Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell

BSc, PhD, DSc, FMedSci, FRS


Photograph of Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell

Contact details:

2.013 AV Hill Building|Oxford Road|Manchester|M13 9PT

Telephone: +44161 306 6010
+44161 275 5357

Research interests

Stroke and brain haemorrhage (bleeding) are common and devastating disorders, during which the blood supply to the brain is reduced or blocked, causing nerve cells to die, which can result in death or disability. We are trying to understand what causes strokes and what happens in the brain when it is deprived of blood and oxygen, to try and find better treatments and preventions. In particular, we now know that inflammation is important in causing brain damage after a stroke/haemorrhage. We have discovered that an inflammatory molecule called interleukin-1 (IL-1 for short) is made quickly by our own cells after infection and is made in the brain after a stroke or injury. We all have a natural blocker of IL-1 called IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RA), which stops IL-1 causing inflammation. Our research suggests that a synthetic form of IL-1RA called Kineret, used to treat arthritis, could be a treatment for stroke and related conditions. We are undertaking laboratory research to better understand how IL-1 causes inflammation and brain damage after a stroke/haemorrhage, and the effects of some common risk factors such as obesity and atherosclerosis. We are also testing whether Kineret can be used to treat stroke/haemorrhage patients.


Highlight publications

  • Singh, N., Hopkins, S., Hulme, S., Galea, J., Hoadley, M., Vail, A., Hutchinson, P., Grainger, S., Rothwell, N., King, A. & Tyrrell, P (2014). The effect of intravenous interleukin-1 receptor antagonist on inflammatory mediators in cerebrospinal fluid after subarachnoid haemorrhage: a phase II randomised controlled trial. J Neuroinflammation, 11(1), 1. eScholarID:216890 | PMID:24383930 | DOI:10.1186/1742-2094-11-1
  • Denes, A., Drake, C., Stordy, J., Chamberlain, J., McColl, B., Gram, H., Crossman, D., Francis, S., Allan, S. & Rothwell, N (2012). Interleukin-1 mediates neuroinflammatory changes associated with diet-induced atherosclerosis. J Am Heart Assoc, 1(3), e002006. eScholarID:182945 | PMID:23130147 | DOI:10.1161/JAHA.112.002006
  • Denes, A., McColl, B., Leow-Dyke, S., Chapman, K., Humphreys, N., Grencis, R., Allan, S. & Rothwell, N (2011). Experimental stroke-induced changes in the bone marrow reveal complex regulation of leukocyte responses. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism, 31(4), 1036. eScholarID:126181 | PMID:21045863 | DOI:10.1038/jcbfm.2010.198
  • Thornton, P., McColl, B., Greenhalgh, A., Denes, A., Allan, S. & Rothwell, N (2010). Platelet interleukin-1{alpha} drives cerebrovascular inflammation. Blood, eScholarID:78635 | PMID:20200351 | DOI:10.1182/blood-2009-11-252643

Full list