What we do

This is an interdisciplinary group working on diseases with affect the skin and the musceloskeletal compartment. Among those diseases we focus on collagenoses (close collaboration with the Autoimmune Connective Tissue Diseases group), in particular lupus erythematosus and the psoriatic disease continuum. Our work integrates 'basic science' and clinical projects.

The main questions we seek to answer are the following:

Psoriatic Disease

  • Identification of triggers and mechanisms involved in onset of the disease.
  • Non invasive diagnostic to allow stratification regarding [1] disease subgroups [2] response to therapy [3] early diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis involvement.
  • Improved diagnostic approach for difficult to diagnose psoriasis, in particular in the palmoplantar location.
  • Role of tissue responses in skin and joint inflammation with special focus on IL-36 family, IL-23 – IL-17 axis.

Lupus erythematosus (LE)

  • Research into the pathomechanism of scarring outcome in cutaneous LE.
  • Non invasive approach for diagnostic and disease activity.
  • Early diagnosis of patients at risk of developing LE, prediction of disesease progression


Key publications

Key publications our team has contributed to

  1. Prediction of autoimmune connective tissue disease in an at-risk cohort: prognostic value of a novel two-score system for interferon status.
    Md Yusof MY, Psarras A, El-Sherbiny YM, Hensor EMA, Dutton K, Ul-Hassan S, Zayat AS, Shalbaf M, Alase A, Wittmann M, Emery P, Vital EM.
    Ann Rheum Dis. 2018 Oct;77(10):1432-1439. doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2018-213386. Epub 2018 Jun 21
  2. Detection of IL-36γ through noninvasive tape stripping reliably discriminates psoriasis from atopic eczema.
    Berekméri A, Latzko A, Alase A, Macleod T, Ainscough JS, Laws P, Goodfield M, Wright A, Helliwell P, Edward S, Brown GD, Reid DM, Wenzel J, Stacey M, Wittmann M.
    J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2018 Sep;142(3):988-991.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2018.04.031. Epub 2018 May 18. No abstract available.
  3. A novel two-score system for interferon status segregates autoimmune diseases and correlates with clinical features.
    El-Sherbiny YM, Psarras A, Md Yusof MY, Hensor EMA, Tooze R, Doody G, Mohamed AAA, McGonagle D, Wittmann M, Emery P, Vital EM.
    Sci Rep. 2018 Apr 11;8(1):5793. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-24198-1. Erratum in: Sci Rep. 2018 Oct 1;8(1):14846.
  4. IL-36γ Is a Strong Inducer of IL-23 in Psoriatic Cells and Activates Angiogenesis.
    Bridgewood C, Fearnley GW, Berekmeri A, Laws P, Macleod T, Ponnambalam S, Stacey M, Graham A, Wittmann M.
    Front Immunol. 2018 Feb 26;9:200. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.00200. eCollection 2018.
  5. Cathepsin S is the major activator of the psoriasis-associated proinflammatory cytokine IL-36γ.
    Ainscough JS, Macleod T, McGonagle D, Brakefield R, Baron JM, Alase A, Wittmann M, Stacey M.
    Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2017 Mar 28;114(13):E2748-E2757. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1620954114. Epub 2017 Mar 13.
  6. IL-36γ has proinflammatory effects on human endothelial cells.
    Bridgewood C, Stacey M, Alase A, Lagos D, Graham A, Wittmann M.
    Exp Dermatol. 2017 May;26(5):402-408. doi: 10.1111/exd.13228. Epub 2017 Mar 2.
  7. Neutrophil Elastase-mediated proteolysis activates the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-36 Receptor antagonist.
    Macleod T, Doble R, McGonagle D, Wasson CW, Alase A, Stacey M, Wittmann M.
    Sci Rep. 2016 Apr 22;6:24880. doi: 10.1038/srep24880.
  8. IFNλ Stimulates MxA Production in Human Dermal Fibroblasts via a MAPK-Dependent STAT1-Independent Mechanism.
    Alase AA, El-Sherbiny YM, Vital EM, Tobin DJ, Turner NA, Wittmann M.
    J Invest Dermatol. 2015 Dec;135(12):2935-2943. doi: 10.1038/jid.2015.317. Epub 2015 Aug 19.
  9. Ustekinumab in the Treatment of Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis.
    Savage LJ, Wittmann M, McGonagle D, Helliwell PS.
    Rheumatol Ther. 2015 Jun;2(1):1-16. Epub 2015 Mar 17. Review.
  10. Brief report: responses to rituximab suggest B cell-independent inflammation in cutaneous systemic lupus erythematosus.
    Vital EM, Wittmann M, Edward S, Md Yusof MY, MacIver H, Pease CT, Goodfield M, Emery P.
    Arthritis Rheumatol. 2015 Jun;67(6):1586-91. doi: 10.1002/art.39085.
  11. IL-36γ (IL-1F9) is a biomarker for psoriasis skin lesions.
    D'Erme AM, Wilsmann-Theis D, Wagenpfeil J, Hölzel M, Ferring-Schmitt S, Sternberg S, Wittmann M, Peters B, Bosio A, Bieber T, Wenzel J.
    J Invest Dermatol. 2015 Apr;135(4):1025-1032. doi: 10.1038/jid.2014.532. Epub 2014 Dec 19.


Who we are


Dr Miriam Wittmann

View our team members