Centre for Inflammation Research

Dr Prakash Ramachandran

To study immune regulation of organ fibrosis with a view to identifying novel anti-fibrotic therapeutic approaches.

Dr Prakash Ramachandran

Clinician Scientist and Honorary Consultant Hepatologist

  • Centre for Inflammation Research

Contact details

Group Members

  • Li Jia - PhD student (CSC funded)
  • Eleni Papachristoforou - PhD Student (MRC DTP Precision medicine)
  • Ravinder Parhar - PhD student (MRC DTP Precision medicine)
  • Dr Sebastian Wallace - Clinical Research Fellow (co-supervisor)

Background

Organ fibrosis (or scarring) is estimated to contribute to 45% of deaths in the Western world. However, there are currently no effective anti-fibrotic therapies. Fibrosis is the result of a complex multi-cellular response to chronic injury, which invariably incorporates the activation of immune cells within the damaged organ. By understanding the biology of the immune response in scar formation and scar resolution, novel treatments could be developed to treat patients with fibrotic diseases.

Research Overview

Our research is focused on understanding the role of the innate immune system in fibrosis and fibrosis resolution in the liver and other organs. In particular, cells of the monocyte/macrophage lineage have been shown to be key orchestrators of tissue scarring, and hence represent an attractive therapeutic target. However, macrophages are heterogeneous plastic cells, with multiple subpopulations of varied origin and phenotype. In order to develop effective anti-fibrotic therapies which can modulate macrophage function, it is imperative to fully understand macrophage heterogeneity.

To address this, we employ cutting-edge techniques (including single-cell RNA-seq, spatial transcriptomics, multiparameter flow cytometry and imaging) to study a range of primary human samples and fibrosis models. We recently defined a novel population of pathogenic macrophages in the fibrotic niche of fibrotic human liver tissue (Nature, 2019) and are now actively working to identify approaches to selectively inhibit the function of these macrophages and reduce tissue scarring.

Biographical Profile

I undertook medical training and an intercalated BSc (hons) in Pharmacology at the University of Edinburgh, graduating in 2003. I subsequently completed a Wellcome Trust funded PhD at the MRC Centre for Inflammation Research, under the supervision of Professor John Iredale, Professor Stuart Forbes and Dr David Kluth. I proceeded to finish my specialty clinical training in hepatology, gastroenterology and general medicine, working in both Edinburgh and Aberdeen. I was awarded an MRC Clinician Scientist Fellowship in 2015, entitled “The Role of Tissue-resident Hepatic Macrophages in the Resolution of Chronic Liver Injury”. The work during this Fellowship has provided several new insights into the biology of macrophages in fibrosis.

Other Responsibilities

Honorary Consultant Hepatologist, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh

Alumni

Dr Eleni Sutherland - Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Honours and Awards

  • 2020   Emerging Leader Award, European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL)
  • 2020   Sir Francis Avery Jones Research Medal, British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG)
  • 2020   Rising Star Award, United European Gastroenterology (UEG)
  • 2019   Dame Sheila Sherlock Research Prize, British Association for the Study of the Liver (BASL)
  • 2015   Clinician Scientist Fellowship, MRC
  • 2011   Travel award, British Association for the Study of the Liver (BASL)
  • 2011   Young investigator award, European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL)
  • 2011   Young investigator award and oral presentation at plenary session, EASL
  • 2011   1st prize in oral plenary session and Pushpa Chopra award at Medical Research Society/Academy of Medical Sciences Clinician Scientists in Training annual meeting
  • 2008   Research Training Fellowship, Wellcome Trust

Collaborators

Sources of Funding

  • Medical Research Council
  • Wellcome Trust
  • Guts UK
  • Kidney Research UK

More information of funding at Prakash Ramachandran's Research Explorer profile.