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Personal profile


My area of research is complex disease genetics. This applies to conditions where multiple genes interplay with environmental triggers.

I use both genetic and functional approaches to further the understanding of:

 (i) The commonest inflammatory arthritis to affect children under 16 years – Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.

(ii) Changes that arise with weight variation    a.  Obesity

                                                                         b.  Bariatric surgery

                                                                         c. Diabetes (T2DM, T1D, GDM)

(iii) Inflammatory pathologies, especially where variation in steroid sensitivity is a factor (eg SLE).


Rachelle Donn MB ChB PhD

Expertise in: Molecular Genetics and Functional Genomics.

Main Research interests:

1) Genetics of complex diseases (Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, Diabetes, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus)

2) Genetic basis of drug response (Steroids)

3) Network analysis of complex genetic diseases

Research interests

The focus of my research is (i) the identification of novel markers for early identification of common chronic diseases (ii) translation of the basic science observations into patient benefit.

Research interests include:

(i) Genetic basis of common diseases. Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) used as model of a chronic, relapsing and remitting, inflammatory disease. Type 2 diabetes/obesity

(ii) Functional Genomics, as a way of extending the observations made from traditional genetic association studies.

(iii) Systems based analyses


Complex Genetics, Inflammation, Arthritis, Diabetes, Obesity, Bariatric Surgery


I have several leadership / senior management roles within Manchester Medical School

These include:

Associate Director for Student Progression 2018-

Personal Excellence Pathway Associate Lead (Years 1-5) 2017-

Deputy Director of Studies (Years 1&2) 2014-2017

Academic Lead for Attendance & Professionalism (Years 1&2) 2014-2017

Year 1 Lead for Peer Mentor Scheme 2016-

Phase 1 Lead Hospital Allocations Mitigations Panel 2015-

Module Lead for Semester 1 of MB ChB  2011-

Module Lead for Smester 4 of MB ChB 2014-15

MB ChB PBL Tutor 2011-

Semester 1 Lecturer  2011 -

Communication and Clinical Skills Tutor (MB ChB, Phase I) 2012-

My collaborations

Dr Handrean Soren

Dr Adam Stevens

Dr Kirk Siddals

Professor William Ollier

Professor Martin Gibson

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

  • Royal Society of Medicine
  • British Society for Adolescent and Paediatric Rheumatology
  • British Society of Rheumatology
  • HeartUK
  • Diabetes UK
  • British Inflammation Research Association

Methodological knowledge

  • Complex Disease Genetics
  • Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Network analysis


  • July 1988 MB. Ch.B. Graduation in Medicine and Surgery, University of Sheffield: Winner of The Undergraduate Prize for Medicine & Surgery (Chairman's Cup)
  • July 1995 Ph.D. Faculty of Medicine, University of Manchester
  • July 1999 MRC Research Fellow
  • June 2015 Senior Fellow The Higher Education Academy
  • November 2016 Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education

Social responsibility

The Healthy City Initiative is a long term, sustainable endeavour to improve the health of Salford residents, principally by educating and monitoring in relation to type 2 diabetes. This has fed forwards into more funding coming to Salford for extended projects related to wider, related public health issues such as the national diabetes prevention programme. I am chair of the streeing group for the Healthy City Initiative and liaise regularly with Diabetes UK in relation to this long term project.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures


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