Dr Neil Dufton

Neil Dufton

Lecturer in Inflammatory Sciences

The William Harvey Research Institute
Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London


Endothelial to mesenchymal transition, Vascular biology, Endothelial heterogeneity, Liver fibrosis, NASH

Cardiovascular Models, Infectious Disease and Inflammation Models


My lab is interested in determining the role of vascular heterogeneity in health and disease. During chronic fibrotic disease, such as heart failure and liver cirrhosis, vascular endothelial cells undergo drastic changes, disrupting tissue-specific vascular patterning and leading to vascular and tissue dysfunction. Our research has revealed that a process termed endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EndMT) is a central mediator of the endothelial plasticity associated with fibrosis. We have successfully developed novel reporters that enable us to track and assess EndMT occurring in real-time. Using Liver-On-A-Chip platforms we have shown dynamic behaviours of EndMT cells for the first time in models of liver fibrosis and NASH-like microenvironments (Whiteford et al., 2022). We aim to apply our EndMT reporters to develop tissue and disease-specific Organ-On-A-Chip drug screening platforms that can identify new therapeutic approaches to reverse vascular dysfunction and fibrosis.


Publications of specific relevance to Predictive in vitro Models


Schafer CM, Martin-Almedina S, Kurylowicz K, Dufton N, Osuna-Almagro L, Wu M-L, Johnson CF, Shah AV, Haskard DO, Buxton A, Willis E, Wheeler K, Turner S, Chlebicz M, Scott RP, Kovats S, Cleuren A, Birdsey GM, Randi AM and Griffin CT (2023). Cytokine-Mediated Degradation of the Transcription Factor ERG Impacts the Pulmonary Vascular Response to Systemic Inflammatory Challenge. Wolters Kluwer  Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology  vol. 43, (8) 1412-1428. 10.1161/atvbaha.123.318926


Ward EJ, Bert S, Fanti S, Malone KM, Maughan RT, Gkantsinikoudi C, Prin F, Volpato LK, Piovezan AP, Graham GJ, Dufton NP, Perretti M, Marelli-Berg FM and Nadkarni S (2022). Placental Inflammation Leads to Abnormal Embryonic Heart Development. Wolters Kluwer  Circulation  vol. 147, (12) 956-972. 10.1161/circulationaha.122.061934
Gomez-Salinero JM, Itkin T, Houghton S, Badwe C, Lin Y, Kalna V, Dufton N, Peghaire CR, Yokoyama M, Wingo M, Lu TM, Li G, Xiang JZ, Hsu Y-MS, Redmond D, Schreiner R, Birdsey GM, Randi AM and Rafii S (2022). Cooperative ETS transcription factors enforce adult endothelial cell fate and cardiovascular homeostasis. Springer Nature  Nature Cardiovascular Research  vol. 1, (10) 882-899. 10.1038/s44161-022-00128-3
Whiteford J, Arokiasamy S, Thompson C, Alazawi W and Dufton N (2022). FRI198 Investigating the function of Endothelial-To-Mesenchymal transition during liver fibrogenesis using a Liver-On-A-Chip platform. Elsevier  Journal of Hepatology  vol. 77, 10.1016/s0168-8278(22)01308-3
Whiteford J, Arokiasamy S, Thompson CL and Dufton NP (2022). Novel application of live imaging to determine the functional cell biology of endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EndMT) within a liver-on-a-chip platform. Springer Nature  In Vitro Models  vol. 1, (6) 413-421. 10.1007/s44164-022-00034-9


Dufton NP, Peghaire CR, Osuna-Almagro L, Raimondi C, Kalna V, Chauhan A, Webb G, Yang Y, Birdsey GM, Lalor P, Mason JC, Adams DH and Randi AM (2020). Author Correction: Dynamic regulation of canonical TGFβ signalling by endothelial transcription factor ERG protects from liver fibrogenesis (Nature Communications, (2017), 8, 1, (895), 10.1038/s41467-017-01169-0). Nature Communications  vol. 11, (1) 10.1038/s41467-017-01169-0


Peghaire C, Dufton NP, Lang M, Salles-Crawley II, Ahnström J, Kalna V, Raimondi C, Pericleous C, Inuabasi L, Kiseleva R, Muzykantov VR, Mason JC, Birdsey GM and Randi AM (2019). The transcription factor ERG regulates a low shear stress-induced anti-thrombotic pathway in the microvasculature. Springer Nature  Nature Communications  vol. 10, (1) 10.1038/s41467-019-12897-w


Issitt T, Bosseboeuf E, De Winter N, Dufton N, Gestri G, Senatore V, Chikh A, Randi AM and Raimondi C (2018). Neuropilin-1 Controls Endothelial Homeostasis by Regulating Mitochondrial Function and Iron-Dependent Oxidative Stress. Elsevier  Iscience  vol. 11, 205-223. 10.1016/j.isci.2018.12.005
Nowak-Sliwinska P, Alitalo K, Allen E, Anisimov A, Aplin AC, Auerbach R, Augustin HG, Bates DO, van Beijnum JR, Bender RHF, Bergers G, Bikfalvi A, Bischoff J, Böck BC, Brooks PC, Bussolino F, Cakir B, Carmeliet P, Castranova D, Cimpean AM, Cleaver O, Coukos G, Davis GE, De Palma M, Dimberg A, Dings RPM, Djonov V, Dudley AC, Dufton NP and Fendt SM (2018). Consensus guidelines for the use and interpretation of angiogenesis assays. Angiogenesis  vol. 21, (3) 425-532. 10.1007/s10456-018-9613-x


Dufton NP, Peghaire CR, Osuna-Almagro L, Raimondi C, Kalna V, Chauhan A, Webb G, Yang Y, Birdsey GM, Lalor P, Mason JC, Adams DH and Randi AM (2017). Dynamic regulation of canonical TGFβ signalling by endothelial transcription factor ERG protects from liver fibrogenesis. Springer Nature  Nature Communications  vol. 8, (1) 10.1038/s41467-017-01169-0
Perbellini F, Watson SA, Scigliano M, Alayoubi S, Tkach S, Bardi I, Quaife N, Kane C, Dufton NP, Simon A, Sikkel MB, Faggian G, Randi AM, Gorelik J, Harding SE and Terracciano CM (2017). Investigation of cardiac fibroblasts using myocardial slices. Oxford University Press (Oup)  Cardiovascular Research  vol. 114, (1) 77-89. 10.1093/cvr/cvx152
Shah AV, Birdsey GM, Peghaire C, Pitulescu ME, Dufton NP, Yang Y, Weinberg I, Osuna Almagro L, Payne L, Mason JC, Gerhardt H, Adams RH and Randi AM (2017). The endothelial transcription factor ERG mediates Angiopoietin-1-dependent control of Notch signalling and vascular stability. Springer Nature  Nature Communications  vol. 8, (1) 10.1038/ncomms16002


Beuerle MG, Dufton NP, Randi AM and Gould IR (2016). Molecular dynamics studies on the DNA-binding process of ERG. Royal Society of Chemistry (Rsc)  Molecular Omics  vol. 12, (12) 3600-3610. 10.1039/c6mb00506c


Birdsey GM, Shah AV, Dufton N, Reynolds LE, Almagro LO, Yang Y, Aspalter IM, Khan ST, Mason JC, Dejana E, Göttgens B, Hodivala-Dilke K, Gerhardt H, Adams RH and Randi AM (2015). The Endothelial Transcription Factor ERG Promotes Vascular Stability and Growth through Wnt/β-Catenin Signaling. Elsevier  Developmental Cell  vol. 32, (1) 82-96. 10.1016/j.devcel.2014.11.016


Vong L, Ferraz JGP, Dufton N, Panaccione R, Beck PL, Sherman PM, Perretti M and Wallace JL (2012). Up-Regulation of Annexin-A1 and Lipoxin A4 in Individuals with Ulcerative Colitis May Promote Mucosal Homeostasis. Plos One  vol. 7, (6) 10.1371/journal.pone.0039244


Dufton N, Hannon R, Brancaleone V, Dalli J, Patel HB, Gray M, D'Acquisto F, Buckingham JC, Perretti M and Flower RJ (2011). Corrections: Anti-Inflammatory Role of the Murine Formyl-Peptide Receptor 2: Ligand-Specific Effects on Leukocyte Responses and Experimental Inflammation. The American Association of Immunologists  The Journal of Immunology  vol. 186, (4) 2684-2685. 10.4049/jimmunol.1090139


Maderna P, Cottell DC, Toivonen T, Dufton N, Dalli J, Perretti M and Godson C (2010). FPR2/ALX receptor expression and internalization are critical for lipoxin A4 and annexin-derived peptide-stimulated phagocytosis. Faseb J  vol. 24, (11) 4240-4249. 10.1096/fj.10-159913
Dufton N and Perretti M (2010). Therapeutic anti-inflammatory potential of formyl-peptide receptor agonists. Pharmacol Ther  vol. 127, (2) 175-188. 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2010.04.010
Dufton N, Hannon R, Brancaleone V, Dalli J, Patel HB, Gray M, D'Acquisto F, Buckingham JC, Perretti M and Flower RJ (2010). Anti-inflammatory role of the murine formyl-peptide receptor 2: ligand-specific effects on leukocyte responses and experimental inflammation. J Immunol  vol. 184, (5) 2611-2619. 10.4049/jimmunol.0903526
Yazid S, Ayoub SS, Solito E, McArthur S, Vo P, Dufton N and Flower RJ (2010). Anti-allergic drugs and the Annexin-A1 system. Pharmacol Rep  vol. 62, (3) 511-517. 10.1016/s1734-1140(10)70307-8


Dufton NP, Hannon R, Perretti M and Flower R (2009). Quantitative Analysis of Promoter Activity by Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) Target/Reporter Strategy in a Novel Transgenic alx/fpr-rs2 Null Mouse. Springer Nature  Inflammation Research  vol. 58, (Suppl 2) s252-s255. 10.1007/bf03354231
Maione F, Paschalidis N, Mascolo N, Dufton N, Perretti M and D'Acquisto F (2009). Interleukin 17 sustains rather than induces inflammation. Biochem Pharmacol  vol. 77, (5) 878-887. 10.1016/j.bcp.2008.11.011