Centre for Inflammation Research

Professor Steve Wigmore

Steve Wigmore's group are interested in the cell and molecular biology of organ preconditioning to reduce organ injury in surgery and transplantation.

Professor Steve Wigmore

Chair of Transplantation Surgery / Honorary Consultant Surgeon

  • Centre for Inflammation Research

Contact details



  1. To investigate the cell and molecular basis of liver injury and regeneration in surgically relevant models
  2. To develop pharmacological or cell based therapies to improve liver function and regeneration in human disease
  3. To develop techniques for functional imaging or assessment of liver function relevant to investigational and clinical use


Stephen Wigmore is Professor of Transplantation Surgery and trained in Edinburgh with Professor James Garden and Sir David Carter. He is a former Yamagiwa Yoshida fellow of the UICC and undertook a post doctoral scholarship at UCSF with Dr Bill Welch. He returned to Edinburgh and was awarded a Wellcome Advanced Fellowship as a Senior Lecturer in Clinical Surgery. He was Chair of Transplantation at the Birmingham Liver Unit prior to returning to Edinburgh in August 2007.

Approaches and Progress

We have previously demonstrated that heme oxygenase-1 and other stress proteins can protect cells from oxidative injury in transplant and surgically relevant models. Stress protein induction frequently incurs the cost of temporary loss of cellular differentiation; however heat shock factor-1 binding agents continue to show promise and potential for development in the clinical setting. Heme oxygenase-1 is much easier to induce and our data suggests that it is more relevant in human and rodent physiology and may be a more favourable target for modulation in clinical trials. Current approaches are investigating the role of HO-1 in macrophage maturation and in particular Kupffer cell differentiation. Therapeutic studies using adoptive transfer of HO-1 modulated autologous macrophages in ischemia reperfusion models are planned and the interaction between the innate and active immune systems through Kupffer cell-Treg interaction will be commencing later in 2008.

A long standing collaboration with the Universities of Maastricht and Vienna continues to support investigations into liver function and functional imaging of the liver in human disease and surgery settings.

Research Overview

The Wigmore group are interested in the cell and molecular biology of organ preconditioning to reduce organ injury in surgery and transplantation. Other research interests include basic science and clinical experimental research into the Kupffer cell, innate immunity, endotoxin handling and functional assessment of the liver in the context of surgery and transplantation.

The group combines approaches at a cellular level in pathway research and preclinical drug investigation with surgical models in small animals including a number of interesting transgenic lines with susceptibility or resistance to ischemia reperfusion injury. To date the principal focus of research has been the heat shock protein and hemeoxygenase-1 induction pathways. Current research is also focusing on the key role of the macrophage in orchestrating the inflammatory response and in recruitment of effector and regulatory T lymphocytes. The role of hemeoxygenase-1 in modulating macrophage phenotype and behaviour is central to the development of putative cell therapies to regulate inflammation.

The group has a strong interest in translational research and are involved in clinical trials of hemeoxygenase-1 preconditioning in major liver surgery and reticuloendothelial cell function in liver transplant patients. The group are also interested in developing a first in man study of novel geldanamycin analogues. These heat shock protein 90 binding agents bind to the ATP binding pocket of HSP90 and cause its dissociation from heat shock transcription factor-1 effectively short circuiting the heat shock protein response. Animal studies by the group have already demonstrated compelling evidence of organ protection with this group of drugs.

The following PDF provides a brief visual summary of this group’s current research.


You can view a full catalogue of graphical research summaries for each group in the Centre for Inflammation Research by visiting our Research page.

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Biographical Profile

  • Professor Wigmore graduated from King's College School of Medicine and Dentistry and, after two further years in London, moved to Edinburgh to undertake his basic and higher surgical training with Professor Sir David Carter and Professor James Garden.
  • His thesis on hepatic acute phase protein expression in cancer was followed by a visiting postdoctoral scholarship at the University of California San Francisco, as a Yamagiwa Yoshida Fellow of the UICC with Dr Bill Welch. On his return he was awarded an Advanced Fellowship by the Wellcome Trust.
  • He held this post as a senior lecturer and honorary consultant surgeon at the Scottish Liver Transplant Unit, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.
  • Professor Wigmore was appointed Professor of Transplantation Surgery at the University of Birmingham and Liver Unit, Queen Elizabeth Medical Centre in 2005.
  • Chairman of the Ethics Committee of the British Transplantation Society 2005-2007.
  • Associate Editor World Journal of Surgery 2007-2010.
  • Member of Research Board Medical Research Scotland 2007-2010.
  • HEFCE Clinical Senior Lectureships Awards committee 2006-2009.

Professor Wigmore's educational qualifications are:

  • Bachelor of Science (BSc 1st Class Hons) Immunology & Parasitology King’s College, University of London, 1986
  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), King’s College School of Medicine & Dentistry, University of London, 1989
  • Fellow of Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (FRCSEd), 1993
  • Doctor of Medicine (MD) University of Edinburgh, 1997
  • Fellow of Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS Gen Surg), Intercollegiate Board General Surgery & Transplantation, 2001

Honours and Awards

Professor Wigmore has been the recipient of numerous postgraduate awards and distinctions:

  • Smith & Nephew Foundation Medical Research Fellowship 1993.
  • Wilkie Research Scholarship University of Edinburgh 1994-5.
  • Chiene Medal - University of Edinburgh, School of Surgery 1995 and 1996.
  • Francis Mitchell Caird Prize in Surgery. Triennial prize awarded jointly by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh 1996.
  • Yamagiwa Yoshida Fellow Union Internationale Contre Le Cancer UICC 2000.
  • Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland Travelling Fellow 2000.
  • SHERT Travelling Fellow 2000.
  • Wellcome Trust Advanced Fellowship 2001.
  • External examiner Chinese University of Hong Kong 2007 and 2009.
  • James IV Travelling Fellow 2008.
  • Member of James IV Association 2010.

Other Responsibilities

  • Clinical Director for General Surgery and Transplantation appointed 2009
  • Director of Year 3 Master of Science (MSc) in Surgical Sciences (Edinburgh Surgical Sciences Qualification) 2008-
  • Specialist advisor on Organ Donation & Transplantation to the Chief Medical Officer Scotland 2008-
  • Member of Research Allocation Committee of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh 2009-
  • Member of the James IV Association of Surgeons 2010-
  • Associate Editor of HPB, the official journal of the International Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association (IHPBA) 2011-
  • Member of editorial boards of British Journal of Surgery, Transplantation, World Journal of Surgery, Journal of Surgical Case Reports
  • Member of Panel of Experts EME and HTA programmes
  • Scientific expert for Agence Recherche Francais
  • Advisory Board National HPB Cancer Network
  • Ad hoc reviewer MRC, Wellcome Trust, RCS, Israel Science Foundation, Hungarian Academy of Science, Netherlands Erasmus programme.

Sources of Funding

More information on funding at Steve Wigmore's Research Explorer profile.