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Join us to celebrate a special milestone for our new professors and hear about their inspiring career journeys. Doors for this event will open on 16:45 (BST), with the lectures to commence at 16:50. A drinks reception will be held at 18:00 immediately after the lecture.

Professor Matthew Brown

What causes axial spondyloarthritis and what can we do about it?


Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a prototypic MHC Class I disease associated with HLA-B27, which poses a high risk for common human diseases. However, only 5% of HLA-B27 carriers develop AS. Initially considered a monogenic condition with no understanding of how HLA-B27 contributed to the disease or effective treatments, significant progress has been made in recent years. Genetic studies and the application of genetics technology to immunology have unravelled the mystery of how HLA-B27 induces AS, leading to new therapies, and encouraged extensive research for additional treatment options. These advancements offer potential prevention and cure, providing valuable insights for other MHC Class I diseases and efficient genomics translation to therapies.


Matt Brown is a clinician-scientist who trained initially in medicine and rheumatology in Sydney before completing a Doctorate of Medicine based at the University of Oxford, focusing on genetics of ankylosing spondylitis. He was appointed Professor of Musculoskeletal Sciences at University of Oxford in 2004. In 2005 Matt returned to Australia, firstly to the University of Queensland, and then the Queensland University of Technology in 2016, where he was Professor and Director of Genomics. In 2013 he was elected to the Fellowship of the Australian Academy of Sciences for his achievements in genetics research. In 2019 he moved to King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals NHS Trust to direct their NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, and in 2021 became the Chief Scientific Officer of Genomics England.

He continues to work in genetics of human diseases, specifically common and rare bone/joint diseases as well as cancer genomics and personalized medicine. He also continues to practice rheumatology, with a particular focus on spondyloarthritis.

Professor Emma Duncan

The genetics revolution in endocrinology: translating basic research into meaningful clinical outcomes in bone diseases and beyond


When I began medicine, PCR had been recently developed, the first human disease gene had just been mapped, and genetics was seen as fairly fringe to mainstream medicine. Today, the genetics revolution has had an extraordinary impact on everyday clinical care. Musculoskeletal diseases are now a leading area for pharmacological development; nearly 800 monogenic skeletal dysplasias are now defined genetically and routinely screened; and over 500 loci determining bone mass have been identified and fracture risk can be genetically quantified.

Clinician-scientists are ideally placed to contribute bi-directionally between bench and bedside. In this talk I will discuss how it’s been possible as a practising endocrinologist and a wet- and dry-lab scientist to contribute to this frameshift in endocrine practice, in bone diseases and beyond – and how to translate generic skills to make a meaningful contribution during a pandemic.


Since her undergraduate days, Professor Emma Duncan has been fascinated by endocrinology in general and the skeleton in particular. Her research spans the genetics of multiple endocrine disorders from common variant to rare monogenic diseases, particularly bone disorders (osteoporosis and skeletal dysplasias) as well as neuroendocrine tumours and diabetes. Her broad practical experience in genetic technologies enabled her to play a pioneering role in translating these into clinical practice. Professor Duncan has also published many clinical research papers; and she is a thought-leader in bone diseases internationally.

During the pandemic, Professor Duncan contributed to COVID-19 research, particularly COVID-19 in children; and she is currently leading a GWAS in the post-COVID syndrome. As the pandemic subsides, she is enjoying returning to endocrine, genomic, and bone-focused research.

At this event

Matthew Brown

Professor of Medicine

Emma Duncan

Professor of clinical endocrinology

Event details

Lecture Theatre 1, New Hunt's House, Guy's Campus
Guy’s Campus
Great Maze Pond, London SE1 1UL