UCL Division of Medicine


Congratulations to Dr Thomas McDonnell!

5 December 2022

Emerging Leaders Prize recognises future leaders in lupus research. Three exceptional lupus researchers have been announced today as winners of the Medical Research Foundation’s sixth Emerging Leaders Prize.

Headshot of Thomas Mcdonnell at award ceremony

Highly commended, £20,000: Dr Thomas McDonnell, Medical Research Foundation Fellow, University College London.

Dr Thomas McDonnell’s research focuses on the antiphospholipid syndrome; a condition which overlaps significantly with lupus, both in patients and underlying mechanisms.

His work has ranged from developing a potential new treatment, to studying Beta-2-Glycoprotein I (B2GPI), which represents the main autoantigen in antiphospholipid syndrome. To do this, Dr McDonnell has focused on developing a unique, multidisciplinary approach to translational research, incorporating techniques from multiple fields and bringing them to bear for the benefit of patients.

This funding will allow Dr McDonnell to attend a leadership course and train other scientists working on lupus and associated conditions, helping to support the longer-term impact of his research. The funding will also be spent on introducing automation into Dr McDonnell’s lab, which will significantly extend the scope of his research.

Dr Angela Hind, Chief Executive of the Medical Research Foundation, said: “Lupus is poorly understood, difficult to diagnose and treat, and there is no full cure – all of which leaves a huge unmet need for new research. We’re excited to be supporting the next generation of leaders in lupus research, as a tribute to Dr Erina Herrick, a scientist who lived with lupus for most of her life. Sometimes our donors specify areas of research important to them, and this was the case with Erina, who left a gift in her Will to support emerging research leaders in the field of lupus.”