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Organisation Description

The University of Leeds is the second largest University in the UK and one of the largest biomedical research universities, with an annual research income in 2008/09 exceeded €123 million. Working closely in partnership with the Leeds Teaching Hospital Trusts, the largest NHS Trust in the United Kingdom with a turnover of £760m and employing 13000 staff, Leeds provides an ideal clinical research training environment.  Most recently, the Leeds partnership has been awarded a prestigious Leeds Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit (LMBRU) for its work in musculoskeletal (MSK) disease. This award provides £6.25 million grant provides infrastructure costs to undertake translational research in musculoskeletal disease across the clinical disciplines, experimental medicine and biomedical and bioengineering.


The division of Musculoskeletal diseases lead by Prof Emery has an excellent clinical-translational science facilities and its proven track record in developing and maintaining good patient cohorts, including the biologic, resistant RA and oligoarthritis databases. The Division of MSK Disease received over £1.5 million from the Arthritis Research Council to develop the unique Yorkshire Early Arthritis Register (YEAR), with over 1500 early RA patients. The Leeds Early Arthritis Project (LEAP) has developed cohorts of patients with established RA, osteoarthritis, spondyloarthropathies, connective tissue disease and other MSK conditions (over 25,000 patients).  Both these patient registers are pivotal to studying the molecular and biochemical characteristics of disease, their relationship to clinical phenotypes and the development of novel therapies and other translational advances. This together with the Scleroderma Regional registry serving a population of 500 SSc patients place the University of Leeds in an ideal setting to develop the work package on Hand function. Facilities: The division of MSK currently runs 62 clinical trials relying on a dedicated team of 45 people including Health professionals and clerks fully devoted to the management of clinical research. Standardisation: The head of the department is a regular participant in the development of SSc-related recommendations including EULAR recommendations for diagnosis and treatment of SSc.


Prof. Paul Emery, Director of the Leeds, Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit, Head of the Division of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases and Arthritis Research UK, Professor of Rheumatology, he is recognised as a world authority in the pathogenesis and novel management of early inflammatory arthritis. He has launched early arthritis programmes in UK and several countries worldwide. Emery has established one of the largest Biologics clinics in world and in the past six years, generated more than £13 million in competitive grant income.  He has over 750 peer reviewed publications, is the President of the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR): he launched fit for work in Westminster and Brussels Parliaments and the Brussels Declaration on Disability to the European Council of Ministers in October 2010.  Emery is the most highly cited rheumatologist across Europe:  his publications have been cited over 16,000 times and has an H-index of 59. Emery has established a PhD/CST programme, with more than 20 trainees and 7 professors of rheumatology. Awarded Hospital Doctor of Year, Roche Biennial Prize and EULAR Award for outstanding rheumatology research.

Dr. Francesco Del Galdo Associate Professor, Head of the Scleroderma Programme in the Division of MSK. More than 10 years of experience in SSc management, with particular focus on translational research and proof of concept clinical trials.  Deeply involved in training of clinicians and post-doctoral fellows, Project Leader of the EUSTAR International calls committee.

Dr. Maya H. Buch NIHR Clinician Scientist, Senior Lecturer & Honorary Consultant Rheumatologist:  holds significant expertise in the therapy of autoimmune disease (including biologic treatments) with focus on identifying predictors of treatment and developing optimal treatment algorithms. Dr. Buch lead on a number of key investigator-driven studies as well as a National RCT.

Dr. Giuseppina Abignano is a Clinical Research Fellow in the Scleroderma Programme.

Jayne Davies is an experienced Scleroderma Research Nurse.