James is a PhD student at Newcastle University and a rheumatology registrar in the north east of England. James graduated with a degree in medicine from University College London in 2015 and completed foundation training in North London, followed by a clinical fellowship in rheumatology at the Royal Free Hospital. In 2018 he was awarded an NIHR funded academic clinical fellowship in rheumatology. Following a period of laboratory research in 2019 he was awarded a three year clinical training fellowship funded by the NIHR Newcastle BRC/EMINENT.
More sophisticated tests that reflect the underlying immune abnormalities in autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis will enable the development of novel, tolerogenic and potentially curative treatments. Furthermore, we may be able to identify these conditions at a much earlier stage, before symptoms even develop. This project aims to identify such tests through the investigation of antigen specific T-cells, the extremely rare immune cells which are thought to be responsible for the development of rheumatoid arthritis.
I studied medicine at UCL and graduated in 2015, and I completed an intercalated BSc in neuroscience in 2012. I undertook foundation training in North London and subsequently worked as a rheumatology clinical fellow for a year. I then moved to Newcastle in 2018 to commence an NIHR funded ACF in rheumatology. I started my research placement in 2019 in the Newcastle immunotherapy lab where I worked on a forthcoming trial of tolerogenic, cellular treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. In January 2020 I was awarded an EMINENT clinical training fellowship. The start of this was delayed slightly due to COVID-19 and during this delay I continued my clinical training as a rheumatology registrar in Northumbria. I have now commenced my fellowship and work as an honorary rheumatology registrar at the Freeman Hospital.
My PhD will focus on the development of antigen specific markers of immunological tolerance, a key tool for the development of novel, curative treatments for autoimmune disease.
The integrated academic trading programme has been an excellent opportunity and I have felt very well supported and supervised. Because of the remit of the NIHR, there is a clear line of sight to clinical practice from academic work and this is very motivating.
During my research block as part of my NIHR ACF I had the opportunity to visit the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm in order to learn techniques that I wished to use during my PhD. Not only did this strengthen my fellowship application and allow my current project to hit the ground running, it was also an excellent opportunity to see things done differently in another laboratory, to make friends and meet future collaborators.
Eating, running, music, photography, skiing... but mostly eating.
The proximity of the city centre to incredible countryside/coast. Sometimes the football team, but sadly not this year…