May 2013

School Welcomes Arthritis Ireland / UCD Professor of Rheumatology

Wed, 22 May 13 13:56

The School is delighted to welcome Professor Gerry Wilson who will shortly take up position of Arthritis Ireland/UCD Professor of Rheumatology. Prof Wilson joins the School from the University of Sheffield Medical School where he led a EULAR Centre of Excellence for Rheumatology. This appointment will further enhance Dublin's reputation as a centre of clinical and research excellence in rheumatological sciences. Prof Wilson joins a vibrant DAMC Rheumatology team that includes a nine consultant rheumatologists many of whom are internationally recognised academic leaders and clincial researchers.

Co-incident with this appointment, the School is also pleased to announce a number of research opportunities and research-support posts within Prof Wilson's rheumatology group which will be based at the UCD Conway Institute and across both Mater Misericordiae University Hospital and St Vincent's University Hospital. The following positions are now available:

  • Senior Research Fellow (3 year appointment)(Our ref.: 005916)
  • Post-Doctoral Fellow (PD1/PD2 ; 3 year appointment)(Our ref.: 005917)
  • Research Administrator (Our ref.: 005918)
  • Research Technical Scientist (3 year appointment)(Our ref.: 005919)
  • Special Lecturer / Clinical Tutor (up to 3 year appoinment)φ
  • PhD Studentship (n=2)φ

Applications for these positions are now invited before 10th June 2013.  Please see here for job descriptions and application details.

Those interested in the positions marked (φ) should contact Prof Wilson directly at aDOTgDOTwilson@sheffield.ac.uk (replacing the 'DOT' with'.').

Arthritis Ireland

The School is delighted to acknowledge the financial support of Arthritis Ireland, the national organisation supporting people with arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. 

 

About Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the commonest chronic inflammatory joint disease and is characterised by synovial inflammation which, if uncontrolled, leads to cartilage and bone damage. The clinical course of RA is heterogeneous with wide variation in severity as assessed by parameters such as disease activity, functional status, and x-ray damage.

The identification of biomarkers of poorer outcome should, in combination with established biomarkers, facilitate patient stratification and improved therapeutic targeting.

Major progress in our understanding of the pathogenesis of RA has been made over the past few years with the identification of environmental risk modifying factors such as alcohol consumption and smoking whilst advances in genetics has led to the discovery of >45 susceptibility genes mostly encode immune-related proteins.

(1) Post Doctoral Fellow

This research project will use high throughput genetic, transcriptomic, proteomic and immunological techniques to identify biomarkers associated with poorer outcome using samples from 1,007 RA patients (1-3). This data would guide therapeutic targeting with more aggressive regimes resulting in less joint damage and improved quality of life of RA patients with unfavourable biomarker profiles.

Previous experience in genetic or genomic research is essential and basic statistical techniques an advantage.

References

  1. Teare, D.M., Knevel, R., Morgan, M.D., Kleszcz, A., Emery, P., Moore, D.J., Conaghan, P.G., Huizinga, T., Morgan, A.W., van der Helm-van Mil, A., et al. 2013. Allele dose association of the C5orf30 rs26232 variant with joint damage in rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Rheum.
  2. Maxwell, J.R., Marinou, I., Kuet, K.P., Orozco, G., Moore, D.J., Barton, A., Worthington, J., and Wilson, A.G. 2012. Rheumatoid Arthritis-associated Polymorphisms at 6q23 Are Associated with Radiological Damage in Autoantibody-positive RA. J Rheumatol 39:1781-1785.
  3. Marinou, I., Walters, K., Winfield, J., Bax, D.E., and Wilson, A.G. 2010. A gain of function polymorphism in the interleukin 6 receptor influences RA susceptibility. Ann Rheum Dis 69:1191-1194. Applications

Application

This post doctoral research fellowship opportunity is funded by the School for a period of three years at an appropriate point on the UCD Post Doctoral Fellows salary scale. Interested parties should apply via the UCD research vacancies portal quoting reference number #005917)

(2) PhD Research Studentships

The role of epigenetics in the pathogenesis and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the commonest chronic inflammatory joint disease and has a prevalence of 1%. It is characterised by synovial inflammation which, if uncontrolled, leads to cartilage and bone damage. Major progress in our understanding of the pathogenesis of RA has been made over the past few years with the identification of environmental risk modifying factors such as alcohol consumption and smoking whilst advances in genetics has led to the discovery of >45 susceptibility genes mostly encode immune-related proteins.

Recent evidence implicates epigenetic mechanisms in the pathogenesis of RA and there is increasing interest in therapeutically targeting the epigenome, as this is effective in animal models of RA (1, 2). This project will determine the epigenetic profiles of peripheral blood leucocytes and synovial cells in RA and determine if clinical responses to commonly used treatments, such as methotrexate and TNF inhibitors, are associated with resetting of the epigenetic signature. This information will lead to a better understanding of the role of epigenetics in the pathogenesis of RA and may result in the identification of novel therapeutic targets.

The project will involve cell culture, DNA and RNA purification, DNA sequencing, gene arrays and bioinformatics.

References

  1. Karouzakis, E., Gay, R.E., Michel, B.A., Gay, S., and Neidhart, M. 2009. DNA hypomethylation in rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts. Arthritis Rheum 60:3613-3622.
  2. Nile, C.J., Read, R.C., Akil, M., Duff, G.W., and Wilson, A.G. 2008. Methylation status of a single CpG site in the IL6 promoter is related to IL6 messenger RNA levels and rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Rheum 58:2686-2693.

Application

This opportunity is a fully funded PhD position with doctoral registration fees and a student stipend funded by the School for a period of four years subject to satisfactory progression. Interested applications should apply by email to Prof Wilson (aDOTgDOTwilson@sheffield.ac.uk)(replace DOT with'.').