Background

King’s College London (King’s) in partnership with the Trustees of the Foundation for Liver Research (FLR) are seeking to appoint a Professor of Hepatology within the Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine (King’s) & Director of the Roger Williams Institute of Hepatology (IoH), to succeed the late Professor Roger Williams CBE.

The appointment provides an outstanding opportunity to lead hepatology research at the nexus of three leading institutions: the Roger Williams Institute of Hepatology, King’s College London, and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (KCH).

The Roger Williams Institute of Hepatology

The Roger Williams Institute of Hepatology is governed by the Foundation for Liver Research, which has supported research programmes into liver disease for more than fifty years, including much of the early pioneering work at KCH into liver transplantation and acute liver failure. Professor Roger Williams established the Foundation and acted as its Director of Research until his death in 2020.

Student in lab

In 2016 the IoH relocated to a new facility on the Denmark Hill campus of KCH as part of an agreement with King’s and KCH to maximise the opportunities on campus for clinical translational research into liver diseases. The centre houses state-of-the-art laboratories for up to 65 scientists, and research is organised around the theme of liver cell injury and repair. Current areas of research include liver immunobiology in viral hepatitis, alcohol-related liver disease and liver cancer (Dr Shilpa Chokshi), fatty liver disease pathophysiology (Prof. Michelle Vacca), liver stems cells and tissue engineering (Dr Luca Urbani), gut liver axis in advanced chronic liver diseases (Dr Vishal Patel), mechanisms of cell death in advanced alcohol-related liver disease (Dr Gautam Mehta), metabonomics biomarkers of liver disease (Dr Jane Cox), and liver cancer prognostication using -omics data (Mrs Shirin Khorsandi). The IoH has established strong collaborative links with multiple academic institutions worldwide, and organises weekly seminars open to KCH and King’s investigators as well as international workshops in cutting-edge areas of liver research. The IoH and the Foundation for Liver Research have worked closely with the Lancet Commission into Liver Disease in the UK to raise awareness of the main causes of liver diseases, and to design plans to tackle the growing rate of liver disease mortality in the UK.

Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine

Franklin-Wilkins Building

The world-leading hepatology research at King’s takes place within the School of Immunology and Microbial Sciences (SIMS), which is a part of the Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine (FoLSM). The Faculty is one of the largest and most successful centres for biomedical and health research and education in the UK, with extensive global partnerships, ranked 10th in the world for Clinical and Health (Times Higher Education World Rankings 2023). In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF2021) submission, 93 per cent of research overall was deemed either ‘world leading’ (4*) or ‘internationally excellent’ (3*). Collaborations with clinical work are galvanised through King’s Health Partners, which seeks to ensure that research breakthroughs lead to direct clinical benefits for patients and the public.

The School of Immunology & Microbial Sciences (SIMS)

Led by Professor Michael Malim, FRS, the School undertakes research, education and training in the fields of immunobiology, inflammation and infectious diseases with the collective goal of improving human health and wellbeing. The School’s multi-disciplinary approach to research spans fundamental discovery through to translation and clinical implementation with a broad focus on understanding the immune system and how it functions in times of health and disease. With a deep commitment to educating the next generations of scientists, researchers and clinicians, the School delivers a raft of research-inspired programmes for students and trainees at all career stages.

TThe Department of Inflammation Biology

The post sits within the Department of Inflammation Biology, led by Professor Leonie Taams. The Department’s guiding mission is to identify and investigate cellular and molecular mechanisms that cause and control inflammation and to relate these findings to the common as well as the unique mechanisms that contribute to inflammation-related pathologies. The Department conducts discovery-led, applied and clinical research (including clinical trials) related to inflammatory joint, lung, gut, liver, kidney and skin disease; extending these investigations to cancer, pain, neurodegeneration and certain psychiatric and mental health disorders where inflammation is increasingly recognised as an important contributor.

Research in liver diseases takes part under the umbrella of the Institute of Liver Studies (ILS), led by Prof. Alberto Sanchez-Fueyo, which integrates the King’s liver academic team and the Liver Clinical Services at KCH, with a track record of delivering high-quality innovative translational research and developing novel medicinal products with a direct impact on clinical care. The academic strengths of the ILS include investigating how liver failure and cancer influences the function of regulatory T cells and in developing regulatory T cell-based immunotherapies to control inflammatory liver damage in chronic liver diseases and to induce tolerance following liver transplantation (Prof Alberto Sanchez Fueyo and Dr Nilou Safinia); characterising the metabolic abnormalities in bio-fluids in patients with acute or acute-on-chronic liver failure and therapeutically modulating immunity ex vivo (Dr Mark McPhail); manipulating the gut microbiome to improve outcomes in chronic liver disease (Prof Debbie Shawcross); and developing novel hepatocyte and stem cell based cell therapies to treat advanced liver failure (Prof Anil Dhawan).

King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Patient care

KCH is one of the UK’s largest and busiest teaching hospitals, training over 900 dentists, 750 doctors and 300 nurses every year. Its 10,500 staff provide over 1 million patient contacts a year. 9,000 babies are delivered by its hospitals each year, and over 750 patients come to its emergency departments every day. The Trust is recognized internationally for its work in liver disease and transplantation. KCH runs the largest comprehensive liver service in the UK. The following benchmarks illustrate the size of KCH liver clinical services:
• >50,000 individual patient visits are dealt with at the liver outpatient service yearly, including patients from the UK, Europe and the Middle East.
• >4000 liver histopathology specimens are processed yearly at the Liver Histopathology Unit, located within the ILS.
• 220-250 liver transplants are performed yearly including 50 paediatric liver transplants, which represents Europe’s largest liver transplant unit.
• On a monthly basis there are 55-65 new referrals with hepatocellular carcinoma, 190-210 new referrals to the hepatobiliary service, and 30-35 new referrals with neuroendocrine cancer, which accounts for over 1500 new referrals for all liver and pancreatobiliary tumour groups yearly, and approximately 350 hepato-pancreatobiliary surgical procedures.
• The Paediatric Liver Centre is the largest of the 3 paediatric liver transplant/hepatobiliary services in the UK, and includes the only UK clinical hepatocyte transplantation programme.
• The largest dedicated liver intensive care unit in Europe (15 intensive care beds and 4 high dependency beds) offering state-of-the-art care for patients presenting with acute and acute-on-chronic liver failure, as well as those undergoing liver transplantation and complex hepatobiliary surgery.

The adult and paediatric liver services at KCH take a multi-disciplinary approach, working closely with the alcohol care team, gastroenterology, oncology, obstetric team, HIV team and histopathologists and radiologists. Its services are well supported by specialist nurses, dietitians, and pharmacists.

In addition, KCH supports a standalone Liver Research Tissue Bank with processes for obtaining consent and donation of blood and tissue samples integrated into standard clinical practice. The Liver Tissue Bank consent to donation gives broad, generic approval for the use of samples and data in research. The NIHR King’s Clinical Research Facility on the Denmark Hill Campus of KCH/King’s offers state-of-the-art clinical research facilities including an experimental medicine suite, a cell therapy unit and a clinical trials unit. The campus also provides facilities for animal research. All of these research facilities are available to staff from the IoH.

About King’s College London

King’s College London offers an intellectually stimulating environment, where staff are dedicated to the advancement of knowledge and learning in the service of society. We are a multi-Faculty institution, providing high-quality education, research and innovation across the sciences, humanities, medicine, law, dentistry, and social sciences. As a member of the Russell Group, an association of leading UK research-intensive universities, we are committed to maintaining the highest standards in research and education. King’s is the largest centre for the education of healthcare professionals in Europe and is home to five Medical Research Council Centres spread across its three teaching hospitals.

King’s is one of the top 10 UK universities, ranked 35th in the world (QS World University Rankings, 2022) and the fourth oldest university in England, based in the heart of London. King’s has over 31,000 students from some 150 countries, and over 8,500 employees. King’s is in the top seven UK universities for research earnings and has an overall annual income of about £1BN (2021).

King’s Strategic Vision looks forward to our 200th anniversary in 2029. It shows how King’s will make the world a better place by focusing on five key strategic priorities: educate to inspire and improve; research to inform and innovate; serve to shape and transform; a civic university at the heart of London; an international community that serves the world.

King’s comprises nine faculties, each with an academic leader and professional services lead: Executive Dean of Faculty and Director of Operations. Professional Services are provided in every Faculty as well as centrally to deliver support services for students and staff.

Guy's Campus aerial view

Our faculties

  • Faculty of Arts & Humanities

  • Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences

  • Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine

  • Faculty of Natural, Mathematical & Engineering Sciences

  • Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy

  • Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care

  • Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience

  • King’s Business School

  • The Dickson Poon School of Law