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The William Harvey Research Institute - Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

Dr Frances Humby


Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Rheumatologist

Centre: Experimental Medicine and Rheumatology

Telephone: +44(0) 20 3594 4461


ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1280-9133

Dr Frances Humby MRCP, PhD trained at University College London Medical School and graduated in 1997 with honors and a first class intercalated BSc in Genetics. During her higher medical training in rheumatology she was recruited to the laboratories of Professor Pitzalis and undertook a PhD examining the clinical and immunological significance of ectopic lymphoneogenesis within the rheumatoid synovial membrane, data from which reported ex vivo functionality of synovial ectopic lymphoid structures. She was then appointed as a Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Clinical Rheumatology within the Centre for Experimental Medicine and Rheumatology (EMR), William Harvey Research Institute, Barts and the London School of Medicine in 2010. Her research interests are translational and focused primarily on RA in particular on synovial pathobiological markers of prognosis in early disease and on the identification of synovial biomarkers of response/resistance to biologic drugs.


Group members
Dr Arti Mahto; Dr Maria DiCicco



Key Publications

  • F. Humby et al Evaluating the histopathological response to RA therapy using ultrasound guided small joint biopsy: Recommendations for application to clinical trials. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2015 Jun 19. doi: 10.1002/art.39235. [Epub ahead of print]
  • F. Humby et al Evaluation of Minimally Invasive, Ultrasound-guided Synovial Biopsy Techniques by the OMERACT Filter-determining Validation Requirements. J Rheumatol. 2015 Jun 1. pii: jrheum.141199. [Epub ahead of print]
  • S Kelly, F Humby et al Ultrasound-guided synovial biopsy: a safe, well-tolerated and reliable technique for obtaining high-quality synovial tissue from both large and small joints in early arthritis patients.  Ann Rheum Dis. 2015 Mar;74(3):611 doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-204603
  • S. Kelly, M. Bombardieri, F.Humby et al Angiogenic gene expression and vascular density are reflected in ultrasonographic features of synovitis in early rheumatoid arthritis: an observational study. Arthritis Res Ther. 2015 Mar 13;17:58. doi: 10.1186/s13075-015-0567-8
  • I. Lazarou, M. D’Agostino, E. Naredo, F. Humby et al. Ultrasound-guided synovial biopsy: a systematic review according to the OMERACT filter and recommendations for minimal reporting standards in clinical studies. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2015 May 28. [Epub ahead of print]
  • S. Bugatti, A. Manzo, B Vitolo, F Benaglio, E Binda, M Scarabelli1 , F Humby et al. High expression levels of the B cell chemoattractant CXCL13 in rheumatoid synovium are a marker of severe disease. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2014 Oct;53(10):1886-95
    C Pitzalis, S Kelly and F Humby. New Learnings on the pathophysiology of RA from synovial biopsies. Current Opinion in Rheumatology. 2013 May;25 (3):334-44
  • Croia C, Serafini B, Bombardieri M, Kelly S, Humby F et al. Epstein-Barr virus persistence and infection of autoreactive plasma cells in synovial lymphoid structures in rheumatoid arthritis. Ann Rheum Dis. 2013 Sep 1;72(9):1559-68 doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2012-202352
  • Manzo A, Bombardieri M, Humby F, Pitzalis C. Secondary and ectopic lymphoid tissue responses in rheumatoid arthritis: from inflammation to autoimmunity and tissue damage/remodelling. Immunol Rev. 2010 Jan;233(1):267-85 DOI: 10.1111/j.0105-2896.2009.00861.x
  • F. Humby et al. Ectopic lymphoid structures support ongoing production of class-switched autoantibodies in rheumatoid synovium. PLoS Med. 2009 Jan 13;6(1) doi:  10.1371/journal.pmed.0060001
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