Dr Richard Wakefield


I qualified from the University of Southampton in 1991. I joined the department in 1997 as a research fellow with the aim of exploring the value of ultrasound in the investigation of patients with inflammatory musculoskeletal conditions. After becoming a lecturer and later senior lecturer, I gained my MD from the University of Leeds in 2006. My work has contributed to the development of international standards for acquiring and scoring images for the evaluation of joint diseases. Alongside other imaging techniques such as MRI, my work has contributed to our departmental work exploring methods for the early diagnosis and accurate monitoring of inflammation and joint damage across a range of diseases. 

We were one of the first clincial groups to highlight the presence and importance of subclincial imaging inflammation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and to show that patients previously considered to be in clinical remission were not in fact in imaging remission. Acknowledegment of these concepts have led to the increasing use of ultrasound in rheumatology clinics and the need to train health care profesionals.  Collaborations with the British Society of Rheumatology (BSR), European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) and Outcome Measures in Rheumatology (OMERACT) serve as platforms for a number of research and educational projects. I am the ultrasound research lead for the Leeds Biomedical Research Centre (LBRC) and as such support and develop the use of ultrasound and other imaging techniques for clinical trials. I have published over 160 imaging related papers, contribued to several book chapters and have co-edited the first ultrasound textbook endorsed by EULAR.

In recent years I have taken on an increasing educational role within my institute and hospital with respect to leadership and delivery of teaching.  I lead the 5th year musculoskeletal teaching for the School of Medicine and a new medcial undergdaute training programme in ultrasound.


  • Co-lead for Student Education in LIRMM
  • Lead for Undergraduate Ultrasound Programme (SoM)

Research interests

My research interests are two-fold.  First, I continue to explore the role of ultrasound in the investigations of inflammatory musculoskeletal disorders. We have state of the art imaging facilities on site in the LBRC including ultrasound (and elastography), MRI, arthroscopy and optical coherence tomography (OCT).  My recent work is exploring the role of ultrasound based shear wave elastography (SWE) in muscle disease alongside other ongoing work evaluating patients wirth rheumatoid arthrtiis, spondyloarthropathies, crystal diseases and vasculitis. Second, I am exploring the educatonal role of ultrasound in undergradaute edcuation. We published our 5 year ultrasound curriculum for undergraduate medical students in 2018.


  • BM (Southampton)
  • MD (Leeds)
  • PGCE (Huddersfield)

Professional memberships

  • FRCP
  • BSR
  • International Skeletal Society

Student education

I am the co-lead for student education for LIRMM, lead for the 5th year undergraduate musculoskeletal programme in Leeds and undergraduate lead for the Chapel Allerton Hospitals CSU (Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust). I chair a Leeds Institute of Medical Education (LIME) based working group which led to the introduction of ultrasound into our undegraduate medical curriculum in 2016, making Leeds the first UK medical school to develop an integrated 5 year ultrasound curriculum. I have directed several local, national and international postgraduate ultrasound training courses and our unit is now considered to be an international centre of excellence for ultrasound training. I contribue to imaging teaching across institutes.  I organise a number of ultrasound training courses and support student and public events including those related to widening participation.

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Medicine
  • Diagnostics and pathology
  • Educating doctors to provide safer care
  • Musculoskeletal disease
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>