Andrew Yates has been appointed as the Arthritis Research UK professor of mathematical immunology and rheumatology at the University of Glasgow, after leaving the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.
And Iain McInnes, director of the Institute of Infection, Inflammation and Immunity at the University of Glasgow, has also been appointed as Arthritis Research UK professor of rheumatology, after a long association with the charity.
Professor McInnes already heads up the charity’s rheumatoid arthritis pathogenesis centre –opened by Olympic gold-winning rower Katherine Grainger in June this year – and its experimental arthritis treatment centre at the university.
Both men will work closely together to investigate the causes of inflammation inside joints, particularly in rheumatoid arthritis, a serious, inflammatory, auto-immune condition that affects the joints and the body’s internal organs leading to chronic pain and fatigue.
Although newer biologic treatments such as anti-TNF therapies pioneered by Arthritis Research UK have made a huge difference to patients’ lives over the past 20 years, a significant proportion of patients still do not respond to such treatment. New options are urgently required and cutting edge research is essential to this achieve this ambition.
Professor Yates, who trained in theoretical physics and cosmology but now works in the field of quantitative biology, will use mathematical and computational models with experimental data to address questions relating to immunity. His main interest is in the behaviour of the T cell, a white blood cell which plays a major part in the development of rheumatoid arthritis.
Professor McInnes will continue in his work investigating the mechanisms of auto-immunity that cause rheumatoid arthritis to start, and why it doesn’t stop. The ultimate endpoint is to develop more effective, more targeted therapies to treat rheumatoid arthritis, and tests that can be used to predict which patients will do best on which drug, and avoiding unnecessary side-effects.
Professor Yates commented: “I think it’s becoming more and more apparent that quantitative approaches to immunology are important and complementary to experimental approaches. The combination of the two allows us to integrate multiple experimental and clinical observations to provide a more fundamental understanding of how autoimmune diseases arise and progress. It’s exciting that Arthritis Research UK realises this potential.”
Professor McInnes added: “People with arthritis currently face a life-long disease which often can have devastating impact on their quality of life, work prospects and on the lives of those close to them. Bringing cutting edge science and brilliant scientific minds, and the power of modern molecular medicine, to really focus on arthritis is a priority for those of us who are clinical rheumatologists.
These new appointments will allow us to really press ahead to seek the best outcomes for our patients and their families in the decade to come. Exciting times indeed!”
Dr Stephen Simpson, director of research at Arthritis Research UK added: “The application of mathematical models to help solve biological questions holds great promise for understanding and treating conditions such as arthritis, so we’re very pleased to appoint someone of the calibre of Professor Yates to this prestigious new post in Glasgow to join with Professor McInnes, who has had a long association with our charity.
“We‘re confident that their joint working will lead to some positive benefits for people with rheumatoid arthritis.”
Read the original article at University of Glasgow: ‘Two leading scientists appointed to aid search for arthritis cure‘