Photo of Em P Jon Rhodes

Em P Jon Rhodes MA, MD, FRCP, FMedSci

Emeritus Professor of Medicine and Honorary Senior Research Fellow Molecular Physiology & Cell Signalling


Personal Statement

Jonathan Rhodes MA MD FRCP FMedSci is Emeritus Professor of Medicine (since April 2014); previously Professor of Medicine and Hon Consultant Gastroenterologist, Royal Liverpool Hospital.

Educated Kingston Grammar School, Cambridge University (St John’s College) and St Thomas' Hospital Med School, MB 1973.
Training: St Thomas' Hosp (HS), Kingston (HP/SHO), RPMS Hammersmith (SHO); Royal Free Hosp (registrar and research fellow) (MD Cambridge University 1982, on leucocyte chemotaxis in inflammatory bowel disease supervised by Derek Jewell), 1981-1985 senior registrar Birmingham with Elwyn Elias, Roy Cockel, Robert Allan.

Came to Liverpool in 1985 and established, with colleagues, an extensive clinical practice in inflammatory bowel disease that has evolved into a large multidisciplinary team.

Laboratory research since 1985 has focused on the nature and consequences of altered mucosal glycosylation in gastro-intestinal disease. Recently this has included study of (i) bacteria-diet-epithelial interactions in pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis) and colorectal cancer; (ii) the role of the human galactose-binding lectin, galectin-3, in cancer metastasis and its inhibition by modified heparins.

The altered mucosal glycosylation we found in inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer led to studies co-led by Prof Barry Campbell (qv) investigating the mucosa-associated microbiota. Working with the late Prof Tony Hart (Med Microbiol) we found increased mucosa-associated E. coli in Crohn’s disease and colon cancer (Martin H et al Gastroenterology 2004;127:80-93). This complimented studies by Swidsinski et al and Darfeuille-Michaud et al , and since confirmed by many others. Collaboration with Christian Jobin showed that mucosal E. coli expressing the polyketide gene complex (pks) that leads to production of the genotoxin colibactin is associated with human sporadic colon cancer and also induces experimental inflammation-related colon cancer (Arthur JC et al Science 2012;338:120-3; Prorok-Hamon M et al Gut 2014;63:761-70). Further studies investigated interactions between mucosal E. coli and macrophages in Crohn’s disease (Mpofu et al, Gastroenterology 2007;133:1487-98; Subramanian S et al Antimicrob Agents Chemother 2008;52:427-34; Flanagan P et al IBDJ Dis 2015;21:1499-510).

We showed a beneficial effect of some dietary soluble plant fibres in preventing bacterial-epithelial adhesion and invasion – an effect we termed contrabiotic (Martin H et al Gastroenterology 2004 as above plus Roberts CL et al Gut 2010;59:1331-9; J Nutr Biochem 2013;24:97-103; Parsons BN et al PLOS One 2014;9:e87658). Conversely food emulsifiers can cause potentially harmful bacterial translocation (Roberts et al, Gut 2010;59:1331-9).

A trial (Apriccot) assessing therapy (ciprofloxacin, doxycycline and hydroxychloroquine) targeting E. coli replicating within macrophages in Crohn’s disease is now under way (co-led by Prof Chris Probert qv).

Studies on functional interactions between dietary lectins and gut epithelium (co-led by Prof Lugang Yu qv) have led on to studies of the role of galectins in human cancer.

5 books and electronic media, 49 book chapters, 157 original publications and 57 peer-reviewed editorials and reviews. 4 patents.
Theses supervised: 12 PhD and 12 MD.

Editorial positions:
Co-Editor, Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics (2016-2021), Assoc Editor (2002-15)
Internatl. Editorial Board, J Internal Medicine (2013-)
Gut Ed Board (1988-92)
Clin Science Ed Board (1991-95)
Brit Journal Nutrition Ed Board (2002-7)
J Crohn's and Colitis Ed Board (2007-15)

Other roles have included:
President, British Society of Gastroenterology 2010-12.
President, Liverpool Medical Institution 2003-4.
Elected Councillor, Royal College of Physicians 2003-6
Sectional Cttee Member, Academy of Medical Sciences 2009-11.
Chair Med Awards Cttee, Crohn’s and Colitis UK (2013-2019).
Chair of Trustees, Guts UK (2019-)
Clin Director, Medicine, Royal Liverpool Hosp 1999-2000
Director, R and D, Royal Liverpool Hosp, 2004-9.

Awards etc:
Sir Francis Avery Jones Research Medal, British Soc Gastroenterology 1989
Bengt Ihre Medal, Swedish Medical Association 2005
De Pazzi Lecture, Cork, Eire 2010
Sir Francis Avery Jones Lecture, St Marks Hospital, London, 2010
Chandhu Bardhan Lecture, Sheffield, 2013
Sir Arthur Hurst Lecture, Brit Soc Gastro, 2017

Prizes or Honours

  • President British Society of Gastroenterology (British Society of Gastronterology, 2009)
  • Bengt Ihre Medal, Swedish Medical Association (Swedish Medical Association, 2005)
  • Avery Jones Research Medallist (British Society of Gastroenterology, 1989)