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The University of Southampton

Dr Michael Ardern-Jones BSc, MBBS, DPhil, FRCP

Associate Professor , Consultant Dermatologist

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Dr Michael Ardern-Jones is Associate Professor within Medicine at the University of Southampton.

Mike Ardern-Jones undertook medical training at St Bartholomew's Medical College, University of London and subsequently carried out his DPhil studies at Christ Church, University of Oxford. He trained in cutaneous immunology at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford via a Wellcome Research Training Fellowship.

The aim of his group is to develop model systems for human inflammatory cutaneous disease which will develop the opportunity to dissect key molecular pathways and design new science based treatments. As a paradigm for such a system, atopic dermatitis is ideal and is where the main thrust of work is directed. He found an exciting novel link between the role of infection in modulating allergic responses in the skin, which suggests an important bridge between the innate immune control of adaptive immune responses and extending this work in more physiological model systems is a current principle aim. 

Funding for his research has come from: The Wellcome Trust, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), British Skin Foundation, Psoriasis Association, Mason Medical Foundation, AAIR (Asthma, Allergy, Inflammation Research Charity), Health Protection Agency, Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF), Emblation Ltd., Unilever.




BSc, Biochemistry, University of London 1993
MBBS, Medicine and Surgery, University of London, 1996
DPhil (PhD), University of Oxford, 2007

Appointments held

Senior Clinical Research Fellow / Honorary Consultant Dermatologist, University of Oxford. 2005- 2007

Senior lecturer . Consultant Dermatologist, University of Southampton. 2007 - present

Research interests

Together with Dr Polak (Post Doctoral Research Scientist), Dr Ardern-Jones has developed a 3D in vitro model of the skin which can be used to further investigate cutaneous immunology without the need for human tissue samples. Skin research has a distinct advantage over other organ systems in that there is good access to skin biopsies if needed. Using the latest immunological tools (Fig1 novel MHC class II tetramers..) Dr Ardern-Jones aims to address key questions in cutaneous immunology. The group has 4 main areas of interest within the field:

1) The role of microbial regulation of immune responses in atopic dermatitis

Infections are well recognised causes of flares in eczema. Using laboratory cultured Staphylococcus aureus, Dr Ardern-Jones is investigating how this bacteria can redirect the cutaneous immune response towards allergic responses.

2) The interaction between cutaneous DCs and adaptive immunity

It has long been established that certain cytokine profiles correspond with allergic reactions, yet why some individuals and not others should programme their immune responses in this way is not well understood. Testing cells outside of the tissue microenvironment fails to reproduce the signals that coordinate an individual immune response. Using 3D models of the skin, Dr Ardern-Jones’ group can test the molecular pathways involved in this immune programming.

3) Development of novel in vitro diagnostic tests for drug hypersensitivity

Allergic reactions to drugs are mediated by immune responses in the blood and frequently manifest as rashes on the skin. Although many are mild, some can be fatal. To date we have no reliable methods of identification of the culprit medication and therefore clinical management of these cases is often based on bets guess and is less than satisfactory. Using his experience in working with immunological tests for other projects, Dr Ardern-Jones’ group is recognised as the leading group in the UK working on assay optimisation for clinical use.

4) Mathematical modelling of the regulation of Th polarisation

Complexity in biological systems has driven a reductionist approach, whereby favourite molecules or pathways are examined in depth. New technologies such as microarray analysis of encoded RNA, allows researchers to study complexity in a non-hypothesis driven way. As part of Dr Ardern-Jones’ group, Dr Polak is using microarray analysis and novel bioinformatics systems to model the whole cellular processing that regulates a dendritic cell to at one time choose to induce immunity and at other times allergy.

Using novel NHC class II tetramers to track human T cell immune responses to house dust mite protein
Arden-Jones et al. PNAS USA


Clinical and Experimental Sciences

Affiliate Department(s)

Respiratory and allergy Research group

National Organisations

1. The Skin Investigation Society (THESIS) Chair . THESIS aims to foster research in dermatology and holds an annual meeting that is well attended.
2. Chair of the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) judging committee (since 2010). The committee panel scores the BAD annual conference oral and poster presentations and awards the prizewinners.
3. British Skin Foundation Grants Committee member.
4. MRCP examiner: Dermatology Specialist Curriculum Examination Question Writer Group member, Examining Board Member, Standard Setting Group member
4. British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) Research Committee.

Local Organisations

1. University of Southampton Medical Student Selection Committee
2. Wessex Specialty Training Committee.
3. Medical Student - Associate Course coordinator for Dermatology. Highly rated 2009/10.
3. BM Finals Working group Question Setter: For the last 3 years I have reviewed and modified questions for finals.
4. Dermatology Clinical governance lead
5. Medical School finals examiner: OSCE

2010: PhD examiner to the University of London, University of Oxford and MD examiner for Southampton.

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Book Chapters

  • Ardern-Jones, M., & Friedmann, P. (2009). Eczema. In A. Custovic, & T. A. E. Platt-Mills (Eds.), Managing Allergy Clinical Publishing.
  • Friedmann, P. S., Ardern-Jones, M., & Holden, C. A. (2008). Atopic dermatitis. In T. Burns, S. M. Breathnach, N. H. Cox, & C. Griffiths (Eds.), Rook's Textbook of Dermatology (8th revised edition) John Wiley.




Allergy MSc

As module leader (joint), the new 2010 course of two 3 day sessions was highly successful. Dr Ardern-Jones delivered 8 hours of talks and feedback was excellent. He has further redesigned the assessment procedures to enhance this element. Success of this module has translated into increased popularity and the number of students booking onto our forthcoming module has doubled.


Dr Ardern-Jones is an invited speaker at national and international meetings. He enjoys leading poster walks on cutaneous immunology as at the 2010 European Society of Dermatological Research meeting. He is responsible for increasing exposure of UK Dermatology clinical trainees to science training through his position as The Skin Investigation Society chair.


Dr Ardern-Jones teaches SpRs and is an educational supervisor. He is regularly invited to speak at conferences on his areas of special interest. He is the associate course coordinator and teacher on the medical student dermatology attachment: in 2009/10 86% of medical students rated the dermatology teaching programme as good or very good. He also teaches GP trainees on their VTS programme. Chair and lecturer on GP Dermatology day (2010) (feed back excellent) and Skin Forum Course (2010) (feedback excellent) as well as GPSI dermatology meetings.


He teaches on the in house MRCP course and Drug Research Safety Unit course (two lectures) twice yearly (2010: excellent feedback).

Dr Michael Ardern-Jones
CES Academic Unit
Level F, South Block MP825
Southampton General Hospital
Tremona Road
Southampton SO16 6YD

Room Number: SGH/LF76/MP825

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