Dr Ai Lyn Tan

Dr Ai Lyn Tan


I am a University College Cork medical graduate; I have been in academic rheumatology in Leeds since 2001, and was awarded Young Investigator Awards from the British Society for Rheumatology and the Asia Pacific League of Associations for Rheumatology.

I was one of the first NIHR Clinical Lecturers after being awarded an MD degree with commendation for my work on ‘The use of MRI to investigate anatomical factors in inflammatory and degenerative arthritis and their mechanisms of damage’. This thesis used conventional and high-resolution MRI and histology to explore the hypothesis that joint-specific anatomical factors, especially the hand joint collateral ligaments, have a prominent role in the phenotypic expression of these common arthritides such as rheumatoid, psoriatic and osteoarthritis.

I then held the NIHR Clinician Scientist Award to study High-resolution MRI on the role of ligaments in symptom and anatomic expression, and diagnosis of hand osteoarthritis.

My main research interests include applying high-resolution imaging techniques: MRI, ultrasound and positron emission tomography (supported by the British Medical Association Doris Hillier Award) to understand the pathogenesis of muscle conditions, osteoarthritis and early inflammatory arthritis including rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis,. I have published widely in peer-reviewed journals and given invited plenary lectures in these areas, and supervised several research projects including clinical trials as principal investigator.

As an Honorary Consultant Rheumatologist at Chapel Allerton Hospital, I am experienced in musculoskeletal ultrasonography, I contribute a major role to the department’s Rheumatoid Arthritis DiseAse Research (RADAR) programme for early imflammatory arthritis patients by managing the programme and offering patients regular ultrasound diagnosis and monitoring of disease

I am the Director of Research and Innovation at the Leeds Teaching Hospitlas NHS Trust, and the Editor-in-Chief for Rheumatology Advances in Practice, an official journal of the British Society for Rheumatology. I am the Co-Lead for the Movement and Physical Activity Network at the University of Leeds, and collaborate with Leeds Beckett University on physical activity research. I am also on the steering committee of the Leeds Female Leaders Network.

I am an active member of the medical community on  twitter, where I share medical and scientific knowledge, and promote physical activity for health, and have lectured about my experience globally.


  • Co-Lead for Leeds Movement and Physical Activity Interdisciplinary Research Network

Research interests

Current research:

  • MRI and ultrasound of muscles in various conditions
  • Impact of health conditions on physical activity
  • Effects of physical activity on health.


  • MB BCh BAO (Ireland)
  • BMedSc (Ireland)
  • MRCP (Edinburgh, UK)
  • MD (Leeds, UK)
  • PG Cert Clin Ed (Leeds, UK)

Professional memberships

  • The Higher Education Academy (fellow)

Student education

I supervise PhD projects in imaging in arthritis and muscle. I teach and assess first and final year medical students. I am co-lead for postgraduate research studies for LIRMM.

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Medicine
  • Diagnostics and pathology
  • 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>