Eastman Dental Institute


Tomoko Kumagai

Tomoko Kumagai, from Japan, joins us after receiving a prestigious MRC Clinical Research Training Fellowship:

Tomoko Kumagai

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic inflammatory condition affecting 300,000 people in the UK with an increasing incidence. It is an extremely challenging disease to manage and, as a clinician, I have faced many frustrating situations where I struggled to control patient's symptoms and disease progression with the available medical therapies - resulting in patients undergoing surgery to remove their bowel.

IBD is also associated with an increased lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer. The mechanism of IBD still remains unclear and in order to be able to manage this condition better we need to gain a greater understanding of the processes driving the inflammatory response within the bowel. I will be investigating a function of BRINP3 in a mucosal barrier function and how this gene might play a role in pathogenesis of IBD.

I was very fortunate to have been introduced to my supervisor, Dr Andrew Smith, by Dr Farooq Rahman, a consultant gastroenterologist at UCLH, during my clinical training programme at UCLH. Dr Smith’s laboratory has been performing cutting-edge research into the immunopathogenesis of IBD and has generated multiple publications in high-impact factor journals. He is experienced in mentoring PhD students including many clinicians and his well-funded and supportive laboratory provides an excellent environment for research and to undertake my PhD.

I was delighted to be awarded MRC Clinical Research Training Fellowship which is a government -funded scheme supporting clinicians to undertake a PhD while taking time out from clinical training. The fellowship provided me with funding to cover my salary, support research costs and fees to enable me to do my PhD.

For those interested in a similar opportunity please visit the MRC website.