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Blizard Institute - Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

Professor William Alazawi, MA(Cantab) MB BChir PhD FRCP


Professor of Hepatology; Director of Research

Centre: Immunobiology

Telephone: 020 7882 2308
Twitter: @willalazawi


Professor Alazawi graduated from the MB/PhD Programme in Cambridge in 2003.  He conducted his doctorate research in Professor Coleman’s laboratory at the MRC Cancer Cell Unit where he studied host-viral interactions in pre-malignant disease. He moved to London to work with Professor Graham Foster where he conducted further studies into innate immune signalling, becoming an NIHR Clinical Lecturer in 2011. 

He established his own group in 2013 focusing on Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and its progressive fibroinflammatory form, Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis or NASH for short.  His MRC-funded basic science laboratory team studies immune and metabolic signalling with current focus on single cell techniques, multiorgan inflammation and metabolism.  Professor Alazawi also leads a translational programme of research, studying the epidemiology and natural history of NASH, the diagnostic pathways including the management of abnormal liver tests and novel therapies for NASH. He has won a number of prestigious awards including an Academy of Medical Sciences Starter Grant, the Physician Scientist Fellowship of the European Association for the Liver and a New Investigator Award from the Medical Research Council

He is the NIHR Integrated Academic Training Programme Co-Lead at QMUL, Blizard Institute Lead for Research Impact and Clinical Lead for NAFLD at Barts Health.  He is the Chair of the BASL Special Interest Group for NAFLD, a member of the Clinical Advisory Group for the British Liver Trust and Head of Research for LAP Research – a UK charity that focuses on liver and pancreatic disease.


Centre:  Immunobiology.


Lecturer and examiner for Undergraduate Medicine and Advanced Immunology

Module Lead for Hepatology; MSc in Gastroenterology

OSCE tutor

Medical student mentor

SSC supervisor

Project supervisor for SBCS and Intercalated BSc students



Research Interests:

Death rates from liver disease are rising across the world.   Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common cause of chronic liver disease worldwide affecting a quarter of the population in the West and is closely associated with obesity and type II diabetes.  Our understanding of the development of chronic liver diseases is that persistent injury – whether this is fat, alcohol or another liver disease - occurs alongside exaggerated or inappropriate inflammatory and repair responses and altered metabolism. This leads to scarring or fibrosis and cirrhosis, which, in turn, can lead to liver failure and liver cancer.  

Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, is the inflammatory and progressive form of NAFLD and the Alazawi group’s principal focus is on the key early steps in this process: inflammation and metabolic dysfunction. Our integrated research programme has a firm foundation in basic molecular and disease model discovery science, supported by the Medical Research Council and many other generous funders. We have thriving collaborations with the Bariatric & Metabolic Surgery services at Homerton Hospital and Kings College London and with colleagues across the UK, Europe and USA. 

We have a strong track record in the use of electronic health record data to understand the epidemiology and natural history of NAFLD with recent high impact publications.  To directly impact clinical care, we are developing innovative approaches to delivering liver services in primary and secondary care including the development and evaluation of abnormal liver test and fatty liver pathways.  We are a major site for clinical trials in novel therapies for NASH and fibrosis.

Current Research Projects:

  • Multimodal profiling of inflammatory and immune cells, including single-cell methods, to determine stage and treatment response in people living with NASH and type II diabetes
  • Targeting innate immune pathways in basic models of lipotoxicity and NASH
  • Determining the role of the oral and fecal microbiome in the progression of NASH
  • Single cell techniques to predictors sepsis and related outcomes in patients undergoing liver and pancreatic surgery
  • Population studies investigating risk factors for NAFLD and its complications
  • Evaluating primary and secondary liver care pathways

We are very grateful to patients who take part in our research projects and kindly consent to tissue sampling before and after their operations.  This is enormously helpful to our translational research efforts.




Socioeconomic Factors Associated with Liver-Related Mortality from 1985-2015 in 36 developed countries Li W, Kemos P, Salciccioli JD, Marshall DC, Shalhoub J, Alazawi W Clin Gastro Hep. 2020 In Press

Stat2 loss disrupts damage signalling and is protective in acute pancreatitis.  Heath H,  Britton G, Kudo H, Renney G, Ward M, Hutchins R, Foster GR, D Goldin R, Alazawi W. J Path 2020 252(1):41-52

Improving prevention strategies for cardiometabolic disease. Sattar N, Gill J, Alazawi W. Nature Medicine 2020 26(3):320-325

Obesity predicts liver function testing and abnormal liver results. Li W,  Homer K, Hull S, Boomla K, Robson J, Alazawi W. Obesity, 2020 28(1):132-138

Recorded diagnosis of NAFLD and the risk of incident acute myocardial infarction and stroke: findings from matched cohort study of 18 million European adults. Alexander M,  Loomis AK, van der Lei J, Duarte-Salles T, Prieto-Alhambra D, Ansell D, Pasqua A, Lapi F, Rijnbeek P, Mosseveld M, Avillach P, Egger P, Dhalwani NN, Kendrick S, Celis-Morales C, Waterworth DM, Alazawi W,  *, Sattar N*. *Joint Senior Authors. BMJ 2019 Oct 367:I5367

ADAM17-mediated reduction in CD14++CD16+ monocytes ex vivo and reduction in intermediate monocytes with immune paresis in acute pancreatitis and acute alcoholic hepatitis. Waller KJ,  James C, de Jong A, Blackmore L, Ma Y, Stagg A, Kelsell D, O'Dwyer M, Hutchins R, Alazawi W. Frontiers in Immunology. 2019 Aug 10: 1902

Risks and clinical predictors of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma diagnoses in adults with diagnosed NAFLD: real-world study of 18 million patients in four European cohorts. Alexander M,  Loomis AK, van der Lei J, Duarte-Salles T, Prieto-Alhambra D, Ansell D, Pasqua A, Lapi F, Rijnbeek P, Mosseveld M, Waterworth DM, Kendrick S, Sattar N, Alazawi W. BMC Medicine. 2019 May 20;17(1):95

Real world data reveal a diagnostic gap in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Alexander M,  Loomis AK, Fairburn-Beech J, van der Lei J, Duarte-Salles T, Prieto-Alhambra D, Ansell D, Pasqua A, Lapi F, Rijnbeek P, Mosseveld M, Avillach P, Egger P, Kendrick S, Waterworth DM, Sattar N, Alazawi W. BMC Medicine 2018 16: 130.

Non-invasive markers of liver fibrosis in fatty liver disease are unreliable in people of South Asian descent. De Silva S,  Li W, Kemos P, Brindley JH, Mecci J, Samsuddin S, Chin-Aleong J, Feakins RM, Foster GR, Syn WK,  Alazawi W. Front Gastro 2017. 9(2):115-121

Periodontitis is associated with significant hepatic fibrosis in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Alazawi W, Bernabe E, Tai D, Janicki T, Kemos P, Samsuddin S, Syn WK, Gillam D, Turner W. PLoS One 2017 journal.pone.0185902

Systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) after major abdominal surgery is predicted by early upregulation of TLR4 and TLR5.  Lahiri R, Derwa Y, Bashir Z, Giles E, Torrance HD, Owen HC, O'Dwyer MJ, O'Brien A, Stagg AJ, Bhattacharya S, Foster GR,  Alazawi W. Annals of Surgery 2015. 263(5):1028-37.

Elevated prostaglandin E2 mediates immune suppression in acute-on-chronic liver failure. O’Brien A, Fullerton J, Newson J, Massey K, Sewell, Hobbs A, Alazawi W, Winstanley A, Nicolaou A, Gilroy D. Nature Medicine, 2014. 20:518-23.

Stat2 loss leads to cytokine-independent, cell-mediated lethality in LPS-induced sepsis. Alazawi W, Heath HE, Waters JA,  Woodfin A, O’Brien A, Scarzello AJ, Lopez-Otalora Y, Jacobs M, Petts G, Goldin RD, Nourshargh S, Gamero AM, Foster GR. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA, 2013 110(21) 8656-8661.

View all William Alazawi's Research Publications at:


Dr Hal Brindley (Clinical Research Fellow)

Dr Wenhao Li (Clinical Research Fellow)

Miss Hajar Saihi (PhD Student in Computational Biology)

Dr Yannick Derwa (NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow)

Dr Emma Michael (NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow)

Dr Kathryn Waller (completed 2020)

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