Centre of Ecology and Hydrology in Oxford. As such has continued his research interests in the field of microbial ecology, and the study of the microbial ecosystems, functional importance and response to external factors such as disease or human intervention. Prior to taking up his position at Brunel, Ashley was a Post Doctorial Research Associate at the University of Manchester, in the Microbiology research group investigation a variety of disease systems including Parasitic infections, Brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease, and Listeria infections.
Ronan gained his Bachelor of Science in Genetics with first class honours from University College Cork, Ireland in 2010 and was awarded the title of College Scholar. In autumn 2010, Ronan was awarded an Irish Research Council PhD Scholarship to study novel biofilm inhibition strategies against the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa in the lab of Professor Fergal O’Gara. In 2014, Ronan joined the research group of Professor Alain Filloux at the MRC Centre for Bacteriology and Infection at Imperial College London. As a Postdoctoral Research Associate, Ronan interrogated the second messenger signalling cascades that govern the biofilm mode of growth in Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Following on from his time at Imperial College Ronan joined the Microbiology Department at the Animal and Plant Health Agency where he used host transcriptomics and pathway analysis to profile the host response to infection. He joined the Biosciences Division in Brunel University to continue his analysis of the regulatory networks that govern pathogenicity, antimicrobial resistance and biofilm formation in the Gram negative opportunistic pathogens Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii.
Arturo Sala was appointed Professor of Translational Cancer Research and Deputy Director of the Brunel Institute of Cancer Genetics and Pharmacogenomics in September 2011 in theDepartment of Biosciences. Trained in Biochemistry and Cellular Biology at the University of Rome and the Italian National Institute of Health, he completed his PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Rome "La Sapienza"on the topic of DNA and RNA methylation in relation to muscle cell differentiation.
After a short postdoctoral training in the National Institute of Health in Rome, he won an international post-doctoral fellowship from the Italian Association for Cancer Research (AIRC) and moved to the Kimmel Cancer Institute, Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia. Working in the laboratory of Prof. Bruno Calabretta, Arturo was the first to characterize the transcription factor and oncoprotein B-MYB and establish its relationship with key tumour suppressor genes, such as p53 and retinoblastoma family members.
In 2001 Arturo was recruited by the UCL Institute of Child Health where he was appointed Senior Lecturer and later promoted to Reader. At UCL, Arturo continued to pursue the study of oncogenic transcription factors in the context of neuroblastoma, a childhood tumour affecting the peripheral nervous system.
Neuroblastoma is a paradigmatic case of a cancer caused by alteration of the oncogenic transcription factor MYCN. MYCN is a neuronal-specific member of the MYC family of oncoproteins and a recent seminal contribution of Arturo’s group has been the demonstration that MYCN regulates gene expression by physical and functional associations with factors that modify the DNA (epigenetic factors), with relevant implications for cancer therapy.
The results of Arturo’s studies have often attracted the interest of the national and international press: elements of his research were featured in articles published by the BBC, the Daily Telegraph, the Evening Standard, the Washington Post and several web-based magazines.
Arturo’s work has been funded by the MRC, the Wellcome Trust, the Association for International Cancer Research, Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity, the Neuroblastoma Society, the Adenoid cystic Carcinoma Research Foundation and the Italian Neuroblastoma Foundation.
I have recently joined Brunel in CHLS as Vice Dean (Education). I am very interested in innovations in pedgagogy and how we can use these in improving the student experience. I was previously at The Open University where I taught Analytical Science, and interdisciplinary science. My research is focussed around the analysis of volatile organic compounds, applied to diverse field as non-invasive disease dignosis and environmental monitoring.
I was awarded MD from Suzhou medical school, China in 1982 and Ph.D from Karolinska Institute, Sweden in 1994. After two years postdoctor experience, I became associate professor with independent research group in Lund University, Sweden before moving to Brunel in 2000.
I have been mainly working on the mechanisms of how immune function is regulated using different type of transgenic mouse models. T lymphocytes are key component of immune system which play major roles against pathogens such as virus and cancer. However, the over activation of T lymphocytes can also cause autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and SLE. My research has been focusing on the regulatory function dictating the balance between optimal activation against pathogens and avoiding autoimmune responses. Our research has discovered a key molecule, Egr2 that controls the quality of T lymphocyte function. We have demonstrated such functions in T lymphocytes are essential for regulating a high quality immune system in both anti-pathogens, autoimmune disease and cancer. Our discoveries have been supported by BBSRC, MRC, and Arthritis UK through the years and the findings have been reported in leading journals such as journal of experimental medicine, immunity, and journal of immunology, and total 13 graduated Ph.D students directly involved the research project related during last 20 years.
Professor Paul Hellewell graduated in Pharmacology from King’s College London then undertook a PhD at the Babraham Institute in Cambridge. After a period of post-doctoral research in London he was awarded a MRC Travelling Fellowship to undertake further research in Denver, USA. In 1990 he returned to the UK, spent two years at British Biotechnology in Oxford before taking up a Senior Lectureship at Imperial College and was then appointed to a Chair in Vascular Biology in Sheffield in 1998. There he had a number of leadership roles in the Medical School and Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health, latterly Faculty Director of Research and Innovation. Paul is a Fellow of the British Pharmacological Society and of the Royal Society of Biology. Paul joined Brunel University London in August 2014 as Dean in the newly created College of Health and Life Sciences, taking responsibility for aligning key strategic objectives with teaching and research. He became Vice Provost and Dean in August 2018.
Researchers whose primary research focus lies outside the centre but are affiliated with it.
Professional Services Staff
Administrators and others who help support the CIRTM