During his PhD he examined the effects of vitamin D on blood vessel repair and function in patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). This work demonstrated that vitamin D therapy could modify vessel function in patients over a short time period. In addition vitamin D improved the function of cells important for blood vessel repair (pro-angiogenic macrophages) derived from SLE patients. This work supports the concept that vitamin D has important therapeutic effects beyond its role in bone health.
In 2014, John spent 3 months in the laboratory of Dr Mariana Kaplan at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the USA. The Kaplan lab has an international reputation in the investigation of vascular damage in connective tissue diseases and the roles of the innate immune system. Experiments conducted at the NIH focussed on the effect of inducing vitamin D deficiency on blood vessel function and repair.
The MRC fellowship scheme provided fundamental additional training in clinical pharmacology and therapeutics which has furthered John’s research interest in the development of models of human disease to measure drug response.
Dr Reynolds is currently an NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer in Rheumatology and Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. He has obtained a project grant from the NIHR Manchester Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) in order to investigate whether whole blood assays can be used to differentiate between individuals immune system responses to drugs in patients with SLE. It is hoped that this will lead to clinical tests which can better identify which drug treatment is most appropriate for an individual patient.
In the future, work will focus on personalisation of therapies in patients with connective tissue diseases using cellular disease models and small intervention studies. The overall aim is to identify the right drug, for the right patient, in rare diseases in which large scale clinical studies are not possible.