Faculty of Medical Sciences

Staff Profile

Professor John Kirby

Dean of Postgraduate Research


Roles and Responsibilities

Dean of Postgraduate Research

Head of Applied Immunobiology and Transplantation Research Group.


BA Biochemistry; 1st Class hons.
DPhil Immunopathology

Previous Positions

BHF Fellow
Lecturer in Transplant Immunology
Senior Lecturer in Transplant Immunology
Reader in Immunobiology


International Transplantation Society
British Transplantation Society (elected Council member)
British Society for Immunology
Editorial Board of 'Transplantation'
Editorial Board of 'Transplant Immunology'
Scientific Advisory Committee of the ROTRF


Current Research Interests

My primary research interest is focused on the Immunobiology of tissue injury during inflammatory diseases. These include active projects in the autoimmune diseases rheumatoid arthritis, primary biliary cirrhosis and inflammatory bowel diseases. However, given the uncertain timeline of clinically relevant autoimmunity, I have focused most of my research on investigation of mechanisms of allograft rejection. Newcastle is one of the UK’s leading centres for organ transplantation, allowing investigation of the complete timeline of human inflammation from the earliest innate responses following donor brain death and transplantation through T cell-mediated acute rejection to chronic allograft failure and organ fibrosis.

Specific interests have focused on:

1.       Chemokine function within extracellular matrix (protein-heparan sulphate interactions)

2.       Strategies to inhibit inflammatory chemokines

3.       Growth factor biology including the activation of TGF-β

4.       T cell differentiation (including Th1, Th17 and Treg biology)

5.       Regulation of immune cell chemotaxis and adhesion

6.       T cell-epithelial cell interactions mediated by CD103 and E-cadherin

7.       Epithelial cell biology including de-differentiation, autophagy, senescence and mesenchymal transition.

8.       The role of donor-specific antibody in allograft rejection.

9.       The biology of sphingosine-1-phosphate in T cell biology and inflammation.


Postgraduate Supervision

 More than 60 PhD, MD and MPhil students have graduated from my research group since 1996.



Arthritis Research-UK

Wellcome Trust


Kidney Research-UK

British Heart Foundation

Roche Organ Transplantation Research Fund

Northern Counties Kidney Research Fund

Marie Curie EST programme (EU FP6).




Postgraduate Teaching

Most of my teaching is at postgraduate level. 

I have supervised 60 research students to degree completion.

I lecture extensively in the Applied Immunobiology and Transplantation Science modules of the MRes programme. 

As Dean of Postgraduate Studies I contribute a range of kills Development sessions for Postgraduate Research Students.