After completing Medicine at University of Melbourne i was a PhD student with Sir Gus Nossal at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, studying immunology, in particular immune regulation, cell interactions and intercellular mediators especially in vitro. Post-doc was with Avrion Mitchison in UK where I have stayed. Post-doctoral work gradually changed from mouse to human immunology, and the focus became mechanisms of auto-immunity. In 1983 I published a hypothesis linking excess antigen presentation to auto-immunity, and tracing the cause of upregulated antigen presentation, cytokines led me to analyse cytokine dysregulation in rheumatoid arthritis in collaboration with Sir Ravinder Maini. This uncovered TNF as a key driver of disease first in human disease tissue cultures, mice and then in clinical trials led by Maini. The results were spectacular and have led to antiTNF antibody being standard of care not just in rheumatoid arthritis but many other diseases, and to become the world’s best selling drug class. We found that best effect of anti-TNF was in combination with methotrexate, now also standard of care. I succeeded Ravinder Maini as Director of Kennedy Institiute, and after a disagreement on strategy led the Kennedy Institute to move from London to Oxford.

Research Interests

Current research follows on from my success, in 'translational' research, taking research from laboratory into clinical development. While we were successful in one such project, antiTNF, many that I worked on were never tested in patients. That is my focus, and there are 5 different projects being pursued with friends and colleagues, which have been the basis of founding a series of small biotech companies With Prof Raphi Mechoulam ( Jerusalem ), pioneer chemist of cannabis a company was set up to develop the analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of synthetic non-psychoactive CBD analogues. With Prof Jagdeep Nanchahal novel uses of antiTNF are being tested, in fibrosis of hand, shoulder and post-operative cognitive decline. With Dr Laura Dugan (Vanderbilt ) new approaches to treat neurodegenerative diseases with catalytic anti-oxidants are being evaluated. With Lasker awardee Dr Michael Shepard second generation TNF inhibitors are being developed, which target pro-inflammatory TNF receptor 1 or anti-inflammatory TNFreceptor 2 specifically. And with Prof Jagdeep Nanchahal derivatives of HMGB1 are being evaluated to promote endogenous repair of many tissues. But in 2020, Covid hijacked our lives. I'm spending a lot of time geting antiTNF evaluated as a treatment for the hyperinflammation in severe Covid cases.

Membership Type

International Member

Election Year


Primary Section

Section 43: Immunology and Inflammation

Secondary Section

Section 41: Medical Genetics, Hematology, and Oncology