Photo of Dr Helen Wright

Dr Helen Wright PhD, BSc

Versus Arthritis Career Development Fellow / Tenure Track Fellow Musculoskeletal Biology I


Personal Statement

I am a Versus Arthritis Career Development Fellow and Group Leader at the University of Liverpool, Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease. I have a special interest in the role of neutrophils in the pathogenesis of rheumatic diseases, with a focus on identifying neutrophil-derived biomarkers for the development of a personalised medicine approach to the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). I graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in 2005 with a BSc (Hons) in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, and obtained my PhD at the University of Liverpool in 2009. In 2010 I was awarded an Arthritis Research UK Foundation Fellowship, during which I characterised neutrophils from RA patients before and after TNF inhibitor therapy using RNA-sequencing. As part of my Fellowship, I spent time at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories in New York, undertaking state-of-the-art training in bioinformatics data analysis and computer programming. More recently I have been awarded major research grants from the Wellcome Trust and Pfizer, through which I am developing protocols applying quantitative proteomics and 1H NMR metabolomics technologies to further define the activation of neutrophils in RA. My research is providing unprecedented insight into the role of neutrophils in RA. Working closely with clinicians at University Hospital Aintree, Liverpool, I have identified and validated potential neutrophil-derived biomarkers of response and non-response to TNF inhibitor therapy. I was awarded the British Society for Rheumatology Garrod Prize for 2017, and became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2018. My Versus Arthritis Career Development Fellowship will develop skills in advanced statistics and computational biology to enable me to integrate multiple –omics datasets with clinical characteristics of RA patients to provide new insight into neutrophil phenotype in RA.

Personal Distinctions

  • Alfred Garrod Prize 2017 (Prize, British Society for Rheumatology 2017)
  • Career Development Fellowship (Competitive Fellowship, Arthritis Research UK 2017)
  • The Anne Vaughen-Thomas prize for Best Oral Presentation (Prize, Institute of Ageing & Chronic Disease 2012)
  • Foundation Fellowship (Competitive Fellowship, Arthritis Research UK 2010)
  • Vice Chancellor's Student of the Year award (Prize, University of Central Lancashire 2005)

Administrative Roles

  • Musculoskeletal Biology Patient Involvement Panel (Academic lead)

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