Dr Giuseppina Abignano

Dr Giuseppina Abignano


 I obtained my M.D. at the University of Naples (Italy) in 2006 where, in 2010, I completed the Specialist Training in Rheumatology.  From 2010 to 2013 I undertook a PhD in Immunology and for two years (2009-2011) I conducted my research within the Leeds Institute of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Medicine (LIRMM), University of Leeds, UK. From January 2013 to June 2015 I was appointed as Clinical Research Fellow at the LIRMM. During the following 2 years (June 2015 – March 2017) I was appointed as Post-CCT Fellow in Rheumatology at the Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust and, in May 2016, I was awarded the "Honorary Lecturer" title in the School of Medicine, LIRMM, within the Faculty of Medicine and Health of the University of Leeds. In April 2017 I was appointed as Clinical Researcher and Honorary Consultant in Rheumatology at the Rheumatology Institute of Lucania (IReL), Potenza, Italy. Since then, I have been Visiting Research Fellow at the LIRMM, University of Leeds, maintaining international research collaborations with the scleroderma and psoriatic arthritis teams.

During the Doctorate of Research and the Research fellowships at the University of Leeds, I acquired clinical skills and experience of working and managing research in an international academic research setting. My clinical and research activities have been focused on Connective Tissue Diseases with a major interest in Systemic Sclerosis and on Psoriatic Arthritis. My research led to the identification of a novel imaging biomarker, the Optical Coherence Tomography, in Systemic Sclerosis and Psoriatic Disease. Additionally I studied the putative application of a composite serum test in Systemic Sclerosis.

I participated in the Teaching Programme of the Medical Undergraduates of the University of Leeds, of Core Medical Training and of Yorkshire Educational Programme. I am Peer-Reviewer of several high impact factor journals in Rheumatology and Dermatology. I have been author/co-author of studies published on international peer-reviewed journals and of several abstracts, presented as oral communications or posters, at the most important congresses of Rheumatology. I received several national and international awards and research funding.


2018: "One of the best and most original works" Award, 5th Systemic Sclerosis World Congress, Bordeaux 15-17 February 2018;

2014: "Young Investigator Grant, FIRA Onlus" (Italian Foundation for Arthritis Research) Award;

2012: "Innovation in Rheumatology Award" British Society for Rheumatology (BSR) Annual Meeting, Glagow 1-3 May 2012;

2012: "One of the best and most original works" Award, 2nd Systemic Sclerosis World Congress, Madrid 2-4 February 2012;

2010: "Young Investigator Award", Italian Society of Rheumatology XLVII Annual Meeting 24- 27 november 2010;

2010: "Best poster award", Italian Society of Rheumatology XLVII Annual Meeting 24-27 november 2010.


Research interests

My current primary interests are characterization and validation of biomarkers for early diagnosis and assessment of disease activity, severity and prognosis of rheumatic diseases with a major interest in Systemic Sclerosis and Psoriatic Disease.

Main interests

Skin imaging

Validation of new imaging techniques

Serum biomarkers

Validation of new serum biomarkers



  • PhD, Clinical Immunology
  • CCT, Rheumatology
  • MD

Professional memberships

  • UK General Medical Council
  • Italian Medical Council
  • EUSTAR Young Investigators Group
  • Italian Society of Rheumatology

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Medicine