2021 Research Overview

Ken Muirden Fellowship

Dr Luke Williamson

Project Overview

Clinical Placement: Clinical Fellowship in Adolescent Rheumatology.
The aim of this fellowship is to gain the skills and experience necessary to run an adolescent rheumatology clinic, and thereby expanding the number of consultant rheumatologists who can provide an expert service to adolescents and young adults with rheumatic conditions. This fellowship will be based at the Centre for Adolescent Rheumatology, University College Hospital, London, which is a unique, multidisciplinary research Centre of Excellence, and will be able to provide world-class training in Adolescent Rheumatology.

Research / Quality improvement project: Data Science project
The aim of this project is to lead the design, roll out, and then audit, an integrated electronic system for clinical data transition and research for adolescents with rheumatic conditions. I plan to then use these skills to undertake a project using Big Data to look at how rheumatic conditions affect patients throughout their life – from children, through adolescence to adulthood. I will use the 20-year cohort data from the Centre for Adolescent Rheumatology. Insights from this project may help address the needs of young people with rheumatic diseases.

Overall aims of my fellowship:

  1. To design, roll out, and then audit, an integrated electronic platform/system for clinical (and research) data transition for adolescents in rheumatology.
  2. To develop skills in the use of Data Science and Data Analytics to assist Transition for adolescents with rheumatologic conditions from a paediatric to an adolescent/young adult service, and gain skills in data science, and health informatics which I can continue to use as a consultant rheumatologist in the future.
  3. To develop and enhance my clinical skills in the care and treatment of adolescents with Rheumatological conditions.

Barbara Cameron Fellowship

Associate Professor Mihir Wechalekar

"Improving outcomes in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): Investigating mechanisms of biologic disease-modifying drug response, or lack thereof, by an integrated genomic and biological marker approach"

Associate Professor Mihir Wechalekar is a full-time academic rheumatology consultant in Southern Adelaide Local Health Network. Since 2015, he has led the synovial tissue (ST) biobank at the Flinders Medical Centre, the only such facility in Australia and one of the very few worldwide. Mihir is one of very few rheumatologists in Australia trained in performing and analysing arthroscopic synovial biopsies and has recently led work to successfully establish the first appropriate quality-control and protocol-driven ultrasound guided synovial biopsy centre in Australia.

In recognition of his research, Mihir was awarded the Flinders University Vice-Chancellor’s Early Career Researcher Award in 2017 and promoted to Associate Professor within just over 2 years of being senior lecturer and within 3 years of his PhD. In recognition of his expertise in ST biology, he co-chairs the ST special interest group in the multi-national Outcome Measures in Rheumatology Clinical Trials (OMERACT) group. He is the national tissue lead and one of the Principal Investigators of The Australian Arthritis & Autoimmune Collaborative (A3BC). Mihir is the only Australian member of the EULAR (European League Against Rheumatism) Synovitis Study Group, the international apex body for ST-based work, and leads several international and national collaborative research projects.