Dr Brian Ho

Dr Brian Ho is a gastroenterology trainee in the North West Deanery.

Dr Ho completed his undergraduate education at the University of Dundee in 2014 and subsequently finished foundation training in Edinburgh and Core Medical Training in Merseyside.

Influence of Genetic Variation on Farnesoid X Receptor Agonism in Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects 1 in 5 people in the United Kingdom. Risk factor for developing the disease include high cholesterol levels, obesity and diabetes. Having NAFLD then increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and end stage liver disease. NAFLD is estimated to be a leading cause of liver transplantation in the next decade. At present, clinicians have no tools available to predict likelihood of disease progression at early stages of NAFLD. In addition there is currently no effective drug treatment.

Genetic factors partially explain risk of developing and worsening of NAFLD. His PhD project investigates how genetic factors mechanistically influence NAFLD, with the aim to discover potential drug targets and ways of prognostication. His MRC Pharmacology fellowship is supervised by Professor Sir Munir Pirhomamed and Professor Chris Goldring at the University of Liverpool, in partnership with Novartis, a pharmaceutical company with interests in the treatment of metabolic disease.

Working with Industry

Dr Ho is currently working with Novartis. He says:

“My collaboration with Novartis has been beneficial to the derivation of the study direction during my application process through early discussion. My partners have also aided me in refining research methodology during the fellowship, in particular selecting, developing and utilising cell models relevant to my project. Unfortunately, COVID has hindered this collaboration in the past 6 months, but they have also offered potential more complex cellular models and genetic manipulation techniques, which will allow me to greatly upscale my project more efficiently. In return, the aim of the project is creating a genetic model that can be used for investigations in precision medicine that may also benefit industry partners.”

Back to: North West England MRC Fellowship Scheme in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics