The primary areas of research within Gastrointestinal Unit are the pathogenesis, epidemiology and clinical management of the chronic inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis), common illnesses in the Scottish population. The research has a strong theme of translation from laboratory science to clinical application. Key areas of interest are the genetics of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, mechanisms of gene-environmental interactions, clinical epidemiology, childhood-onset disease, and clinical trials of novel therapies. The international reputation is based on both our independent research in these fields, as well as our collaborations - at local, national, and international levels.
Jack Satsangi was appointed as Professor of Gastroenterology in September 2000, with overall responsibility for research and teaching strategies in the Academic GI Unit. Three senior post-doctoral scientists - Elaine Nimmo, Marian Aldhous, Craig Stevens- and one MRC Clinician Scientist - Gwo-Tzer Ho- carry out related laboratory research projects within the Unit, and collaborate closely with Ian Arnott , Charlie Lees, both Consultant Physicians on the WGH campus who have completed higher degrees within the laboratory and continue with clinical and translational research, in parallel with clinical activities. In addition, there is a pivotal interaction with David Wilson, Reader in Paediatric Gastroenterology, and Head of the Paediatric Gastroenterology team, at Royal Hospital for Sick Children underlying our work.
Clinical trials remain a key strength of our unit, with a series of on-going or completed phase III studies of biological therapies in inflammatory bowel disease, and a commitment to establishing Edinburgh the first centre for stem cell research in Scotland in 2010.
- Lees CW, Ironside J, Wallace WA, Satsangi J (senior author). Resolution of non- small- cell cancer after withdrawal of anti- TNF therapy. N Engl J Med 2008;359(3):320-1 Key publication (see also Lancet 2008:14:371) addressing the safety of biological agents. These papers have influenced national guidelines.
- Fisher SA,..Satsangi J (senior author). Genetic determinants of ulcerative colitis include the ECM1 locus and five loci implicated in Crohn’s disease. Nat Genet 2008;40(6):710-2. One of six recent Nature/Nat Genet papers as PI.
- Imielski M...Satsangi J, Hakonarson H (joint senior author) Common variants at five new loci associated with early- onset inflammatory bowel disease Nat Genet 2009 doi10.1038/ ng The most complete characterisation of the genetics of childhood- onset disease published, building on our landmark Edinburgh study of phenotype (Gastroenterology 2008:135: 1114.)
- The UK IBD Genetics Consortium & the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium 2 ( joint senior author as PI) Genome- wide asssociation study of ulcerative colitis identifies three new susceptibility loci, including the HNF4A locus Nat Genet 2009 doi 10.1038/ ng The definitive description of the genetics of ulcerative colitis. In Edinburgh, my group has published complementary post- discovery studies ( Gut 2008:57:1398, PLoS Med 2008:5:12 e239).