Faculty of Medical Sciences


Fibrosis Research Group - NFRG

Theme Leader

Prof Derek Mann

Major Research Themes

  • Epigenetics - The NFRG has discovered the fundamental role of DNA methylation and histone modification in the fibrotic process.  We have also made the discovery that liver damage leads to stable epigenetic modification in sperm that can be inherited across at least two generatios through the male line.
  • Therapeutics and Technologies - The NFRG engages in the discovery of new molecular targets which upon engagement with small molecule inhibitors prevent the progression of fibrosis. Moreover, a key goal of the NFRG is to engage in technology developments that enhance the ability to carry out discovery science and unlock new therapeutic opportunities.
  • Gene Transcription - The NFRG described angiotensin serotonin and Tall-like Receptor pathways that stimulate myofibroblasts to survive, produce fibrotic tissue and suppress liver regeneration. More recently we discovered how the cytokine IL-1alpha modifies myofibroblasts to adopt a highly inflammatory state that perpetuate fibrogenesis.
  • Cancer Research - The NFRG has made the important discovery that neutrophils, as specialised immune cell stimulates Hepatocellular carcinoma in the diseased liver.  We are also working on understanding how the activities of p50 subunit of NF-kappaB can be manipulated to bring therapeutic inhibition of inflammation and cancer.


  • Myofibroblast biology - World-leaders in the discovery of mechanisms by which these cells drive fibrosis in multiple organs.
  • Organ culture - Developing complex 3D organ cultures from diseased human tissues with the ambition of improving drug development in chronic disease.
  • Epigenetics - Expertise in associated technologies including ChIPseq (for specific transcription factors as well as for chromatin epigenetic marks), genome-wide DNA methylation etc.
  • In vivo experimental models - We have strong expertise in rodent models of chronic disease taking a multi-organ approach.
  • Clinical studies - Expertise in liver, lung, renal diseases with infrastructure to support clinical studies/trials.

Key Collaborations

We have several collaborative links both within the University and beyond. Our website has information on public and Charity funders that support our research and information on our recent Industrial partners with whom we are developing new drugs and treatments.

Developing researchers

Mentorship and career development are central to our ambition to build towards a sustainable world-class centre of excellence as evidenced on the Newcastle Fibrosis Research Group website.

Prof Mann has in the past mentored Prof Fiona Oakley and Prof Jelena Mann to their current Readerships and international recognition.

Two staff members have been recently raised at the Principal Investigator position in 2017:

Impact and Engagement

  • Industrial collaborations - Including a major long-term relationship with GSK, but also including UCB, Medimmune, Zyoxel and Novartis.
  • Outreach activities - We have been annual participants in the Leading Edge since 2010, which encourages collaborative research between local secondary schools and the university. 
  • External leadership - In 2017, Prof Mann was elected as Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.  He is currently Vice chair of the ARUK Research Grants Committee, Assistant Editor of the Journal of Hepatology (IF=10) and holds a visiting professorship at Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai.

Staff List

Professor Quentin Anstee
Professor of Experimental Hepatology & Consultant Hepatologist

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7012

Dr Lee Borthwick
Senior Lecturer

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 3112

Professor David Deehan
Honorary Professor

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 2137264

Professor Andrew Fisher
Dean of Clinical Medicine

Professor Derek Manas
Hon Clin Prof of Transplantation

Professor Jelena Mann
Professor of Epigenetics

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5902

Professor Derek Mann
Dean of Research and Innovation

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 3851

Professor Fiona Oakley
Prof of Fibrosis Biology

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 3852

Dr Andrew Owens
Honorary Clinical Reader

Telephone: 0191 241 8859

Professor Neil Sheerin
Professor of Nephrology

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7146

David Talbot
Honorary Clinical Reader

Telephone: 0191 2336161 x31192

Steven White
Hon Prof of Hepatobiliary Trans Surg