Research and Publications


Gastroenterology at the Royal Liverpool is a University teaching department with academic presence that includes 5 professors, 1 senior lecturer and 2 clinical lecturers with has a strong focus on basic science and clinical research.

Research profiles

Dr Melita Gordon

I have a research interest in invasive gut pathogens, particularly non-typhoid Salmonellae, the effects of HIV on the gut mucosa, and mucosal vaccination. I have current collaborative links with the Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Programme in Blantyre, Malawi, with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, and with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI).

Prof Alastair Watson

Research interests
Main research interests are the regulation of apoptosis in intestinal epithelium and pathogenesis of colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease. Specific projects include:
1. Investigation of the mechanisms of shedding of epithelial cells from the gastrointestinal tract and the consequences for disease.
2. Investigation of the potential for plantain fibre to prevent salmonella enteritis
3. Investigation of the mechanisms of drug resistance inflammatory bowel disease.
4. Investigation of confocal endomicroscopy as a diagnostic tool for gastrointestinal and pancreatic disease.
5. Investigation of genes regulated by the WNT pathway in human colorectal cancer.
6. Investigation of biomarkers for colorectal cancer.

Research grants
During the last 5 years, has had grant support from the Medical Research Council, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Cancer Research UK, National Association for Crohn’s and Colitis, North West Cancer Research Fund (NWCRF).

Dr Howard Smart

Research projects include:
(a) Principal investigator for the ASPECT Trial. The role of aspirin/esomeprazole in chemoprevention of cancer in Barrett’s oesophagus.
Trial run through Oncology Clinical Trials Office, University of Oxford. Now finished recruiting (34 patients over 26 months) and in an 8 year follow up phase.
(b) Principal investigator for UK HALO Registry (Barrett’s and squamous dysplasia). The Royal Liverpool University Hospital is one of only 5 sites nationally to offer radiofrequency ablation therapy for dysplasia arising in Barrett’s oesophagus or native squamous epithelium. Two patients have been treated since commencement in April 2009.
(c) Collaborative studies with the University Department of Surgery in the diagnosis & treatment of chronic pancreatitis and molecular aspects of pancreatic cancer.
These studies involve utilising my endoscopic expertise to obtain bile and pancreatic juice to subject to molecular analysis.

Dr Keith Leiper

Clinical Research
The department is involved in several clinical trials of new therapies for IBD. Some of these are local trials whilst others are multi-centre multinational trials. We have a dedicated, experienced  research nurse, Kate Martin, who is involved in co-ordinating trials and reviewing trial patients. Current clinical trials are as follows:
• Rituximab in steroid refractory ulcerative colitis
• Laquinomod in active Crohn’s disease
• Triple antibiotics vs budesonide in active Crohn’s disease
• Plantain to prevent relapse of Crohn’s disease
• CONSTRUCT- acute severe UC
• TOPPIC trial- post operative CD
• Adalimumab registry in Crohn’s disease

Dr Martin Lombard

Dr. Lombard is an Hon Senior Lecturer in University of Liverpool and has a long history of involvement in clinical and basic science research, mainly in liver diseases such as haemochromatosis and biliary cirrhosis, and has also published educational and training texts in Gastroenterology and Endoscopy.  He currently is involved in collaborative research programmes with the Professorial Department of Surgery University of Liverpool in imaging and diagnostic evaluation of pancreatitis and pancreas cancer; with University of Cambridge in the genetics of PBC; and with the Universities of London and Southampton in evaluating markers of Liver Fibrosis.  He has also previously chaired the Clinical Research Governance Committee jointly for Royal Liverpool Hospital and University of Liverpool.

Prof Mark Pritchard

I am a Professor of Gastroenterology at the University of Liverpool. My research focuses on two main topics. The first is how the process of apoptosis (programmed cell death) is regulated in gastrointestinal cells and why this is relevant to the development and treatment of stomach and bowel cancers. The second area is how the gastrin family of hormones are involved in the development of stomach and bowel tumours. Research is currently funded by the Wellcome Trust, North West Cancer Research Fund and the NIHR-funded Biomedical Research centre. Much of my research is performed in collaboration with Prof Andrea Varro at the University of Liverpool and Dr Timothy Wang at Columbia University, New York.

Dr Sanchoy Sarkar

Dr Sanchoy Sarkar is an Hon Clinical Lecturer at Liverpool University. His current research interests are in quality, standards and outcomes in endoscopy. These include patient outcomes, adverse events, training, day-case procedures, sedation use, and mortality related to endoscopy. Other research interests include Noncardiac chest pain (NCCP) and oesophageal physiology. His PhD work was in visceral pain mechanisms and NCCP during which he won the DDF Young Researcher of the year awarded by the BSG (2000) and the Young International Investigator which was awarded by the Functional Gut Brain Research Group at the American Gastroenterology Association (2003).

Jonathan Rhodes

Research interests
Longstanding interest in the changes in carbohydrate structure and function (glycobiology) that occur in the gut in inflammatory bowel disease and cancer. This has led to investigation of the impacts of these changes on recruitment of bacteria to the intestinal lining and to cancer metastasis. In particular clinical studies are being conducted to investigate the potential beneficial effect of soluble plant fibres acting by blockade of bacterial recruitment to the gut lining.

Dr Tony Ellis

Research interests
My main research interests have been the genetics of gastrointestinal disorders and I have written papers on the genetics of coeliac disease, peptic ulcer, inflammatory bowel disease, and gastrointestinal cancer particularly oesophageal and bowel cancers. My research into tylosis associated squamous cancer of the oesophagus, which has been in collaboration with Professor J Field, the Roy Castle Centre for Lung Cancer, and has been funded by the Isle of Man Anticancer Association who have donated over £130k to the research. I am also continuing to research into colon cancer with Professor Shirazi-Beechey, Department of Veterinary Science, Liverpool University.



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