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Meet the team

The team at NRCTC combines clinical, diagnostic and research expertise in the complement-mediated renal diseases, aHUS and C3G. They are supported by our management team as part of renal services based at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Clinical Team

Dr Sally Johnson

NRCTC Consultant Show More


Dr Johnson is the Lead Clinician for Paediatric aHUS.  She leads translational research into complement-mediated renal disease.  She is Chief Investigator of a randomised controlled trial of Eculizumab in STEC- HUS (ECUSTEC) which is funded by NIHR Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation which began recruiting in 2017. She was Chief Investigator of The National Study of Membrano-proliferative glomerulonephritis and C3 Glomerulopathy, a multi-centre study furthering phenotype/genotype correlation in these conditions, combining expert pathology review with whole genome sequencing with deep phenotyping, funded by the NIHR Rare Disease Research Collaboration.  She is head of department in the paediatric nephrology service at the Great North Children’s Hospital, which provides tertiary renal services to children in the North East and North Cumbria




Prof David Kavanagh

NRCTC Consultant Show More

David Kavanagh is the Professor of Complement Therapeutics at the NRCTC. He is the clinical lead for the adult aHUS service and head of aHUS diagnostics service. His University research group investigates the role of complement in renal and retinal diseases and is fully integrated with the NRCTC to provide rapid translational benefits to patients.

He moved to Newcastle to start his own lab in 2008 with a Wellcome Trust Fellowship following a Kidney Research UK Fellowship at the University of Edinburgh. He was previously a Fellow at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis. He graduated in Medicine and Immunology from the University of Glasgow in 1998 and obtained his PhD from Newcastle University in 2006. For his work defining the role of complement in aHUS, he was awarded the Renal Association’s Young Investigator (Raine) award.

Additionally he runs a glomerulonephritis and vasculitis clinic at Freeman hospital. He is chairman of the aHUS rare disease working group, an executive committee member of Complement UK and an associate member of the Faculty of 1000.

Prof Neil Sheerin

NRCTC Consultant Show More

Neil Sheerin is the Professor of Nephrology at Newcastle University and a Consultant Nephrologist at the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne. Professor Neil Sheerin is the Lead Clinician for transplant for the NRCTC service. He moved to Newcastle in 2007 from Guy’s Hospital, London where he was a Senior Lecturer in Renal Medicine and before that a Wellcome Trust Intermediate Fellow. His laboratory research is focused on immune mediated renal disease, with a specific interest the role of the complement system in native and transplant kidney disease, and complement therapeutics. His clinical interests include complement mediated renal disease, kidney transplantation and the treatment of patients with progressive chronic kidney disease.

Dr Edwin Wong

NRCTC Consultant Show More

Dr. Wong was recently appointed as a consultant nephrologist at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust where his time is divided between the National Renal Complement Therapeutics Centre and Renal Services. His main clinical role is providing expert advice for the diagnosis and management of atypical haemolytic uraemic syndrome (aHUS) and C3 glomerulopathy (C3G) nationally. This includes implementing the NHS England Highly Specialised Services policies on the use of eculizumab in the treatment of these conditions.

He undertook his speciality training in renal medicine in the North East (2008-2017), during which he completed an extensive period of research in complement-mediated renal diseases as a MRC Clinical Research Training Fellow (2013-2016) and NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer (2016-2017). In his research period, he studied complement abnormalities in aHUS, C3G and membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (MPGN), through laboratory and clinical research methods. He has published his work in top-ranking nephrology journals (J Am Soc Nephol / Kidney Int) and he has presented his work in national and international meetings. He was awarded his PhD in 2016 and the prestigious Renal Association (Young Investigator) Raine Award in 2017.

Leadership Roles: Clinical lead for C3G within the National Renal Complement Therapeutic Centre / Member of the MPGN/C3G Rare Disease Group.

Dr. Michal Malina

NRCTC Consultant Show More

Michal Malina was recently appointed as a consultant for paediatric nephrology at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust where his time is divided between the National Renal Complement Therapeutics Centre and Paediatric Services.

He graduated in Medicine from the Charles University in Prague in 2007 and continued his postgraduate training for PhD that he was awarded in 2012.  He was previously a consultant for nephrology in University Hospital Motol, where he also underwent his general paediatric training. He continued the training for a paediatric nephrology speciality in Prague and in the Center for Child and Adolescent Medicine in Heidelberg, Germany.


His PhD was strongly focused on rare kidney disorders of childhood, particularly nephrotic syndrome and aHUS. During his PhD he introduced several genetic and complement diagnostic methods, that substantially helped with a better care for children with aHUS in Czechia. He spent research time with a complement group in Paris working on a project of identifying functional relevance of C3 mutations. He was a PI and Czech national coordinator for an international aHUS registry study. Furthermore, he initiated and managed development of a new research lab funded by EU structural funds aiming on rare diseases of childhood. In 2014 he received a highest Czech award in paediatric research for young investigators.  

Nursing Team

Lisa Batchelor

Specialist Nurse Show More

Lisa qualified as a nurse in 2006 and her first post was on the outpatient haemodialysis unit in Newcastle where she spent the next four years. In 2010 Lisa moved to the renal inpatient ward where she worked for the next 11 years progressing to Ward Sister. Since qualifying Lisa has dedicated all her professional working life to looking after patients with renal conditions. In 2019 with all her knowledge and experience Lisa was appointed to the role of Specialist Nurse for the National aHUS Service. When Lisa is not at work she is looking after her five year old son and when time permits enjoys reading and cycling.

Angela Watt

Specialist Nurse Show More

I qualified as a nurse in 1991 at the then Newcastle-upon-Tyne School of Nursing and began my career in the Shetland Islands working in general surgery, theatre and A&E. In 2000 I began working in renal dialysis and continued to do this until 2016, most recently as a Sister on the dialysis unit at the Freeman Hospital. During that time I cared for a number of patients with aHUS and this led to my interest in this disease. I was initially seconded to the Specialist Nurse post working with the National Expert Centre for aHUS in England in October 2014 and was appointed to the permanent post in November 2016.

Joanne Stout

Specialist Nursing Adviser Show More

Joanne has been a qualified nurse for over 30 years; commencing her career in London working in chest medicine, prior to qualifying as a registered sick children’s nurse in 1988. Joanne has worked as a Senior Sister in Paediatrics across the UK and Middle East. Her last post as a Senior Sister was on the children’s renal ward at the Great North Children’s Hospital. During her career Joanne has also worked as a nurse educator and in quality, developing interests in leadership, service development and patient safety. Joanne completed her Master’s degree in Clinical Research (Leadership) with her dissertation focusing on nurse staffing and patient safety.


Joanne is currently working as Senior Nurse within the corporate nursing team in Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust as the lead for Nursing and Midwifery staffing and as a Senior Nurse for Safe staffing within the Nursing Directorate at NHSE/I. Joanne continues to have a keen interest in aHUS/HUS.



Diagnostic Team

Dr David Bourn

Head of Molecular Genetics Laboratory Show More

Dr Suzanne Elcombe

Consultant Clinical Immunologist Show More

Peter Strong

Advanced Biomedical Scientist Show More

Ashleigh Rainey

Clinical Scientist Show More

Paul Murphy

Health Care Scientist Show More

Paul started his career in the NHS at Preston Hospital North Shields working in Haematology and Transfusion in 1981 and developed a keen interest in blood coagulation.

He moved to the RVI in 1987 to further his interest in Haemostasis as this was the location of the regional Haemophilia centre

Paul obtained Fellowship of the Institute of Biomedical science in Haematology by examination in 1987.

Paul also obtained a Certificate in Management studies with the RVI in 1998

He is registered with the Health Professions Council and a member of the Institute of Biomedical Science

Paul has maintained a keen interest in Haemostasis testing throughout his career and spoken at many meetings and conferences on the subject.

Paul was a member of the steering committee of the Central Quality Assurance Scheme (CQAS), which was a national Quality Assurance programme in Haematology and Haemostasis, from 2004 until its closure in 2013


Paul was appointed Health care scientist in Haematology and Haemostasis in January 2014, with a brief to ensure Haemostasis testing in the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals was at the forefront of current practice in this rapidly evolving area.

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Valerie Wilson

Clinical Scientist Show More

Catherine Roberts

Clinical Scientist (Genetics) Show More

Catherine James

Genetic Technologist Show More

Andrew Panter-Brick

Genetic Technologist Show More

Research Team

Prof Claire Harris

Professor of Immunology Show More

Claire is investigating the mechanisms by which complement drives inflammatory disease, whether it be directly or as an amplifier of other triggers.  Recent work includes functional characterization of complement protein variants/mutants associated with diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), atypical haemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS) and C3 glomerulopathy (C3G). This work has led to the concept of the ‘complotype’ -the influence of complement genetic makeup on inflammation & infection (see ‘The complotype: dictating risk for inflammation and infection’.

Trends in Immunology (2012), 33: 513).  Her current research is focussed on therapeutic approaches for modulation or inhibition of the complement cascade, particularly on strategies to target or ‘home’ therapy specifically to disease sites (see ‘An anti-complement agent that homes to the damaged brain and promotes recovery after traumatic brain injury in mice’. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A (2015), 112:14319).  She has a long-standing interest in complement biomarkers of disease (diagnostics, prognostics), including measurement of complement proteins and activation products, and detection and functional analysis of nephritic factors (autoantibodies which bind complement enzymes).  These combined research foci provide insight into disease mechanisms which will be critical for design of effective anti-complement therapies and stratification of patients.  A period of time spent as Head of Complement at GlaxoSmithKline in the ImmunoInflammation Therapy Area (2013-2016) provided invaluable insight into the process of target and indication validation and drug discovery; she joined Newcastle University in 2016 to further her work in translational research and experimental medicine. Her group is a key component of the Renal Complement Therapeutics Centre based at RVI (aHUS National Service) and other national/international Rare Disease Working Groups.

Dr Kevin Marchbank

Head of autoimmune aHUS research & analysis Show More

Kevin is an immunologist of 25 years’ experience with a particular speciality in complement system comparative modelling and failed tolerance. He has recently focussed this experience to research into autoantibodies that associated with both aHUS and C3G. He have published over 12 manuscripts in this area and the research guides patient care.

His efforts to standardise the anti-Factor H autoantibody assay and his contribution to the recognition that this test should be part of the standard clinical evaluation of aHUS and C3G patients is a significant recent achievement of his group. Further, impactful contributions in the area are: that complement protein autoantibodies associate with aHUS and C3G but not AMD or IgAN; that deletion of FHR1 is key to the presence of FH autoantibodies in aHUS (Moore et al, 2010); that successful transplantation is possible in FH autoantibody-positive patients; that FI autoantibodies can associate with aHUS (but not DAF, MCP, CR1 & CD59 autoantibodies) and that MPGN (C3G) patients have FH autoantibodies at a similar or greater frequency to those with aHUS. His team is therefore a key component of the National Renal Complement Therapeutics Centre based at RVI (aHUS National Service) and part of several national/international Rare Disease Working Groups.

Following this research Kevin has also looked to new ways to treat complement mediated diseases and has generated novel complement therapeutics based on Factor H. Indeed, he was the first to analyse ‘mini-FH’ in vivo, (Nichols et al, KI 2015) leading to further research funding and a recent patent on the next generation technology funded by Kidney Research UK.


Last but not least, he has also recently developed a new comparative model of aHUS based on a C3 gain-of-function change (manuscript in progress). He believes this model will provide an un-paralleled test bed to test future and existing anti-complement therapeutic destined for the clinical use as well as provide a unique model to understand the reasons why failed tolerance readily associates with kidney disease.

Dr Isabel Pappworth

Research Associate Show More

Isabel has a PhD on Influenza virus induced apoptosis from The University of Birmingham and has also worked on EBV.  She has worked for Kevin Marchbank for 11 years on various complement related projects, most lately on a C3 gain of function model and its effect in aHUS.  This project has recently been funded by KRUK.

Dr. Vicky Brocklebank

MRC/KRUK Clinical Training Fellow Show More

Dr Emily Glover

Academic Clinic Fellow Show More

Dr Patrick Walsh

Wellcome Clinical Training Fellow Show More

Ruyue Sun

Research Associate Show More

Dr Long Xie

Research Technician Show More

A former clinician from China with speciality in Diabetes diagnosis and treatment, Dr Long Xie completed his PhD training in the investigation of insulin signalling transduction in human skeletal muscle cells in Newcastle University, the United Kingdom. Immediately after being awarded the degree of PhD, he was appointed a position as research technician by the Human Nutrition Research Centre of Newcastle University in September 2008. Since then, he had been participated in six UK research council funded projects to play an activate role in conducting experimental works to address research questions in the fields of genetics and epigenetics. He possesses knowledge, experience and expertise in cell and molecular biology techniques and tissue handling, especially in designing, optimising and developing assays to investigate biomarkers underlying risk factors associated with diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and obesity. He has therefore been accumulating experience of human intervention studies, as well as working with animal and cell culture models. With his very recent appointment to be Prof Claire Harris’s research technician, Long is very excited to further develop his skill sets to explore the mechanisms by which complement protein variants are functionally associated with inflammatory disease.  

Tom Cox

PhD Student Show More

Thomas Cox graduated with a First Class BSc Joint Honours in Biology and Chemistry from Newcastle University in 2014, and subsequently obtained a Master’s degree with Distinction in Medical Sciences in 2015. During his MSc his research identified the first deletion of the complement factor I gene in two individuals with low serum factor I levels, identifying an AMD patient subgroup likely to benefit from either complement inhibition or factor I supplementation. He then undertook a research position with the Complement Therapeutics group at Newcastle University in 2016, purifying factor I from serum for a startup pharmaceutical company with the aim of generating supplementary complement proteins as a therapy for AMD. Thomas is currently undertaking a PhD funded by the Medical Research Council as part of the Discovery Medicine North DTP under the supervision of Prof. David Kavanagh and Dr Kevin Marchbank. The project aims to assess the functional consequences of rare genetic variants of complement factor I in individuals with AMD that are not associated with low factor I levels, and in doing so identify those who would benefit from anti-complement therapy, paving the way for personalised management of AMD.

Weiju Wu

Research Assistant Show More

I obtained a Bachelor degree in Clinical Medicine and a Masters degree in Ophthalmology in China. In 2012, I received my PhD degree in Biology at Durham University, UK. I was employed as a research associate by Durham University between 2012 and 2014 and studied lens regeneration in rodents. In Nov 2014, I moved to King’s College London and worked as a research associate in the lab of Prof. Wuding Zhou and Steven Sacks, where I studied the roles of complement particularly C5a and collectin 11 in immune regulation and disease. In July 2018, I joined Claire Harris’ group and worked on the roles of Factor H related proteins in AMD.

Harriet Denton

Research Assistant Show More

Harriet has a degree in Biological Sciences with honours in Microbiology and Infection from the University of Edinburgh. She has worked as a Research technician in Microbiology at the University of Manchester involved with several projects including on copper homeostasis in Salmonella enterica sv. Typhimurium. Following this, she was employed for seven years as a research scientist for Public Health England working on developing antibody based therapeutics and diagnostics tools to Clostridium difficile. She has been a laboratory technician at Newcastle University in the Complement research group since 2015. 

Nathan Simpson

Research Assistant Show More

Management Team

Nicola Forster

Service Manager Show More

Nicola is the National aHUS Service Manager.  She started her career in the NHS in 1991 working in various administrative roles before settling in 1996 for a successful 19 years in the Renal Service.  During this period of time apart from raising her family she also continued with further education working towards future management with a focus on leadership development and NHS Service Improvement.    In 2015 Nicola supported the Senior Management Team in Urology & Renal Services, before moving to the role of Directorate Administration Manager for the Northern Centre for Cancer Care & Clinical Haematology.   In 2019 with her extensive knowledge of Renal Services and NHS Management Nicola was appointed to oversee the C3G and aHUS National Services at the NRCTC.



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Jalibani Ndebele

Specialist Adviser Show More

Jalibani is the Specialist Adviser to the National Renal Complement Therapeutics Centre. His working career started as a Geologist in Zimbabwe. He then moved into health with his second degree in Public health from there he has managed different NHS and Health organisations projects for more than 10 years and now offers experience of working in Commissioning, Service development, Education and Public Health.

Jalibani is a qualified football coach and spends a lot of his spare time coaching junior football teams in Northumberland. He also likes spending time with his family watching TV, listening to music or organising weddings and parties for friends and family.

Helen Nicholl

Senior Medical Secretary Show More

Helen Nicholl is the Senior Medical Secretary within the service. She started working within the NHS in 2010 for the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Trust as a Clerical Officer within the Homecare Department and from there moved on to become a Medical Secretary within the Neurosurgery Department. Helen left the Trust in 2014 and took a secretarial position in the community with NTW Mental Health Trust in Gateshead before moving back to the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Trust in 2016 for her current role.