Dr Mark Ponsford
Specialist Trainee in Clinical Immunology and WCAT Fellow
- Henry Wellcome Building for Biomedical Research, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XN
Mark is a physician scientist training in Clinical Immunology at the Immunodeficiency Centre for Wales, Cardiff, United Kingdom (UK).
His training to date highlights a track record of commitment to excellence in clinical research. Graduating with distinction in Clinical Medicine and degree in Molecular Medicine from Oxford Medical School, he subsequently gained medical registration with the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP UK) with specific placements in respiratory medicine, rheumatology, cardiology, and vascular surgery providing relevant clinical exposure to a career in Clinical Immunology.
Mark recently completed the King’s College Medical Immunology MSc top of the year alongside Part I for the Royal College of Pathology Examinations. These were conducted alongside clinical practice in Cardiff, demonstrating time management, laboratory skills, and capability for cross-site working.
Mark's clinical roles have included coordination of the All-Wales Primary Immunodeficiency Bone Marrow Transplant Multi-disciplinary Team. This setting continues to provide unique insights into extreme and rare manifestations of human illness caused by monogenic disorders, leading to a particularly interest in how mutations in the STAT3 gene lead to multi-system effects from immune deficiency, infection, to widespread vascular abnormalities (tortuosity, ectasia, and aneurysms).
To date, Mark has led development and delivery of 5 REC-approved observational clinical studies, which have all resulted in successful international presentation & publications. This included the first description of clozapine-associated hypogammaglobulinaemia, allowing me to spearhead a successful multi-disciplinary team funding bid for a national validation study (£229k) and win appointment as a Welsh Clinical Academic Trainee (WCAT) Lecturer. Whilst a specialist immunology trainee he also 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, this study charts the difference in symptoms and infections that remains despite current medical therapies.
The COVID-19 pandemic has demanded a pivot in Mark's doctoral study time towards understanding of epidemiological and immunological risk factors for development of severe disease following SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Honours and awards
- Presenter Prize 35th Annual School of Medicine & Dentistry Postgraduate Research Day (2020)
- Association of Clinical Pathologists (UK) Career Development Award (2020)
- 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)
- 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
- 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
- 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.
Committees and reviewing
- Peer reviewer for multiple international journals and the Medical Research Council (MRC).
- 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)