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Dufton Lab


Dr Dufton's research centres on the adaptability and plasticity of blood vessels, and particularly the cells that line them, termed endothelial cells are fundamental to both vascular and tissue development, homeostasis and disease pathogenesis. He aims to understand the molecular mechanisms that give rise to disease-associated endothelial phenotypes, such as endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EndMT), in models of inflammation and fibrosis. 

Neil has a keen interest communicating his research through art and public engagement projects. These include an interactive game about cell specialisation, I Cell, working with animator (Genetic Moo) to involve participants in Battle of Blister (part of a Wellcome Large arts grant) and knitting blood vessels (Blood Lines). Neil also produces Sciart and has had his images displayed in the National Geographic, the cover of the Journal of Histopathology and has two of his illustrations curated by the Wellcome Image Collection.



Neil Dufton

Group Leader

My PhD is focusing on protein trafficking in the endothelium, and the consequences it can have on vascular function. Proteins of particular interest are JAM-C and NRP1.

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Tom Mithcell

PhD Student



Dr Sammy El Mansi

Postdoctoral Researcher

I am interested in the immunological consequences of a single nucleotide polymorphism within the ACKR1 gene which is prevalent in African populations.

Dr Caroline Anderson

Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr Maryna Samus

Postdoctoral Researcher


My research aims to understand the role of atypical chemokine receptors in the alteration of the immune system and subsequent impacts on tumour growth and progression.


The Dufton group has just been established and will be recruiting soon!

My PhD is focused on investigating the expression and function of ACKR4 in the heart. My work aims to characterise localisation and cell type expression of ACKR4, as well as its effect on heart function and health.


Stefan Russo

PhD Student


Physician Surgeon (UNAM, Mexico); MSc. Regenerative Medicine (QMUL, London) 

Current research:

Exosomes and biomaterials for heart failure. Other interests: Immunology, 3D printing, patient specific implants & biofabrication.


Dr Esteban Ortega

PhD Student

I am a Cardiology SpR based at Barts Hospital and am currently undertaking a PhD investigating the efficacy of stem-cell therapy in patients with DCM.


Dr Mohsin Hussain

PhD Student


Fields of research interest:

Tissue engineering, stem cell therapy



Biomaterials design for epicardial placement of mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of myocardial infarction 

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Yaqi You

PhD Student

Graduate of The University of Aberdeen (BSc Sport & Exercise Science) and Queen Mary University of London (MRes Inflammation) with an interest in the role of M2-like macrophages in cardiac repair after myocardial infarction.



Mihai Podaru

PhD Student


The transcription factor ERG regulates a low shear stress-induced anti-thrombotic pathway in the microvasculature

Nature Communications, 2019 (10; 5014)

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

Dynamic regulation of canonical TGFβ signalling by endothelial transcription factor ERG protects from liver fibrogenesis

Nature Communications, 2017 (8; 895)

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

The endothelial transcription factor ERG mediates Angiopoietin-1-dependent control of Notch signalling and vascular stability

Nature Communications, 2017 (18; 16002)

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

Molecular dynamics studies on the DNA-binding process of ERG

Molecular Biosystems, 2016 (12; 3600-3610)

Beuerle MG, Dufton NP, Randi AM and Gould IR

The endothelial transcription factor ERG promotes vascular stability and growth through Wnt/β-catenin signaling

Developmental Cell, 2015 (32; 82-96)

Birdsey GM, Shah AV, Dufton N, Reynolds LE, Osuna Almagro L, Yang Y, Aspalter IM, Khan ST, Mason JC, Dejana E, Göttgens B, Hodivala-Dilke K, Gerhardt H, Adams RH and Randi AM

Hydrogen sulfide and resolution of acute inflammation: A comparative study utilizing a novel fluorescent probe

Scientific Reports, 2012 (2; 499)

Dufton N, Natividad J, Verdu EF and Wallace JL

Anti-inflammatory role of the murine formyl-peptide receptor 2: ligand-specific effects on leukocyte responses and experimental inflammation

The Journal of Immunology, 2010 (184; 2611-2619)

Dufton N, Hannon R, Brancaleone V, Dalli J, Patel HB, Gray M, D'Acquisto F, Buckingham JC, Perretti M and Flower RJ

You can see our full publication list here. If you cannot access any of our papers, please do contact us, we would be happy to share a copy.


CMR Researchers support fight against COVID-19

Milton Keynes, April 2020

Two of the CMR's research group leaders are volunteering their time and expertise to help the government ramp up COVID-19 diagnostics. Dr James Whiteford and Dr Neil Dufton are both assisting in the Milton Keynes diagnostic 'Lighthouse Lab'. This specialist lab has been set up in three weeks through the support of volunteer scientists, the Ministry of Defence, and equipment loaned by the local scientific community. Dr Whiteford and Dr Dufton can be spotted in an ITV News piece, explaining how the lab aims to push diagnostic capacity up to 100,000 tests per day.

See the full ITV News piece here.



Investigating the therapeutic potential of disease-associated endothelial cells in chronic liver disease

Funded by Bart's Charity

In collaboration with Dr William Alazawi (co-applicant), Reader & Consultant in Hepatology at the Blizard Institute, this project aims to assess the prevalence and role of endothelial-to-mesenchymal-transition (EndMT) in patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). We hypothesis that EndMT is an early, reversible, hallmark of switching from healthy to disease-associated EC that arise during the development of liver disease.



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