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Professor Nidhi Sofat

Professor of Rheumatology
Clinical Academic Rheumatologist working on studies in pain and inflammation in arthritis

Nidhi Sofat is Professor of Rheumatology at St George's, University of London. Her research is focused on understanding the causes of pain and inflammation in musculoskeletal diseases using a bench-to-bedside experimental approach. She has conducted several clinical trials and studies investigating the mechanisms of pain in arthritis.

Professor Sofat qualified in medicine from University College London. She completed her specialist training in rheumatology in 2007 and earned her PhD from The Kennedy Institute for Rheumatology, then part of Imperial College London, in the same year.

Nidhi has been a consultant at St George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust since 2009. She conducts clinics in general rheumatology, inflammatory arthritis, vasculitis and osteoarthritis at the Hotung Centre for musculoskeletal diseases at St George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. She is a member of the rheumatology team caring for patients on rheumatology specialist wards.

Professor Sofat completed her medical training at University College London in 1996 with First Class Honours Intercalated BSc in Immunology. She completed her specialist rheumatology training in 2007 and in the same year obtained a PhD at the Kennedy Institute for Rheumatology (then part of Imperial College London). Professor Sofat was awarded a Clinical Research Training Fellowship by the Wellcome Trust in 2003 which supported her training at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology where she investigated the mechanisms driving chronic inflammation in osteoarthritis. She was awarded a British Society for Matrix Biology prize in 2005 for her work.

Nidhi joined St George’s in 2009 and developed a translational research facility in rheumatic diseases. She is also a Consultant Rheumatologist at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

In 2013, Professor Sofat was awarded the Michael Mason Prize in Rheumatology, awarded by the British Society for Rheumatology (BSR) as recognition of innovative work in rheumatology research. She has served on several National and International committees aimed at improving standards of care in rheumatology, including the BSR Heberden Committee, External Relations Committee (concerned with influencing policy makers, the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for technology appraisals in osteoarthritis and the Finance Committee for OARSI (Osteoarthritis Research Society International). Nidhi has helped write Standards of Care documents produced by the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance (ARMA), an umbrella organisation working towards better care in the discipline.

The research group led by Professor Sofat have established the importance of distinct characteristics of pain in arthritis using techniques including quantitative sensory testing and imaging of the joint by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Her group has shown how the brain is activated during arthritis pain (in collaboration with Professor Franklyn Howe). Professor Sofat’s group have tested drugs to combat pain in arthritis patients from her rheumatology clinics which target pain sensitisation.

As well as carrying out clinical studies, Professor Sofat’s group investigates how different parts of the joint trigger pain and inflammation. Her group performed the first gene expression study of bone marrow lesions in osteoarthritis. Ultimately, a better understanding of the mechanisms inducing pain and inflammation could be used to develop improved diagnostic tools and treatments for arthritis.

Professor Sofat’s team has worked on several Investigator-Initiated trials, including DUPRO (Duloxetine and Pregabalin for Hand Osteoarthritis), the Pain Perception in Osteoarthritis (PAPO) study and the ARPAIN (Early biomarkers for Arthritis Pain) study.

The research team led by Professor Sofat is also involved in multi-center phase III clinical trials involving new treatments for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis with companies including Pfizer, Merck, Sharpe and Dohme and Roche.

Bristol Myers Squibb

British Pharmacological Society

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

NIHR

Orthopaedic Research UK

Pathological Society

Rosetrees’ Trust

Versus Arthritis

Wellcome Trust

King’s College London Clinical Trials Unit

OATech project (led by University of Cardiff)

Orthopaedic surgeons at Epsom Orthopaedic Centre and St George’s University Hospitals NHS Trust (Philip Mitchell, Caroline Hing, Richard Field)

Royal Veterinary College (Professor Andy Pitsillides and Chantal Chenu)

Toby Smith (University of Oxford)

Versus Arthritis Pain Centre in Nottingham (Professor David Walsh)

Course Director for PGCert in Research Skills and Methods

MBBS Medicine teaching in Musculoskeletal Medicine (pre-Clinical and Clinical)

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