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Name: Prof Nidhi Sofat

Institution: St George’s University of London

Theme or Role: Clinical Liaison

Brief biography:

I completed medical training at University College London in 1996 with an Intercalated BSc in Immunology, before completing specialist rheumatology training in 2007 and obtaining a PhD at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology. I was awarded a Clinical Research Training Fellowship by the Wellcome Trust in 2003 which supported my training at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology where I investigated the mechanisms driving chronic inflammation in osteoarthritis. In 2005, I was awarded a British Society for Matrix Biology prize.

I joined St George’s in 2009 as a Clinical Senior Lecturer while working to develop a translational research facility in rheumatic diseases. I’ve been a Consultant Rheumatologist at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust since 2009.

In 2013, I was awarded the Michael Mason Prize in Rheumatology, awarded by the British Society of Rheumatology(BSR) in recognition of innovative work in rheumatology research.

I have served on several committees aimed at improving standards of care in rheumatology, including the BSR External Relations Committee (concerned with influencing policy makers and the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for technology appraisals in osteoarthritis.

I have also helped write Standards of Care documents produced by the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance (ARMA), an umbrella organisation working towards better care in the discipline. The Standards of Care documents are for healthcare professionals and patients.

I investigate the mechanisms responsible for pain and reduced function in osteoarthritis, and am involved in a number of clinical studies evaluating the effectiveness of medication in relieving pain in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

I use non-invasive techniques including quantitative sensory testing (QST) methods to identify pain pathways. QST identifies sensation and pain thresholds by stimulating the skin. I also use magnetic resonance imaging techniques to discover which brain regions are activated by osteoarthritis pain, and a basic science mechanistic approach to investigate the role of molecules within the body in driving chronic inflammation in joints.

I am principal investigator of Pain management in osteoarthritis using centrally acting analgesics. Funded by the Rosetrees Trust, the trial is testing whether drugs that inhibit pain processing pathways in the brain can help with pain in the hand caused by osteoarthritis.