Dr Jim Robinson

Dr Jim Robinson

Profile

I was initially trained in environmental biology, but after a Biotechnology MSc and a job researching parasitic fungi in native amphibians, I became interested in the role of genetics in immunity. I first came to Leeds in 2000 as a research assistant in John Isaacs’ rheumatology group in the Molecular Medicine Unit, based at St James’s Hospital. The group were investigating the roles of antibody receptors (Fc receptors) in the pathogenesis of autoimmunity and clinical responses to new antibody-based biologic therapies. It soon became clear that the genes encoding the human Fc gamma receptors were complex, with genomic structural variation-mediated copy number variation, as well as functional simple nucleotide polymorphisms.

The mapping of the human genome revealed gaps where structural variation was operating. One of these structurally variable regions encoded the IgG-antibody receptors (Fc gamma receptors). During my PhD with Ann Morgan I explored new ways to genotype polymorphisms in structurally variable regions and I mapped autoimmune-associated variation in the FCGR genes.

My postdoctoral work has focussed on therapeutic modulation of the FcγRs to break the cycle of unchecked inflammation that characterises autoantibody mediated conditions.

Research interests

My main interest is the role of Fc gamma receptors in autoimmunity. These antibody receptors form an important link in the chain of autoimmune disease pathogenesis through their interactions with IgG autoantibodies and their involvement in unchecked immune-complex induced inflammation. From genetic association through to therapeutic modulation my research focusses on Fc gamma receptors using genetics, structural biology, biophysics and novel inhibitors. Human Fc gamma receptors are genetically complex, highly homologous and functionally diverse, yet we have much to learn of their interactions with each other and their ligands in a cellular context.

My research aims to discover novel ways to modulate activatory/inhibitory signalling balance through FcγRs to treat autoimmunity. Please see my Lab Page for further details.

Qualifications

  • PhD Immunogenetics, 2011, University of Leeds
  • MSc Biotechnology, 1997, University of Kent at Canterbury
  • BSc Environmental Biology, 1996, University of Essex

Student education

I am involved in teaching research skills to undergraduates in the Scool of Medicine through various modules.

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine
  • Discovery and Translational Science
  • Genetics and genomics
  • Musculoskeletal disease
  • Immunity and inflammation
  • Targets and therapies
<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://medicinehealth.leeds.ac.uk/research-opportunities">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>