Dr Sarah Mackie

Dr Sarah Mackie


I am a rheumatologist with an interest in two related diseases, giant cell arteritis (GCA) and polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) which both affect older people. In GCA, the arterial wall becomes inflamed; if untreated this can block blood flow, causing permanent blindness or stroke. PMR causes widespread inflammation of the soft tissues around shoulders and hips; if untreated, this causes severe pain and stiffness, causing difficulty in carrying out everyday activities such as washing, dressing or even turning over in bed.

The mainstay of treatment for both conditions has traditionally been long-term, oral glucocorticoid (“steroid”) therapy, which has a dramatic benefit in the short term, but this comes at the cost of a risk of steroid side-effects, many of which accumulate with the duration of steroid therapy: for example high blood sugars (diabetes) or bone thinning leading to fracture.

Research interests

My research is focused around two linked conditions: giant cell arteritis and polymyalgia rheumatica. I am also interested in the effects of the glucocorticoid therapy used to treat them. I am interested in how new scientific insights may be used to improve clinical care and clinical outcomes.


  • BA(Hons)
  • BM BCh
  • MRCP(UK)
  • PhD

Professional memberships

  • British Society for Rheumatology

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Medicine
  • Musculoskeletal disease
  • Targets and therapies
  • Immunity and inflammation
<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>
    <li><a href="//phd.leeds.ac.uk/project/246-licamm-cellular-conversations:-stress-hormone-metabolism-as-a-novel-anti-fibrotic-target-in-giant-cell-arteritis">LICAMM Cellular conversations: stress hormone metabolism as a novel anti-fibrotic target in Giant Cell Arteritis</a></li>