Glasgow leads arthritis initiative to cultivate European expertise

Published: 17 September 2009

An ambitious collaboration between a leading Danish healthcare company and the Universities of Glasgow and AMC in Amsterdam aims to cultivate European expertise in the treatment of arthritis.

An ambitious collaboration between a leading Danish healthcare company and the Universities of Glasgow and AMC in Amsterdam aims to cultivate European expertise in the treatment of arthritis.

Medics selected to participate in the Inflammatory Arthritis Fellowship programme have already begun training at the University of Glasgow.

The overall aims of the programme are to:

• generate a group of high quality clinical researchers to become future leaders in rheumatology research 
• create an international research network that can produce high-quality and rapid proof-of-concept clinical trials of inflammatory arthritis.
• encourage collaborative pathogenesis and discovery based translational science
• work closely with scientific programs within Novo Nordisk create new opportunities for the development of our understanding and treatment of arthritis.
Professor Iain McInnes, Head of Division Immunology, Infection and Inflammation at the University of Glasgow said: “Integrating our efforts across Europe to bring our focus to understanding and then curing rheumatic diseases is a priority for the next decade in the discipline of rheumatology. 

“The Novonordisk supported AMC/Glasgow Fellowship programme is a unique initiative that will help us to achieve this goal.  Fellows of high quality are brought into a rich training environment in two Centres and then, critically, are supported in their host institutions to build effective collaborations.  By this means, strong pan European collaborative research can emerge to the benefit of all, particularly our patients.”

Dr Ioana Felea from the University of Medicine and Pharmacy ‘Iuliu Hatieganu’ Cluj Napoca in Romania said: “I am a medic from Romania specialising in Rheumatology. I am delighted to be able to work in Scottish Medical Research sharing best practise and enjoying the culture and am very grateful to Novonordisk for this opportunity. Veronica Codullo (left) and Ioana Felea

“I received an invitation to apply for a scholarship (University of Glasgow/Amsterdam Medical Centre (University of Amsterdam) of Amsterdam Inflammatory Arthritis Fellowship Program last year. I proceeded to interview stage where I was successful. I obtained a Novonordisk bursary which has two parts of training. One onsite in Amsterdam and one onsite in Glasgow, both being prestigious and well known research and medical facilities.

“The scholarship has helped me improve my medical knowledge and to advance in the research world which is a fascinating one. I have learned about good clinical practise and clinical trials in my interest domain. It was challenging and exciting to perform arthroscopies, musculoskeletal ultrasounds and different laboratory techniques. I have been able to attend several international courses and congresses during this fellowship and had the opportunity to liaise with colleagues studying in my fiend. Mostly, it has been inspirational to work under the direct observation of the legendary figures of immunology and rheumatology such as Professor Iain McInnes.

“I have so enjoyed the opportunity to experience both Scottish and Dutch cultures and meet so many great people. The experience has been amazing. For all of this I think this year is one of the most important of my life.”

Dr Veronica Codullo, from University of Pavia in Italy said:

“I have always wanted to spend some time of my medical education abroad and I feel very proud being part of the NovoNordisk Inflammatory Arthritis fellowship. The opportunities given me by this program are amazing and I’m having a great time in Glasgow working for Professor McInnes with his group.

“The Glasgow Biomedical Research Centre is a leading institute of research in the immunology and rheumatology fields and it’s a great pleasure to be part of it, even if for a short period of time. Every day I learn something new and precious for me as a person first, and also under a professional point of view.

“These are lessons that I hope I can increase in my second half of the year in Amsterdam with Professor Tak and his group at the AMC and apply when I’ll be back in Italy. I’m also sure that I’ll continue to learn thanks to the network that has been created between our countries and that I hope will be constantly supported by all members of the study group.

“People here in Glasgow have welcomed me very warmly, making me feel comfortable since the very first day of my stay. The city itself is very pleasant and rich of cultural interests (I personally enjoy Mackintosh architecture very much) and the West End, where the GBRC and my flat are located, is a vivid part of it.

“I sincerely hope to remain in touch with the colleagues I’m having the chance to work with, even when the year the fellowship lasts will be over and maybe also giving them back some hospitality in my home town. I think that visiting a country and respectively see how each other works is a great chance to improve you and to ensure research in common fields maintains high standards across all Europe. This is also a reason why the fellowship should continuously promote young rheumatologists to travel and work in the two main institutes of research of our continent.”

Further information:

Eleanor Cowie, Media Relations Officer University of Glasgow, on Telephone: 0141 330 3535 or Email:

Professor Iain McInnes, Head of Immunology, Infection and Inflammation University of Glasgow, Telephone 0141 330 8412 or Email:

First published: 17 September 2009

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