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Dr Mark Ponsford BAHons (Oxon), MRCP (UK), MSc Medical Immunology (King's College)

Dr Mark Ponsford

BAHons (Oxon), MRCP (UK), MSc Medical Immunology (King's College)

Specialist Trainee in Clinical Immunology and WCAT Fellow

Email
ponsfordm@cardiff.ac.uk
Campuses
Tenovus Building, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XN

I am a physician scientist training in Clinical Immunology at the Immunodeficiency Centre for Wales, Cardiff, United Kingdom (UK). During academic core medical training I have helped reveal a novel association between the antipsychotic clozapine and antibody deficiency, and our multi-disclipinary team have recently been awarded funding from Health & Care Research Wales to validate this and explore its clinical and health economic implications (via the Research for Patient and Public Benefit, RfPPB, Scheme).

Whilst a specialist immunology trainee I have helped setup and coordinate the Burden of Infection in Primary Antibody Deficiency (BIPAD) study. By performing detailed longitudinal symptom and pathogen profiling in patients and healthy controls, we have charted the difference in symptoms and infections that remains despite current medical therapies. 

My recent award of a Welsh Clinical Academic Track (WCAT) Lectureship offers a unique opportunity to develop skills in translational medicine and contribute these to obtaining insights from rare monogenic diseases. I am particularly interested in how mutations in the STAT3 gene lead to multi-system effects from immune deficiency, infection, to widespread vascular abnormalities (tortuosity, ectasia, and aneurysms). By working with patients, clinicians, and researchers around the world, I aim to help develop targeted therapies and improve outcomes for these individuals. The mechanisms revealed by these conditions may also help shape how we approach everyday illnesses from atherosclerosis to osteoporosis.

Honours and awards

  • Travel Award, European Society for Immunodeficiencies (2020)
  • Wellcome Trust ISSF3 Clinical Primer Award (2019)
  • ESID Summer School in Clinical Immunology (2017)
  • Masters in Medical Immunology, King's College London (Distinction; Outstanding Project Prize- 2018)
  • EAACI Junior Taskforce Lead (2016/17)
  • Bachelor of Medicine & Surgery, Oxford University (Distinction; Prize Viva- 2011)
  • Bachelor of Arts, Molecular Medicine, Oxford University (2i - 2008)

Professional memberships

  • Association of Clinical Pathologists
  • British Medical Association
  • British Society for Immunology
  • Diplomate of the Royal College of Pathologists
  • European Society for Immunodeficiencies (ESID)
  • European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI)
  • Member of the Royal College of Physicians, UK
  • Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland
  • Registered with the General Medical Council 

Academic positions

  • 2012-13: Academic Foundation Trainee, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board
  • 2013-16: Academic Core Medical Trainee (Honorary Research Associate), Cardiff University/NHS Wales
  • 2016-18: Specialist Trainee Clinical Immunology, Cardiff & Vale University Healthy Board
  • 2018- present: Welsh Clinical Academic Trainee (WCAT) Clinical Lecturer

Speaking engagements

  • Targeting STAT3 signalling to improve cardiovascular outcomes in rare and common disease. Selected for oral presentation, Cardiff University 34th Postgraduate Research Day - Cardiff, 24th January 2020.
  • Burden of Infection in Primary Antibody Deficiency BIPAD: Preliminary Update. Invited keynote speaker, Swedish National Infection Conference- Jonkoping, 17th May 2019
  • Coronary aneurysms in STAT3 hyper IgE syndrome despite haematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Selected for oral presentation, ESID- Lisbon, 24-27 October 2018.
  • Expect the unexpected (a novel STAT1 gain of function mutation, highlighting opportunities for targeted therapy). Selected for oral presentation, ESID- Lisbon, 24-27 October 2018.
  • SIFD syndrome (TRNT-1 deficiency) is associated with accelerated shortening of telomere lengths in peripheral blood. Poster presentation ESID- Lisbon, 24-27 October 2018. 
  • Introduction for Research and Rare Diseases for Medical Students (Cardiff University, 2016- present)
  • Immunology and Allergy for Dental Students (Cardiff University, 2016- present)
  • Undergraduate Medical Teaching Programme - using the innovative "Tutemate" platform, Project Coordinator (2013-16)
  • Member of the Question Writing Group, Cardiff University (2014-15)
  • Embryology tutor (Hertford and Exeter Colleges, 2006-7)