Meet the Scientist - Professor Rizgar Mageed

Date: Tue 12th March 2019

Here at Scleroderma and Raynaud's UK, we invest in research to save lives. The more research we can conduct into both scleroderma and Raynaud's, the closer we get to having better treatments and eventually a cure. Thanks to your support, SRUK is able to work with a number of dedicated, inspiring scientists who all endeavour to further understanding of the two conditions. We do this to improve the quality of people's lives, and ultimately to save lives. Each research scientist has experienced varying journeys to accomplish their many impressive achievements. Here is a little insight into the lives of some of the researchers we fund, what keeps them in the laboratory and the future of research.

Professor Rizgar Mageed:

Rizgar graduated from Baghdad University, and went on to complete a PhD at the Royal London Hospital Medical School in 1985. He is now a Professor of Experimental Immunology at the Centre for Experimental Medicine and Rheumatology at Queen Mary University of London, as well as a fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists and of the Royal College of Physicians. In 2017, Rizgar and his team were awarded a grant by SRUK to research how abnormal immune cells are involved in patients with systemic sclerosis, which could potentially lead to the development of new, novel treatments by selectively targeting these.

1. What inspired your interest in scleroderma and Raynaud's?

Systemic sclerosis is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks self; a process akin to friendly fire. My first interest in the disease has a human side to it, from the experience I had of the suffering of a family friend. Having always had a keen interest in autoimmunity, I was always fascinated in understanding the causes behind it. I was enthused by colleagues at the Royal Free Hospital to join forces to explore causes of systemic sclerosis in the hope of developing new treatment strategies for patients.

2. What key areas do you think are going to be really exciting for research over the next 5 years?

Key areas that will be really exciting will be in combining new genomics, proteomics and metabolomics technologies to profile immune cells, interaction dynamics between these cells and with the environment for developing personalised medicines. These new approaches will help develop clearer understanding of what initiates diseases, predicting times of flare-ups and which organs are likely to be involved. This new understanding will help develop therapeutic approaches targeting different components of the immune system in different patients and at different stages of the disease process.

3. You get to throw a dream, once in a lifetime, dinner party – who would you invite (Can be anyone from history or present)?

The one person that I would invite will be Nelson Mandela. For me, he represents all that is good in humanity.

4. Finally, what is your one desert island disc?

My one desert island disc will be for Luciano Pavarotti. I can never tire listening to his angelic voice.

Glossary:

- Genomics: the biology regarding the structure, function and expression of sets of genes or genetic material.

- Proteomics: the analysis of the structure, function and interactions of proteins expressed by the genetic material of an organism.

- Metabolomics: the study of small molecules, such as sugars and amino acids, that are involved in or products of metabolic reactions.

If you are interested in helping SRUK to fund scientific research, then please visit our donations page here. We rely on the generosity of our community to continue to support groundbreaking research in both scleroderma and Raynaud's.

If you would like information on other treatments for Raynaud's and scleroderma, please visit: Find Support

Information on another piece of new research can be found here: Importance of behaviour change interventions in management of Raynaud's