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The University of Southampton

Professor Christopher Edwards BSc, MBBS, MD, FRCP

Honorary Consultant Rheumatologist

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Professor Christopher Edwards is an Honorary Consultant Rheumatologist, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust within Medicine at the University of Southampton.

Professor Edwards is a clinical rheumatologist with research interests and expertise in the epidemiology and treatment of inflammatory rheumatic diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.

He attended medical school at King's College London and trained at the Hammersmith and St George's Hospitals in London. He was a registrar for Professor Graham Hughes at the St Thomas' Hospital lupus unit and then undertook a period of research as a lecturer at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology at Imperial College under the supervision of Professor Ravinder Maini. He moved to Southampton in 2001 after working for a year as a rheumatology consultant at Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore.

He is a member of international committees working to produce guidelines for the best management of rheumatic diseases, leading a systematic review of guidelines for the use of radiology in the diagnosis and management of rheumatoid arthritis for the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR). With expertise in the planning and delivery of trials in this area, including early stage trials, Professor Edwards has developed strong local and international partnerships with clinical and academic colleagues, centred on his role as clinical lead of the Southampton Musculoskeletal Research Unit.


BSc, 1st class (hons) Immunology & Basic Medical Sciences, King’s College, University of London (1987)

MBBS, with distinction in Obstetrics & Gynaecology, King’s College, University of London (1990)

MRCP, Royal College of Physicians, London (1993)

USMLE, parts I and II (USA licensing exams) (1994)

CCST, Rheumatology and General Internal Medicine (2000)

MD, Imperial College, University of London (2001)

FRCP, Royal College of Physicians, London (2005)

Appointments held

Honorary Chair of Clinical Rheumatology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton

Consultant Rheumatologist, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

Associate Director, Southampton NIHR Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility, Southampton Centre For Biomedical Research

Clinical Lead, Southampton Musculoskeletal Research Unit, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

Senior Research Fellow, Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences, University of Oxford

Research interests

Epidemiology of inflammatory rheumatic diseases

Professor Edwards’ current research focusses on understanding the causes of inflammatory rheumatic diseases including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. He is also working on projects looking at the epidemiology of rheumatoid arthritis and the predictors of joint replacement in inflammatory rheumatic diseases as an honorary senior research fellow at the University of Oxford.

He leads a research programme investigating RA that has provided new epidemiological insights into the treatment of RA within the UK and identified regional differences in disease modifying drugs use. Further studies have explored the increased prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in individuals with RA including the discovery that the presence of rheumatoid factor (RF) in the general population is associated with an increased risk of CVD. They have shown that early life factors may influence the likelihood of developing the autoantibodies RF and antinuclear antibodies in later life.

Trials of new immunotherapies

Professor Edwards is Chief and Principal investigator for several trials of biological therapies for the treatment of RA, SLE, psoriatic arthritis and AS including phase 1 and complex later phase work. He advises the pharmaceutical industry on the development of trials in this area.


Human Development and Health

Responsibilities in Southampton

NIHR Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility

As Associate Director of the Southampton NIHR Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility Professor Edwards is at the heart of the interaction between the University of Southampton and the University Hospitals Southampton NHS Foundation Trust. In this role he works to ensure the provision of operational space and governance for translational research in Southampton.

Professor Edwards supervises a number of fellows working towards postgraduate degrees.

Musculoskeletal Research Unit

As Clinical Director for the Musculoskeletal Research Unit Professor Edwards works to provide a research structure to develop musculoskeletal research in Southampton. This includes supporting researchers across the local NHS and a number of faculties of the University of Southampton to enable high quality collaborative projects.

NHS clinical work

Professor Edwards has set up disease specific clinics to treat patients with lupus and other connective tissue diseases, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) (Early arthritis and biological therapy clinic) and interstitial lung disease associated with rheumatic diseases. These clinics ensure best care but also enable disease-specific research. In addition, he has been instrumental in introducing care pathways for patients with rheumatoid arthritis that include taking part in a research study as a standard treatment option.

National Committees and Representation

As a member of the British Isles Lupus Assessment Group (BILAG) Professor Edwards has contributed to the development of an internationally important scoring system for SLE disease activity, helped develop a national biologics registry for individuals with SLE, and represented the charities ARUK and Lupus UK in submissions to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

Professor Edwards is a member of working groups for the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) developing guidelines for the use of radiology in the diagnosis and management of rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Other guideline development work includes the 3E international rheumatology group of which Professor Edwards has been UK chairman and a steering committee member 2009-2013.

Professor Edwards has also acted on a number of steering committee and safety monitoring committees for a several national and international trials.

Editorial Boards of Journals

Lupus - member of editorial board
Rheumatology – associate editor

  • Lecturer and tutor for a number of medical undergraduate course units
  • Examiner for the Southampton final medical examinations
  • Local rheumatology postgraduate teaching and supervision 
  • Internal and external examiner for a number of PhDs
  • Lead for undergraduate rheumatology teaching
Professor Christopher Edwards
Rheumatology Research Unit University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust Mailpoint 63, G Level, West Wing Southampton General Hospital Southampton SO16 6YD

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