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The University of Southampton
IBD Southampton research study

Meet the team

We have a large team involved in the research, from the nurses and doctors you meet in the clinic, to scientists and laboratory staff working behind the scenes.

Rachel Haggarty

Research nurse

Rachel Haggarty is the lead senior paediatric research nurse for the study. She is a children's nurse who, after qualifying at St Thomas' hospital London, worked for a number of years on children's wards in Oxford and here at Southampton. In 2010 she joined the research department, focusing predominantly on studies related to IBD in children, and in 2013 joined the Genetics of PIBD research study team. Rachel will meet you in the clinic or on the wards and invite you to participate in the study, answer any questions you may have and, if you decide you would like to join, help you complete all that is required. She is a passionate advocate for each and every child and family.

Research group
Sarah, Enrico, James, Eva and Gaia

Research team

Prof Sarah Ennis is Professor of Genomics in the Faculty of Medicine University of Southampton. She is chief Investigator of the Genetics of Paediatric IBD Study. Sarah’s academic background is in Biochemistry and Genetic Epidemiology. She first began working with the Paediatric Gastroenterology clinical team at University Hospital Southampton in 2008. Her particular research interest is in the application of next generation sequencing technology to uncover the genetic basis of IBD. The goals of her research are to improve the information available to clinicians to help diagnose disease subtypes accurately and in doing so, guide treatment and improve prognosis on a patient-by-patient basis.

Enrico Mossotto is a PhD student at the University of Southampton. His role in the IBD study is to use machine learning to improve patient diagnosis. Many patients recruited to the study show symptoms that make it hard to diagnose them with the correct subtype of IBD. Enrico is training computers to recognise patterns of IBD symptoms in patients so that they can receive the appropriate diagnosis and most suitable treatment.

Dr Eva Riethmacher is a Research Fellow in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton. She is working on models of different human diseases. Her background is in Genetics and Developmental Biology. She is analyzing specific expression patterns in human IBD patients in order to find pathways involved in the development of IBD helping to improve treatments of this illness.

Gaia Andreoletti is a PhD student at the University of Southampton. Her role is to curate the exome data of every sequenced patient, develop new analytical approaches on how to interrogate the large amount genetic data and conduct statistical analysis to identify and investigate new genes which might play a role in IBD. To date there are more than 100 genes involved in IBD and many more are still missing. Gaia works closely with the research nurse and the doctors to identify the specific disease causal genes in every child to provide better treatment and a faster recovery.

Clinical team
Dr T Coelho, Prof M Beattie, Dr A Batra and Dr N Afzal

Clinical team

Prof Mark Beattie is a paediatric gastroenterology consultant based at Southampton children’s hospital. He is the principal investigator for the genetics of this study and combines his clinical work closely with research into this area. He has an extensive track record of research into paediatric IBD over the last 20 years and is an extremely experienced clinician. He aims to improve the care offered to patients with paediatric IBD through deeper understanding of the disease.

Dr Tracy Coelho is a paediatric gastroenterology consultant based at Southampton children’s hospital, he is also completing a PhD looking at the role of the immune system in the development of paediatric IBD. Dr. Coelho has developed the immunological part of the study and links clinical care to our discoveries. He is vital to the running of the genetics of this study and effectively links the clinical and research parts of the study. Tracy is funded by a CICRA fellowship.

Dr James Ashton is an academic clinical fellow in his second year of paediatric training and has been part of the genetics of this study since 2012. Alongside developing the microbiome element of the study, he plays an important role in recruitment and linking clinical aspects to genetic discoveries. He aims to complete a PhD and continue his training in academic paediatric gastroenterology; his overall goals are to be able to understand what causes paediatric IBD in order to improve diagnosis and treatment for patients. James is funded by a University of Southampton Academic Clinical Fellowship. As from the 6th September 2017 James will be an Action medical research for children research training fellow.  Please click here for more information.

Dr Akshay Batra is a paediatric gastroenterology consultant based at Southampton children’s hospital. Dr Batra is primarily a clinician who has some research background. He has been involved with the genetics of this study since 2010 and helps to identify patients for recruitment and facilitate the research in a clinical setting. He is a very experienced clinician and an important member of the team.

Dr Nadeem Afzal is a paediatric gastroenterology consultant based at Southampton children’s hospital. Dr Afzal combines a busy clinical job and a background in research with aiding several research projects. He has been involved in the genetics of PIBD study since 2010 and aids in facilitating this research in a clinical environment. Dr Afzal is a highly experienced clinician and his research background is important to the study team.

Laboratory technicians
Nikki and Sylvia

Laboratory technicians

Nikki Graham and Sylvia Diaper are laboratory technicians in the Faculty of Medicine University of Southampton. They are responsible for extracting and storing DNA samples from study participants and provide valuable support for our team.

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