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Jane Worthington

Head of School of Biological Sciences

Professor Jane Worthington was appointed as Head of the School of Biological Sciences in August 2016.

She was previously Director of the Institute of Inflammation and Repair at The University of Manchester from January 2014 and is a professor of Chronic Disease Genetics and Honorary Research Principal Investigator at the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Professor Worthington obtained her PhD in Biochemistry from University College London in 1987. Following a first postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Leicester, where she gained experience in molecular biology, Jane moved to The University of Manchester in 1989 and began researching arthritic diseases for the first time.

After two years in the Department of Rheumatology, Jane joined Alan Silman and Bill Ollier in the ARC Epidemiology Unit to work on genetics of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Apart from a brief period at the University of Oxford as part of an ARC fellowship, Jane has remained in Manchester and was promoted to Professor in 2005.

Together with her colleagues, Jane has established a research group that is recognised nationally and internationally for their research on the genetics of arthritic diseases.

She led the rheumatoid arthritis (RA) component of the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium, which published the first SNP-based genome-wide association study in 2007, a paper which was recently reported to be the most cited publication in the field of genetics.

Professor Worthington went on to establish national and international consortia to facilitate large scale genetics studies, culminating in the identification and characterisation of 101 genetic loci associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

Currently, her research is aimed at exploring how this increased knowledge of genetic susceptibility can be used to predict risk of RA and her group is also using a range of functional biology techniques to understand how disease associated variants affect gene function.

Professor Worthington was part of the team that was awarded the NIHR Manchester Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit in 2012 and she is currently Deputy Director of the BRU.

In 2013, she led a successful bid to establish the Arthritis Research UK Centre of Excellence in Genetics and Genomics in Manchester, an award that supports the research of colleagues on juvenile idiopathic arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, in addition to her work on RA.