Dr Peter Donaldson
Senior Lecturer


Dr Peter Donaldson has 31 years experience in research in liver disease. His major interests are: [1]. The role of MHC and non-MHC immunoregulatory genes in autoimmmune and viral liver diseases [2]. The role of histocompatibility antigens and outcome following liver transplantation. Dr Donaldson also teaches on genetics of common (complex/non-Mendelian) diseases at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Dr Donaldson is currently Senior Tutor for all Postgraduate Masters Degrees.


Dr Donaldson graduated with a Batchelor of Science in Applied Biology from Brunel Univeristy in 1981. His career thus far has spanned 31 years all of it involving clinical medical research (1982 to present day) and mostly around various aspects of liver disease. The first 17 years were at the Institute of Liver Research/Liver Unit in King's College Hospital, London (1982 - 1999) where he was employed first as a graduate Research Assistant (until 1988) and then as an NHS Clinical Biochemist Grade B (until 1999). Whilst at King's Dr Donaldson became head of the tissue typing and immunogenetics group with major input into the Unit's Liver Transplant and Research Programmes. In 1995 he completed a PhD (part-tme) in the Faculty of Medicine at King's College, London and in 1999 - he moved to Newcastle University to take up the post of Lecturer in Molecular Genetics in the Faculty of Medicine as a member of the Liver Research Group.



Dr Donaldson has published close to 100 original research papers in a variety of journals from the Lancet (1986) to Nature Gentics (2013. In addition he has published more than 30 chapters and reviews andis currently writing a book on genetics of complex disease. 


Current Roles and Responsibilities Include:

Teacher: (module leader and curriculum chair): Senior Tutor: for all Postgraduate Master's students; Tutor for  Undergraduate students in Biomedical Sciences and currculum chair for phase 2 of the BSc in Biomedcal Sciences. Dr Donaldson recently stood down from hs role as Director of Taught Postgraduate Programmes in the Faculty of Medical Sciences (2004-Jan 2013). Member of the Faculty Learning, Teaching and Student Experience Committee (FTLSEC) in addition Dr Donaldson serves on a variety of Faculty and University committees.


BSc in Applied Biology upper second class honours (2/1) from Brunel University 1981.
PhD in Medicine: "The influence of donor/recipient histocompatibility and immunogenetics on the outcome of clinical liver transplants" King's College, London, 1995.
Certificate in Teaching and Learning from University of Newcastle 2001.

Previous Positions

1981-1988 Research Assistant King's College Hospital Medical School
1988-1999 Clinical Biochemist Grade B, King's College Hospital


British Association for the Study of the Liver
British Society for Immunology
British Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (Founder Member)

Research Interests

[1]. The Genetics of common non-Mendelian (i.e. complex) Diseases. My research primarily focussed on the immunogenetics of autoimmune and viral liver disease with published work covering: the role of the human MHC and non-MHC immunoregulatory genes in autoimmune hepatitis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, primary biliary cirrhosis and hepatitis C virus infection but also drug induced licer disease. 

[2]. I have a secondary research interest in the role of HLA mismatching and crossmatching in outcome following liver transplantation.

Other Expertise

Other current projects include investigations of the role of host genetic polymorphism in inflammatory bowel disease, vasovagal syncopy and drug induced liver disease. Previously published work includes studies of HLA in the (mainly) childhood liver diseases; biliary atresia, alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency and cystic fibrosis.

Current Work

Research in genetics of complex diseases including; primary biliary cirrhosis and drug induced liver injury (DILI).  Postgraduate Supervision

Numerous MD and PhD students in a career spanning 29 years.

Esteem Indicators

Presentations at single topic conferences of the American Association for the Study of the Liver (AASLD) Atlanta, Georgia, USA 1999: Autoimmune Hepatitis: 2000 Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis: 2002 Biliary Atresia. Presentation at AASLD postgraduate course Dallas Texas, USA 1999. Chair, co-organiser and invited speaker at American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) AASLD liver section workshop on Genetics of Liver Disease, Chicago Illinois, USA 2005. Invited speaker at National Institutes of Health (NIH) workshop on Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, Bethesda, Maryland, USA 2005. Presntation at AASLD meeting San Fransisco 2008.

Editorial Boards of Transplantation (1999-2004), Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology (1999 - 2003) and Liver Transplantation (1999 - present).

Director of Taught Postgraduate Programmes in Faculty of Medicine:

Undergraduate Teaching:

[1]. Module Leader for - Genetics of Common (complex) Diseases (module code BMS3010) to final year undergraduate students in Biomedical Sciences.

[2]. Lecturer for - selected lectures on Basic Immunology to second year undergraduate students study in Dentistry.

Postgraduate Teaching:

[1]. Lecturer for - Genetics of Complex (non-Mendelian) Diseases MRES (module code MMB8014).

[2]. Lecturer for - XXX MSc in Clinical Research (module code MCR80XX).