Dr Helena Marzo-Ortega

Rheumatologist, Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust and University of Leeds,

Executive Committee

Dr Helena Marzo Ortega

Helena Marzo-Ortega (LMS MRCP PhD), is a Consultant Rheumatologist for the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and an Honorary Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Leeds. She is the Clinical Lead of the award winning Leeds Spondyloarthropathy service at the Section of Musculoskeletal (MSK) Disease.

Her academic activity is largely focused on translational research where her main areas of interest are early arthritis and spondyloarthritis including psoriatic arthritis, with a special focus on the role of imaging biomarkers and biologic therapies.

Dr Marzo-Ortega has published extensively in high-impact journals and has written multiple chapters in text books. She currently combines her clinical activity with an active membership of different working groups within EULAR and OMERACT. Helena is a founding member and trustee of the British Society for Rheumatology (BRITSpA); a member of the Executive Committee of ASAS; a member of the Heberden Committee of the British Society for Rheumatology and sits on the Medical Advisory Board of the UK National Ankylosing Spondylitis patient Society (NASS) and the Spondylitis Association of America (SAA). She is also member of the steering committee of the Leeds Female Leaders Network, which aims to bring and support women into academia. Helena has been part of the Scientific Committee of the International Spondylarthritides Congress since 2008 and was co-President of the 11thInternational Congress in Gent in 2018.

Professor Karl Gaffney

Rheumatologist, Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital NHS
Foundation Trust, Norwich

Vice-chair and
Executive Committee

Kark Gaffney

Karl Gaffney (MB, BCh, BAO Hons, FRCPI, FRCP) has been a Consultant Rheumatologist in Norwich since 1995 where he has established a large multisciplinary service for over 1000 patients with axial SpA (including AS).He has also been Clinical Director for Rheumatology services since 2009. He is chairman of the British Society for Rheumatology axial SpA Biologics Guidelines Committee, medical advisor and trustee of the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society (NASS), and a founder member and treasurer of BRITSpA. He has also represented the BSR and NASS at the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) appraisals of anti-TNF therapies since 2007.

He has co-developed primary and secondary care educational programmes for healthcare professionals working in the field of axial SpA. These include Back Pain Seminars, Meeting in a Box and Back in Focus. These initiatives have been awarded national and European awards for excellence in healthcare communication during 2014. His current research interests include epidemiology, prevalence, diagnostic delay and dose modification of biologics. He is the author of over 50 original papers and has been an invited speaker at national and international meetings.

Professor Alex Bennett

Rheumatologist, Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre,
Headley Court

Executive Committee

Andrew Keat

Alexander Bennett is a Consultant Rheumatologist at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre, Headley Court and Honorary Consultant at Guys and St Thomas’ Teaching Hospitals and Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Leeds.

His main area of clinical rheumatology and research interest is spondyloarthritis. His PhD was in diagnostic and prognostic imaging in spondyloarthritis and he has published and lectured at national and international conferences in this area. He is a member of International Society of Assessment in Ankylosing Spondylitis (ASAS) and is part of the ASAS MRI working Group.

Dr Stefan Siebert

Rheumatologist, University of Glasgow,

External relations member
Executive Committee

Stefan Siebert

Stefan Siebert is a Clinical Senior Lecturer in Inflammation and Rheumatology at the Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation at the University of Glasgow. He also works as Honorary Consultant Rheumatologist in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. He qualified at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. He trained as rheumatologist and obtained his PhD (TNF Receptor signalling) in Cardiff University. He worked for 6 years as Senior Lecturer in Rheumatology at Swansea University, before moving to Glasgow in September 2012.

Dr Siebert leads the Spondyloarthritis and Psoriatic Arthritis clinical research programme in Glasgow and is also involved in studies investigating underlying disease mechanisms and new therapies in RA. He has been lead investigator on a number of commercial and non-commercial clinical trials, including an MRC-funded AS cohort study. He is the current chair of the Arthritis Research UK Progress Review Committee, and member of the Arthritis Research UK Spondyloarthropathy Clinical Specialty Group and the BSR axial Spondyloarthritis Biologics guideline groups. He is on the Executive Steering committees of both BRIT-SpA and BRIT-PACT (British SpA and PsA societies, respectively).  His clinical work includes specialist AS, PsA and tertiary referral academic clinics. Teaching roles include local lead for the Rheumatology component of Musculoskeletal Clinical Teaching and the immunology component of the intercalated BSc (MedSci) for undergraduate medical students.

Dr Raj Sengupta

Rheumatologist, Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases,

IT member
Executive Committee

Raj Sengupta

Raj Sengupta trained at the Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead, London and undertook specialist training locally in Bath. He specialises in Rheumatology and currently is employed as a Consultant Rheumatologist at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Bath.

His sub speciality interest is axial spondyloarthritis (including ankylosing spondylitis). He is the lead Consultant for ankylosing spondylitis patients, Rheumatology Lead and Director for R&D at the RNHRD, Bath. He treats over 250 patients a month with arthritis, approximately half of whom suffer with ankylosing spondylitis. He is the principal investigator in a number of national and international clinical trials in Ankylosing Spondylitis. He has participated in epidemiological research projects during his training and has publications on ankylosing spondylitis in peer reviewed journals.

He is a member of the BSR Biologics Guidelines Group, member of the Arthritis UK Spondyloarthritis Clinical Studies Group and a member of the international axial SpA interest group, ASAS.

Dr Gareth Jones

Epidemiologist, Aberdeen

Executive Committee Member


Gareth Jones (PhD) trained in epidemiology at the University of Manchester where he gained his PhD for research examining the aetiology of low back pain in schoolchildren.  Following this, he was appointed as a Lecturer in Rheumatic Disease Epidemiology in Manchester and worked on a number of studies examining the aetiology and outcome of musculoskeletal pain disorders.  He moved to Aberdeen in 2005 to take up the position of Senior Lecturer, and latterly Reader of Epidemiology and Deputy Head of the Epidemiology Group.

Gareth’s main research interests are in the epidemiology and outcome of musculoskeletal disorders, with a major focus on spondyloarthritis.  He is one of the lead investigators of SIRAS (the Scotland Registry for Ankylosing Spondylitis) and the BSRBR-AS (the British Society for Rheumatology Biologics Register in Ankylosing Spondylitis).  He is also chief investigator of DyNAMISM , a large UK-wide study of the role of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and MRI in spondyloarthritis, and of the BSRBR-AS’s sister register in psoriatic arthritis, the BSRBR-PsA.

He was a member of the BSR and BHPR Standards, Guidelines and Audit Working Group for the treatment of axial spondyloarthritis (including ankylosing spondylitis) with biologics, and is a member of the Assessment of Spondyloarthritis International Society (ASAS).

Dr Jane Martindale

Physiotherapist, Wrightington

Executive Committee Member


Dr Jane Martindale (PhD, BA, Grad Dip Phys) is a Chartered Physiotherapist working at WrightingtonWigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust and has specialised in spondyloarthritis for over 35years. Having completed her National Institute of Health Research Clinical Lectureship, she currently holds a clinical academic post. She is actively involved in research and holds Honorary Researcher positions at both Lancaster and Edge Hill Universities. She is also an Associate of R and D NHS North West which gives further opportunities to develop networks of like-minded colleagues who share a passion for research. She completed her PhD in 2008 which investigated disease severity and psychological status in Ankylosing Spondylitis. Her current research focuses on the challenges of living with this condition throughout the life course.  She has presented at major clinical conferences both nationally and internationally and has several publications.


Jane is passionate about making research ‘real’ within clinical practice and a first step after her PhD was to initiate a research network of physiotherapists from the North West of England who have a special interest in AS (ASSIGNw). The group meet on a regular basis sharing best practice and contributing to small research projects. She is a member of AStretch (a national network of specialist physiotherapists in AS) and works on projects in conjunction with the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society (NASS) which educate physiotherapists and health care professionals to improve early diagnosis and management of spondyloarthritis.

Dr Andrew Keat

Rheumatologist, Northwick Park Hospital,

Executive Committee

Andrew Keat

Andrew Keat (MD, FRCP) is a Consultant Rheumatologist at Northwick Park Hospital in London. After undertaking research on infectious mechanisms in aseptic arthritis at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology and the Clinical Research Centre in London, he was appointed Senior Lecturer in Clinical Rheumatology at the Westminster Medical School and subsequently Reader in Clinical Rheumatology at the merged Charing Cross and Westminster medical School.

He moved to his present post in 1995. As Clinical Director of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Rehabilitation he established a new unit at Northwick Park hospital which won the Hospital Doctor Rheumatology Department of the Year award in 2004.

Andrew Keat is a Trustee of the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society (NASS) and was formerly chairman of the British Society for Rheumatology’s (BSR) group responsible for producing guidelines concerning the use of tumour necrosis factor blockade therapy in Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS). He has published widely on infective mechanisms in inflammatory arthritis and on clinical aspects of spondyloarthritidies. In addition to lecturing widely, Andrew Keat has received the Michael Mason medal (1987 BSR), the Lettsomian medal (1990 Medical Society of London) and the NASS-Frink award (2005 NASS). He was the BSR’s Heberden Roundsman in 2008.

Dr Mohammad Derakhshan

University of Glasgow, Glasgow

Research Associate


Mohammad H Derakhshan, MD, MD (UK), FRSPH is a clinical epidemiologist who joined BRITSpA in 2016.  He graduated from medical school on 1994, and has worked as epidemiologist, medical practitioner and research fellow in gastrointestinal studies for almost ten years. Mohammad gained a second MD degree in 2004-8 from University of Glasgow. Although design and conduction of population-based and clinical epidemiological studies was his main interest, Mohammad has been in training for histopathology, particularly of gastrointestinal cancers.

Dr Derakhshan has lectured in the topics of Pharmacology, Pathology and Epidemiology in recent years at University of Glasgow. He has published more than sixty manuscripts in peer -reviewed journals and acted as a member of editorial board and as reviewer for several medical journals.

Mohammad has started his collaboration with BRITSpA with a project on co-morbidities associated with axial spondylitis, and will expand his contribution to other relevant epidemiological studies in Spondylitis.

Karly Graham

University of East Anglia/NNUH



Karly joined BRITSpA in early 2015.  She has been involved in Rheumatology research since 2008, based at the University of East Anglia and Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, working as administrator on various research studies and undertaking qualitative research in RA, vasculitis and spondyloarthritis.

The BRITSpA Executive Committee (2017-)
Gareth Jones, Raj Sengupta, Helena Marzo-Ortega, Karl Gaffney, Jane Martindale,
Alexander Bennett and Stefan Siebert




 The Inaugural BRITSpA Executive Committee (2013-2017).

 Karl Gaffney, Helena Marzo-Ortega, Andrew Keat,
Raj Sengupta, Alexander Bennett and Stefan Siebert
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