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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). 


Professor Felicity Gavins Professor Felicity Gavins
Professor - Pharmacology
Felicity read Pharmacology at the University of Sunderland, where she also embarked on an industrial placement year at Bayer Pharmaceuticals in Slough. After completing her BSc (Hons), she moved to London to study for a Ph.D. in Pharmacology at Queen Mary University London, supported by the British Heart Foundation (BHF). Felicity was then awarded a BHF Junior Research Fellowship to undertake further research both in the UK and the USA. In 2007 Felicity joined Imperial College London to take up a Lectureship position in the Centre for Integrative Mammalian Physiology and Pharmacology (CIMPP). This was shortly followed by a senior lectureship and the appointment to Deputy Head of The Centre of Neurodegeneration & Neuroinflammation. In 2013 she accepted an academic position in the USA at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-Shreveport (LSUHSC-S) and was appointed Director of The Small Animal Imaging Facility. Felicity is a Fellow of the British Pharmacological Society and of the Royal Society of Biology. She joined Brunel University London in August 2019 as Professor of Pharmacology and Royal Society Wolfson Fellow, and is the Director of The Centre for Inflammation Research and Translational Medicine (CIRTM). Throughout her academic career, Felicity has worked with and served on numerous national and international research councils, medical charities and learned societies. She has published widely in her field and received a number of awards and honours for her work. She has received funding for her research from a range of funders including: the Royal Society and the Wolfson Foundation (RSWF), the British Heart Foundation (BHF), the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the American Heart Association (AHA), and the National Institutes of Health/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NIH/NHLBI). Felicity continues to be actively involved in public and patient organizations which has been immensely instructive for her research. She is also dedicated to promoting mentoring and collaborative research, along with facilitating mentoring of post-doctoral fellows/early-career investigators. Inflammation Thrombosis (arterial and venous) Resolution of inflammation Immune mediated responses in normal and pathological conditions Neutrophil-Platelet interactions Ischaemia reperfusion injury (I/RI) Healthy ageing Formyl Peptide Receptors (FPRs) Annexin A1 Biology Sickle Cell Disease Inflammation in Cancer Pre-clinical imaging Drug discovery and resolution biologics Novel drug delivery systems e.g Nanocarriers Development of research students and post-doctoral fellows/early career researchers. Dedicated to promoting mentoring and ensuring equality and diversity. Teaching Responsibilities: BB3091 Final Year Project (Block lead) BB5604 MSc Dissertation Research Project BB3802 Problem Solving and Data Analysis BB3801 Scientific Communication BB2802 Primary literature interrogation & synthesis BB2803 Data Evaluation and Reporting BB2555 Work Placement BB1700 Tutoring BB2700 Tutoring BB3700 Tutoring

Full members

Dr Ashley Houlden Dr Ashley Houlden
Lecturer in Biosciences
I am a Microbial Ecologist in the Division of Biosciences, within the College of Health and Life Sciences at the University of Brunel London. My research interests lie in the assessment of microbial community structure and function using high throughput sequencing and molecular microbiological techniques. My current research focuses on the gastrointestinal microbiome and changes as a result of disease or injury, this characterisation of the communities allows the identification of functionally important changes in microbial assemblages. My research has included work on the impact of stroke, brain injury, parasitic intestinal infections, and dementia on the interactions with the host and its microbiome. My Doctorial training was in soil microbial ecology carrying out risk assessments and the efficacy of using bacterial biological control agents against fungi diseases of crops while at CEH-Oxford/Cardiff University. I then undertook postdoctoral research at The University of Sheffield followed by The University of Manchester continuing research into environmental microbiology. While at Manchester I moved into medical microbiome research as Researcher Co-Investigator on a grant on T. Muris and the impact on the microbiome and host. As a result of this I have formed a number of collaborations involving microbiome research. BB2716 Medical Microbiology (Second Year)
Dr Su-Ling Li Dr Su-Ling Li
Reader - Biosciences
Qualifications: · 1983 MD, Suzhou Medical University, China. · 1994 Ph.D, Department of Immunopathology, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. Academic Appointments · 1995-1996: Post-Doctor, Department of Clinical Virology, Karolinska Institute, · 1996-2000: Assistant Professor, and then Associate Professor since 2000, Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology, Lund University, Sweden · 2001-2005: Lecturer, Division of Biosciences, Brunel University London · 2009-2014: Division Director of Biosciences, Brunel University London · 2005-present: Reader in Immunology, Division of Biosciences, Brunel University London, Immunology Antigen presentation and vaccines Autoimmune disease and inflammation Regulation of adaptive immune response Tumor immunology Teaching interests: Adaptive immunology; Cancer Immunology; Pathology; Vaccine; Biotechnologies, including Microarray, RNA seq, Chip Seq, Transgenic mouse models, technology in drug discovery.
Dr Ronan McCarthy Dr Ronan McCarthy
Reader in Biomedical Sciences
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. In 2021, Ronan was awarded a BBSRC New Investigator Award to study the regulation of desiccation tolerance and biofilm formation in Acinetobacter baumannii and to identify compounds that could disrupt these survival mechanisms. My research focuses on Profiling key signalling pathways that play a role in chronic bacterial infection and antibiotic resistance. Studying interactions that occur at the host-pathogen interface using integrated ‘omics approaches. Understanding the protective role of the microbiome in an infection setting. Assessing the ability of old drugs to be repurposed to inhibit bacterial infection Opportunities for PhD Study Enquires are welcome from those who are keen to pursue PhD and MSc degrees. Joint supervision, industry partnerships and collaborative research opportunities are also very welcome.
Dr Raha Pazoki Dr Raha Pazoki
Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences
Raha Pazoki is a Lecturer in Cardiovascular and Metabolic disorders 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. She works in the field of health data research. 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, Cambridge University, Erasmus University, Rotterdam and Groningen University in the Netherlands, Million Veteran Programme in the US, and University of Bern in Switzerlands. PhD projects open to applicants: If you are a MSc graduates (with upper second class degree or higher) in the fields of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Bioinformatics, Data Science and are interested in a PhD project in cardiovascualr and metabolic research, please contact Dr Raha Pazoki (raha.pazoki@brunel.ac.uk). Examples of Dr Pazoki's avaialble projects: Genetic and non-genetic factors involved in risk of cardiovascular diseases Interplay between genetic and environmental factors and risk of cardiovascular disease Identification of determinants of sudden cardiac death using population studies Interplay between lifestyle factors and genetic factors modulating coagulation in risk of myocardial infarction Health data analysis to identify the role of gene and environment in risk of cardiovascular diseases Lifestyle factors, fibrinogen, genetics and risk of myocardial infarction If you have any queries regarding these projects or topics in health data research, please contact the primary PhD supervisor Dr Raha Pazoki. (Genetic) Epidemiology of Cardiovascular Diseases Big Data Genome-wide Association Studies Genetic risk scores Mendelian Randomization Machine Learning
Professor Arturo Sala Professor Arturo Sala
Trained in Biochemistry and Cellular Biology at the University of Rome and the Italian National Institute of Health, I completed a 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, I 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, I 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 I was recruited by the UCL Institute of Child Health as Senior Lecturer and later promoted to Reader. In UCL I continued to pursue the study of oncogenic transcription factors in the context of neuroblastoma, a childhood tumour affecting the peripheral nervous system. I was appointed Professor of Translational Cancer Research and Deputy Director of the Brunel Institute of Cancer Genetics and Pharmacogenomics in September 2011. In 2016 I joined the Synthetic Biology Theme in the Institute of Environment, Health and Societes. Neuroblastoma, adenoid cystic carcinoma, Friedreich's ataxia Coordinator of the masters' cancer module
Dr Steven Smith Dr Steven Smith
Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences
Steven obtained a B.Sc. in Medical Sciences from the University of Leeds and received a 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. Following a post-doctoral position at the Edward Jenner Institute for Vaccine Research in which he examined the role of auto-reactive CD8 T-cells and T-cell regulation in the context of joint inflammation, he joined the group of Prof. Hazel Dockrell at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where he investigated the cellular immune response to BCG vaccination and more generally with immune mechanisms that might provide protection against tuberculosis infection and disease. Steven joined the Division of Biosciences in January 2020. I am is interested in understanding which immune response elements are responsible for protection against infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of TB, as well as those which prevent the development of active TB disease. Although it provides incomplete protection against TB, there is much to be learnt from the immune response to the BCG vaccine which in certain circumstances, may be effective. Although traditionally seen as T-cell-mediated, recent times have seen an increased interested in the role of B-cells and antibodies as well as potentially long-lived innate cells in immune protection against TB. As BCG is known to impact upon each of these immune compartments, each or all could have a role in protection. In collaboration with teams at the MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Unit in Uganda, the International Tuberculosis Research Center, Korea and Institut Politecnico Nacional, Mexico, I use samples from BCG-vaccinated individuals, a variety of in vitro cellular models of innate and adaptive immune responses and analytical methods such as functional bacterial inhibition assays, multiparameter flow cytomtry, ELISA/Luminex and DNA methylation analysis to probe questions such as: the phenotype and function of BCG-vaccine-induced T-cells the potential for BCG-"trained" monocytes to protect against TB the role of metabolic intermediates in BCG-induced trained immunity and the potential for these to enhance vaccine effectiveness the use of immunological biomarker assays to monitor responses in patients and in vaccine trials against TB in different settings
Dr Anthony Tsolaki Dr Anthony Tsolaki
Senior Lecturer/UG Admissions Tutor
Qualifications: DPhil, University of Oxford, 1999 MSc, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 1994 BSc (Hons), Biochemistry, University of North London, 1993 Academic Appointments September 2006 - Present Lecturer, Brunel University London September 2004 - August 2006, Post Doctoral Fellow, Imperial College London May 2000 - July 2004 Post Doctoral Fellow, Stanford University May 1999 - May 2000 University of California, Berkeley Teaching Responsibilities: BB2716 Medical Microbiology BB3716 Microbial Pathogenesis BB2805 Biomedical Sciences
Professor Claire Turner Professor Claire Turner
Pro Vice Chancellor - Education
Claire Turner is an interdisciplinary scientist with a BSc in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the University of Natal and a PhD in Biochemical Engineering from UCL. Her aim is to enable all our students to have an excellent education and student experience irrespective of their background and circumstances. She is very interested in innovations in pedgagogy and how we can use these in improving the student experience. She was previously at The Open University where she taught Analytical Science, and interdisciplinary science. Her research is focussed around the analysis of volatile organic compounds, applied to diverse field as non-invasive disease dignosis and environmental monitoring.
Dr Hanieh Yaghootkar Dr Hanieh Yaghootkar
Lecturer in Biosciences
Hanieh is a lecturer in genetics of cardiometabolic disorders. She obtained her PhD in 2013 in genetics of human complex traits from University of Exeter. In 2017, she was awarded a prestigious Diabetes UK RD Lawrence fellowship to study healthy fat genes or genes associated with a favourable adiposity phenotype. Hanieh leads genetic studies to understand what protects some obese people from developing Type 2 diabetes. She uses MRI scans of abdominal fat to understand how certain genes influence the way we store fat and if they can protect people from developing Type 2 diabetes or other cardiometabolic diseases. She is also using genetics to unravel the aetiology of cardiometabolic diseases and their links. She has been using different methods from Mendelian randomization studies to more sophisticated clustering analysis to find causal directions between biomarkers (such as body fat distribution, adiponectin, lipids etc) and risk of cardiometabolic diseases.
Dr Jacqueline Cliff Dr Jacqueline Cliff
Senior Lecturer in Biosciences
Jackie read Physiological Sciences at the University of Oxford, followed by an MSc in the Immunology of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. She then moved to the National Institute for Medical Research for her PhD, where she investigated the role of cytokines in B cell activation and differentiation with Dr Gerry Klaus. Jackie worked with Prof Hazel Dockrell at LSHTM (1999-2022), mainly studying immune responses in tuberculosis and how these could be utilised to assess responses to antibiotic treatment. More recently, her research has also encompassed comorbidities such as diabetes in tuberculosis, and expanded to include the role of the infection and immunity in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Jackie joined Brunel University in March 2022, combining her research in the Biosciences Division with her teaching within the Medical School. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Long COVID Tuberculosis Type 2 diabetes Treatment-response Biomarkers Medicine MBBS Academic Content Expert Immunology Y1 and Y2 Medicine MBBS House Tutor – Elizabeth Garrett Anderson

Associate members

Professor Joanna Bridger Professor Joanna Bridger
I have been at Brunel University London since the start of this century. This is when I established my own independent laboratory - The Laboratory of Nuclear and Genomic Health. Our research concerns how the genome is spatially organised, influenced and manipulated within its environment, the cell nucleus. The group has had a number of major advances and is currently focused on aspects of genome behaviour in replicative senescence, the premature ageing disease Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome, host:pathogen interactions and female cancers. We are wish to understand how structures such as the nuclear lamina, nucleoskeleton and nuclear motors influence the functionality of the genome. I also teach Cell Biology at levels 2 and 3, Developmental Biology at level 2, Gene Expression and Epigenetics and Cellular and Organismal Ageing at Masters level. The lab is always full of PhD, Masters and undergraduate students doing their various projects. I am also the Head of the Genome Engineering and Maintenance network established from the depth and interest in Genome Biology that has developed over time in Biosciences at Brunel. My other role is External Engagement where I organise all the external interactions we have in our division Teaching Responsibilities: Cellular Pathologies (Level 3) Cell Biology (Level 2) Final Year Projects (Level 3) Masters dissertations (M-level) Genetics and Development (Level 2) Gene Expression and Epigenetics (M-level). Clinical Cytogenetics (M-level) Clinical Cytogenetics and Cancer
Professor Veena Kumari Professor Veena Kumari
Professor - Psychology
Professor Veena Kumari obtained a PhD in Psychology from Banaras Hindu University, India in 1993 prior to joining the Institute of Psychiatry, London for post-doctoral research. She became a Beit Memorial Research Fellow in 1999, a Wellcome Senior Fellow in Basic Biomedical Science in 2002, and a Full Professor in 2006 at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (formerly known as the Institute of Psychiatry), King’s College London, UK. She left King’s College London in 2016 to join the Sovereign Health Group (USA) as the Chief Scientific Officer and returned to the UK in 2018 to join Brunel University London as Professor of Psychology and the Director of the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience (CCN). Her research interests include the neurobiological effects of pharmacological and psychological treatments in psychosis, neurobiology of violence in mental illness, psychobiology of addiction, and personality and brain functioning. Prof Kumari has over 250 publications in reputed psychology, psychiatry and neuroscience journals and received various national and international awards for her research including the Young Investigator Award from the National Alliance of Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, USA (1999), research fellowship from BEIT Memorial Foundation (1999-2002), the BAP (British Association of Psychopharmacology) Clinical Psychopharmacology Prize (2002), Wellcome Senior Fellowship in Basic Biomedical Science (2002-2009), the prestigious Humboldt Research Award (2014), and most recently a Bonn International Fellowship (2020). Professor Kumari has supervised a large number of post-graduate and doctoral students and served in editor or editorial board member roles for a number of psychology and psychiatry journals. Cognitive and affective deficits in schizophrenia and personality disorders Neurobiological effects and predictors of outcome following drug and psychological treatments Neurobiology of violence and addiction Sleep deprivation and mental health Neuroscience of mindfulness Cognitive psychopharmacology, particularly the effects of psychostimulants, antipsychotics, nicotine and anxiolytics Neurobiology of sex and sexual-orientation related differences Personality neuroscience MSc Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience (starting Oct 2018) Module Lead for PY5618 - Cognitive Psychopharmacology and Addiction Module Lead for PY5616 - Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience - Core Topics


Doctoral Researchers and Fellows

Our doctoral researchers and fellows:

Nazar Beirag
Nazar Beirag
Ylenia Cicirò
Ylenia CicirĂ²
Karanjit Das
Karanjit Das
Christiana Doulami
Christiana Doulami
Fred Jonathan Edzeamey
Fred Jonathan Edzeamey
Angila Gurung
Angila Gurung
Luxshieha Hareymaaran
Luxshieha Hareymaaran
Periklis Katopodis
Periklis Katopodis
Gideon MacCarthy
Gideon MacCarthy
Ruchira Mann
Ruchira Mann



Collaborative Partners:

Our collaborative partners include: 

  • Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Australia,
  • Calgary University, Canada
  • University of Pennsylvania, USA
  • Emory, USA,
  • INCERN, France
  • Münster University, Germany
  • Harvard Medical School, USA
  • Utrecht University, Netherlands
  • Karolinska Institute, Sweden
  • Max Plank Institute, Münster, Germany
  • University College London, UK
  • Manchester University, UK, Oxford University, UK
  • Imperial College London, UK
  • University of North Carolina, USA
  • Louisiana State University Health Sciences Centre, USA
  • MRC toxicology Unit, Cambridge, UK

Professional Services Staff

Administrators and others who help support the CIRTM

Coral Hankins
Centre Adminsitrator