Hussein is an NIHR Clinical Lecturer in Rheumatology and an Oxford-UCB Prize Fellow in the Nuffield Department of Orthopedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences. He discusses his research, and experience of working with industry.
What is your research background?
I am clinician and prior to applying for the Oxford-UCB programme completed a Wellcome Clinical Training fellowship in human immunology which focused on the role of immune dysfunction in ankylosing spondylitis. This research identified a new inflammatory pathway in this disease and will hopefully lead to the development of new therapies.
What are you researching now?
Currently I am focusing on interrogating the pathogenic immune response in Psoriatic arthritis. This research uses new technologies such as Mass Cytometry (CyTOF) and single cell RNA sequencing to gain a deep insight into the immune response in this disease with the aid of unbiased data handling and machine learning techniques.
What has your experience of this Fellowship been like?
The experience of the Fellowship has been excellent. The main positives have been the interaction with UCB scientists to jointly develop hypotheses and plan experiments. This brings a wealth of expertise into the research and a clear focus towards translation.
What has been the highlight of the Fellowship so far?
Learning about how research priorities in the pharmaceutical industry are developed and executed has been for me a unique insight that has allowed me to think more clearly about how laboratory findings can be developed into new therapies.
Why do you think it is important for researchers to engage with industry?
Modern day drug development is both costly and hugely complicated. The expertise required is very broad and generally not always available within academic institutions. It is essential to partner with industry in order to be able to translate findings from the laboratory for patient benefit.
Do you have any advice for applicants to this Fellowship?
This Fellowship is a fantastic opportunity to develop your own research area. Be bold and ambitious about what you want to do and use this time to develop new skills.
What are your aspirations for the future of your research?
I hope this research will identify new pathways for therapeutic intervention in psoriatic arthritis where there is still a great unmet clinical need.