Photo of Dr Helen Wright

Dr Helen Wright PhD, BSc

Senior Lecturer / Career Development Fellow Versus Arthritis Musculoskeletal & Ageing Science


Personal Statement

Current Role:
Senior Lecturer
Career Development Fellow Versus Arthritis

Previous Roles:
Research Fellow, University of Liverpool
Arthritis Research UK Foundation Fellow, University of Liverpool
Post-doctoral Research Associate, University of Liverpool

Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, University of Liverpool
PhD in Biological Sciences, University of Liverpool
BSc (1:1 Hons) Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, University of Central Lancashire

Personal Statement:
I have a special interest in the role of neutrophils in the pathogenesis of inflammatory diseases, with a focus on the regulation of metabolism and gene expression in inflammatory neutrophils. 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 inflammatory diseases and ageing. Working closely with clinicians the Liverpool university Hospitals Foundation Trust, 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. In my wider University roles I am chair of the musculoskeletal biology patient involvement panel which brings together researchers and people with musculoskeletal disease to discuss research priorities and the design of research studies with a patient focus. I am a member of the ILCaMS Fellowships Panel and actively mentor ECRs through fellowship and tenure-track applications, and I also sit on the Institute of Life Course and Medical Sciences Research Ethics Committee.

Current lab members:
Mrs Sarah Shirley (PhD student)
Dr Grace Filbertine (PhD student)
Miss Genna Abdullah (PhD student)

Lab Alumni:
Dr Elinor Chapman (Post-Doc)
Dr Susama Chokesuwattanaskul (Post-Doc)
Dr Laurence Glennon-Alty (Post-Doc)
Dr Angela Hackett (Post-Doc)
Dr Maria Fabbrizi (Post-Doc)
Dr Rhodri Smith (ACF)
Dr Michele Fresneda Alarcon (PhD student)
Mr Andy Nolan (Post-Doc)
Miss Kiran Riasat (Post-Doc)

Prizes or Honours

  • Alfred Garrod Prize 2017 (British Society for Rheumatology, 2017)
  • Guest of HRH Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Clarence House, London for the Versus Arthritis celebration of Women in Research (Versus Arthritis, 2020)
  • The Anne Vaughen-Thomas prize for Best Oral Presentation (Institute of Ageing & Chronic Disease, 2012)
  • Vice Chancellor's Student of the Year award (University of Central Lancashire, 2005)

Funded Fellowships

  • Career Development Fellowship (Arthritis Research UK, 2017)
  • Foundation Fellowship (Arthritis Research UK, 2010)