Professor Hugh Willison

  • Professor of Neurology (Immunology)
  • Professor of Neurology (School of Medicine)

telephone: 01413308384
email: Hugh.Willison@glasgow.ac.uk

Research interests

Professor Hugh Willison leads the Neuroimmunology Research Group within the Glasgow Biomedical Research Centre. The Neuroimmunology Group is concerned with dissecting out the pathogenesis of autoimmune neuropathies, using a wide variety of approaches, techniques and collaborations. Work in the lab in principally funded by The Wellcome Trust. The particular emphasis is on the role of anti-ganglioside antibodies in the post-infectious paralytic neuropathy termed Guillain Barré syndrome (GBS) and the GBS variant termed Miller Fisher syndrome (MFS). GBS has an incidence of 1-2:100,000 (500-1000 UK cases per year), very high health care costs, substantial morbidity, and a mortality of 5-10%. The overall aim of the Neuroimmunology Group is to solve the pathogenic cycle from origin to effects of anti-ganglioside antibodies and then design novel therapies and biomarkers. The projects running in the lab at present are as follows:

    • Identifying and characterising carbohydrate autoantigens using combinatorial glycoarrays
    • Understanding Campylobacter jejuni LPS structure and immunogenicity
    • Cloning & characterising anti-ganglioside autoantibodies
    • Modelling disease in a wide range of genetically modified mice
    • Developing therapeutic strategies from animal models
    • Clinical research on serotype/phenotype associations
    • Participation in clinical trials of neuropathy patients
    • Coordinating the UK arm of IGOS: International GBS Outcome Study, that aims to recruit and phenotype 1000 GBS cases worldwide over the next 3 years

Grants

Grants and Awards listed are those received whilst working with the University of Glasgow.

  • Clinical and biological determinants of disease course in Guillain-Barre syndrome: a prospective UK-wide clinical initiative.
    Guillain-Barre Support Group of the United Kingdom
    2013 - 2014
     
  • Defining the clinical relevance of demyelinating and axopathic autoantibodies in multiple sclerosis.
    Action Medical Research
    2013 - 2014
     
  • Development of a high throughput combinatorial microarray platform for identifying novel glycolipid targets in inflammatory neuropahties
    The Peripheral Nerve Society
    2013 - 2014
     
  • Monitoring distal nerve degeneration and regeneration in an active immunization mouse model of Guillain-Barre syndrome
    The Peripheral Nerve Society
    2011 - 2012
     
  • The structural and functional diversity of anti-glycolipid antibody repertoires and their nerve binding domains in human autoimmune neuropathy
    Wellcome Trust
    2011 - 2016
     
  • Neurofascin specific autoantibodies and the pathogenesis of MS
    Multiple Sclerosis Society
    2010 - 2013
     
  • Glycan Complexes as Novel Antigenic Targets in the Nervous System
    Wellcome Trust
    2008 - 2010
     
  • Glycosphingolipid antigen depletion as a novel strategy for treating autoimmune peripheral nerve diseases
    MRC
    2008 - 2011
     
  • Imaging brain metabolism in acute stroke patients
    Patrick Berthould Charitable Trust
    2007 - 2010
     
  • Capacity Building Award in Integrative Mammalian Biology
    BBSRC
    2007 - 2012
     
  • An analysis of gangliocide specific B cells in autoimmune disease
    Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland
    2007 - 2010
     
  • Anti-Sulphatide Antibodies in Multiple Sclerosis
    NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
    2006 - 2011
     
  • An integrated approach to novel mechanisms and therapeutic strategies in murine models of human autoimmune neuropathy
    Wellcome Trust
    2006 - 2011
     
  • Phenotypic analysis and therapeutic modulation of murine autoimmune neuropathy
    Patrick Berthould Charitable Trust
    2004 - 2007
     
  • Synthetic disialygalactose immunoadsorbents deplete anti-GQlb antibodies from autoimmune neuropathy sera
    The Guillain-Barre Syndrome Foundation International
    2004 - 2006
     
  • Glasgow Biomedical Research Centre
    Wellcome Trust
    2003 - 2006
     
  • The Pathogenesis of Autoimmune Neuropathy Associated with Anti-ganglioside Antibodies
    Wellcome Trust
    2000 - 2006