Dr. Ellie Barnes, BSc. MBBS. PhD, FRCP. FMedSci, is a Professor of Hepatology and Experimental Medicine in the Nuffield Department of Medicine at the University of Oxford. Dr. Barnes leads an established research group with a focus on applied immunology relevant to liver disease, including cancer, and seeks to translate laboratory and clinical findings through to human experimental medicine studies.
Dr. Barnes' group is developing T cell pan-genotypic vaccines for hepatitis C virus (HCV) prevention and hepatitis B virus (HBV) cure using simian adenoviral and other viral vectors. They are are also assessing COVID vaccines in disease cohorts. A major challenge for HCV vaccine development is the significant viral diversity both within the same host and between hosts – though parts of the viral genome are conserved, making these excellent T cell targets in the context of a T cell vaccine. Some of the technologies they are developing include integral genetic adjuvants that will have applicability in a broad range of diseases.
More recently, her group has developed national and international programs in stratified medicine in the UK and S.E. Asia. Dr. Barnes led STOP-HCV, a UK-wide MRC-funded stratified medicine consortium (22 partners) that united clinicians, scientists and industry partners in studies of personalized medicine (STOP-HCV.ox.ac.uk/home). The consortium developed high-throughput viral sequencing, integrating these with host genetic analysis, RNA sequencing in blood and liver, immune parameters and blood biomarkers to give new insights into pathogenesis and to use these parameters to identify patients with HCV who will develop hepatocellular liver cancer (HCC) and other negative clinical outcomes. Building on STOP-HCV and her experience in liver disease and immunology, Dr. Barnes am now leading the CRUK-funded DeLIVER programme that will develop and test early detection methodologies for the identification of HCC.
Dr. Barnes leads additional programs of work in immune-mediated liver disease. One of these, IgG4-related disease (of unknown aetiology), affects multiple organs and includes severe biliary and pancreatic pathology, characterized by a lymphocytic infiltrate with IgG4-producing B cells. We have established a large cohort of patients and a national registry (funded through EASL) and are currently performing detailed assessment of T and B cells profiles to further define pathogenesis. Her group is developing liver imaging techniques with the Oxford Centre for Clinical Magnetic Resonance Research for the non-invasive detection of organ fibrosis and inflammation. :Lastly, as NIHR CLRN lead for hepatology in the Thames Valley, Dr. Barnes oversees a portfolio of clinical studies relating to gastroenterology and hepatology at the Oxford University NHS Trust, Oxford.