Centre for Inflammation Research

Dr Mohini Gray

Research Focus: I am a senior hospital consultant specialising in Rheumatology. I have been caring for patients with rheumatic diseases for over 25 years. I am also an academic with a role in teaching Medical students and Biology UG students as well as having an active research portfolio. I undertook my PhD studies (into the biochemistry of MHC class II processing) in the laboratory of Sir Mark Walport, Professor Marina Botto and Professor Daniel Altman, at Imperial College London.

Dr Mohini Gray

Reader and Honorary Consultant in Rheumatology

  • Centre for Inflammation Research

Contact details

Group Members

  • Kamya Choudhury - PTAS Intern Qualitative Researcher
  • Jonanthan Costello - MSc student
  • Katherine Miles - Research Assistant
  • Catherine Sutherland - PhD student (co-supervisor)
  • Elinor Wing - PhD student

My group's research is focused on understanding the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).  I'm currently building an interdisciplinary team of clinicians, bioinformaticians and data scientists to develop a clearer understanding of the Chronic Autoimmune Inflammatory Network (CAIN) that drives human autoimmunity.

Background

Autoimmunity: Autoimmune diseases result from a breakdown in immune regulation to self-proteins. They lead to chronic inflammation and the destruction of otherwise healthy tissues and organs. They are reaching epidemic proportions, yet remain incurable and cause much suffering world wide. They include many rheumatic diseases including rheumatoid arthritis and SLE as well as multiple sclerosis, type-I diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease and psoriasis. Our group is focused on understanding the regulatory pathways that prevent autoimmunity and the pathogenic immune subsets that drive chronic inflammation.

Research Overview

1)  Our lab discovered that innate-like B cells from the B1a subset are an important component of self-tolerance to proteins released from dying (apoptotic cells). As well as secreting natural antibodies, that hasten the removal of apoptotic cells, they also secrete the immunosuppressive cytokine IL-10, switching potentially autoimmune T cells to regulatory TR1 T cells.

2)  We also uncovered a potent anti-inflammatory activity for the abundant intracellular protein alpha-defensin, a neutrophil antimicrobial peptide. Once released or following apoptotic neutrophil ingestion by phagocytes, they prevent excessive macrophage activation by inhibiting protein translation, so providing a negative feedback loop.

3)  Currently my group's research is focused on human autoimmunity. By utilising our access to clinical samples and expertise and using next generation sequencing (NGS) of over 50,000 B cells per patient sample, we discovered that patients with newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis (RA) had a significant increase in circulating double negative (CD27-IgD-) IgG+ve B cells, that secrete pro-inflammatory cytokines and self-reactive antibodies. Collaborating with bioinformaticians and data scientists, we can now ask if these B cells drive chronic inflammation by assessing RA patients clinically over time following B cell depleting therapies.

Biographical Profile

  • 1984-1987 BSc (Hons) First Class (Basic Medical Sciences/Immunology) University of London
  • 1987-1990 MBBS University of London (King’s College Medical School) UK (Distinction in Surgery)
  • 1993  MRCP (UK), Royal College of Physicians, London
  • 1996-1999 PhD, Immunology, University of London, UK
  • 2002 CCST (UK), Royal College of Physicians

Honours and Awards

  • Career Development Fellowship 2007-2009
  • ARC Clinician Scientist Fellowship 2002-2007
  • ARC Clinical Training Fellowship 1996-1999

Other Responsibilities

EDI Focus: I am also passionate about ensuring that Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff and students are supported to reach their full potential at Edinburgh University. I am currently undertaking qualitative research into the factors that affect the BAME attainment gap within Edinburgh University. I also chair the Medical School Anti-Racism Action Group. I am the CMVM lead for BAME issues on the EDI committee as well as sitting on the University EDI-Race Subcommittee. I represent Edinburgh Medical School on the national Medical Schools Council.

I am the chair for the Board of Examiners for Year 5 of the undergraduate MBBS programme.

I have developed a website (EdRheum) to provide information and education for patients that attend the Rheumatology Unit in Lothian .

Alumni

  • Victor Casanova (Postdoctoral Fellow)
  • Kanchan Phadwal (Postdoctoral Fellow)
  • Gareth Tomlinson (PhD student)

Collaborators

Sources of Funding

More information on funding at Mohini Gray's Research Explorer profile.