The Independent Scientific Advisory Group (ISAG) is made up of both experts and lay members. The experts include not only those with research expertise in transplantation, but also research leaders in broader areas such as immunobiology and genetics and also a representative from industry. The ISAG performs an annual assessment of the progress and scientific outputs of the BTRU and evaluates value for money based on activity levels and staff contribution. The factors considered by the ISAG are levels of additional external funding leveraged as a result of the infrastructural benefits of the BTRU. They also assess the level of engagement with external collaborators, industry and impact on patient care.
Professor John Cleland
Professor John Cleland was appointed the Director of the Robertson Centre for Biostatistics and Clinical Trials in 2016, an internationally accredited Clinical Trials Unit offering a complete service both to academic clinicians and industry. The special area of expertise is cardiovascular disease, but includes all branches of medicine and social sciences.
Professor Cleland qualified from the University of Glasgow. He completed his training at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, and the Hammersmith Hospital, London, in 1989. In 1994, he was awarded a Senior Research Fellowship by the British Heart Foundation. He was appointed Professor of Cardiology at the University of Hull in 1999 and subsequently at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Royal Brompton, Harefield and Hammersmith Hospitals, Imperial College London, where he retains a part-time contract.
His main area of interest is in heart failure, extending from its epidemiology and prevention, through the development and implementation of guidelines for the application of current knowledge, to large randomized trials. Particular current interests include the influence of myocardial substrate on therapeutic response, novel methods of delivering care and theranostics.
He is a Past Chairman of the European Society of Cardiology’s Working Group on Heart Failure and of the British Society for Heart Failure, founded the European Journal of Heart Failure, is a National Institute of Health Research Senior Investigator and chairs the Academic Committee of the National Heart Failure Audit and the National Clinical Specialties Research Group on Heart Failure. He has published more than 800 papers in peer-reviewed journals and is a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher.
Mr Luke Devey
After graduation from Oxford Medical School, Luke trained in surgery and transplantation in southeast Scotland and the West Midlands. Between 2004 and 2007 he undertook a PhD focusing on the role of hemeoxygnase-1 in liver transplantation. With enduring fascination for basic science, he progressed to an Academy of Medical Sciences Clinician Scientist Fellowship in Edinburgh (2009–13) before moving to GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to learn translational medicine and drug development.
In 2014 Luke relocated to Philadelphia where he has been fortunate to work on preclinical and clinical projects seeking to extend our understanding of acute kidney injury and delayed graft function in collaboration with a number of superb internal and external partners. Currently he leads the GSK anti-IL-18 monoclonal antibody program, which is in phase 2a clinical trials for prevention of delayed graft function after renal transplantation.
Professor Simon Johnson
Simon Johnson is Professor of Respiratory Medicine at the University of Nottingham and Honorary Consultant Physician. Simon’s clinical work is as Director of the National Centre for Lymphangioleiomyomatosis and an interstitial lung disease physician. His laboratory works on proteolytic mechanisms of lung destruction and has published extensively on the role of proteases, cell–cell and cell–matrix interactions in asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM). Simon is Co-Director of Integrated Academic Training for the University of Nottingham, a member of the scientific board of the LAM Foundation (USA) and a professional advisor to the Tuberous Sclerosis Association.
Professor Giovanna Lombardi
Giovanna Lombardi is Professor of Human Transplant Immunology in the Division of Transplantation Immunology and Mucosal Biology, MRC Centre for Transplantation, King’s College London (since 2005). From 1987 to 2005 she was based at the Department of Immunology at the Hammersmith Hospital and before that at the University of Rome, Italy.
Her research has focused on the mechanisms of transplant rejection and tolerance as well as on the phenotype and function of regulatory T cells (Tregs) in health and disease, both in the murine system and in man. Recently her laboratory has established a clinical protocol to expand Tregs in vitro. Tregs has been used in two clinical trials in renal transplant patients as part of a large EU cell therapy consortium and in liver transplant patients supported by the MRC. In parallel, her group has demonstrated that adoptive cell therapy using alloantigen-specific regulatory T cells can offer an advantage compared with polyclonal Tregs for preventing chronic allograft rejection. A GMP compatible cell sorter to generate highly pure Tregs is under validation and this approach will open the possibility of using alloantigen-specific Tregs for future clinical trials within the next few years.
Miss Lorna Marson
Lorna Marson is a Reader in Transplant Surgery at the University of Edinburgh, and Honorary Consultant Surgeon at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. She is clinical lead for renal transplantation in Edinburgh and led the development of antibody incompatible transplantation in the region.
Lorna held a Clinician Scientist Award from the Academy of Medical Sciences/Health Foundation from 2003 to 2008 and continues to work in clinically relevant research in renal transplantation, with translation of a novel agent from bench to bedside. Lorna is Vice President and President Elect of the British Transplantation Society and is Associate Postgraduate Dean for Surgery in southeast Scotland. As Deputy Chair of the Kidney Advisory Group, Lorna is part of the implementation group for the 2020 Living Donor Transplantation Strategy, which aims to increase living donation in the UK to match the best international standards. In her role as a Trustee of Kidney Research UK, she took part in the London Ride 100 in 2015, to raise money for the charity.