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The Louise Coote Lupus Unit team

Providing a highly specialist service for patients with lupus


Professor David D’Cruz – clinical team lead

David D'Cruz

Professor David D'Cruz is a consultant rheumatologist. He trained at St Mary's Hospital Medical School in London and qualified in 1983.

His clinical and research interests are systemic lupus erythematosus, the antiphospholipid syndrome and systemic vasculitis.

He is actively involved in clinical research projects including clinical trials of new therapies for systemic lupus erthematosus (SLE) and vasculitis. He has published numerous scientific articles and book chapters and is one of the managing editors of the journal Lupus.

Dr Giovanni Sanna – consultant rheumatologist

Giovanni Sanna

Dr Giovanni Sanna graduated from Rome University in 1991 and was awarded his PhD for studies in neuropsychiatric manifestations of lupus.

He was appointed consultant rheumatologist at Guy's and St Thomas' in 2009, having previously worked as a consultant rheumatologist at Homerton University Hospital since 2003.

He formerly trained in the Lupus Unit at St Thomas' under Professor Graham Hughes, and has a special interest in connective tissue diseases and myositis.

His research and publications relate to clinical manifestations and management of neurologic disease in lupus and antiphospholipid syndrome

Professor Tim Vyse – consultant rheumatologist

Tim Vyse

Professor Tim Vyse holds the George Koukis Chair of Molecular Medicine and he is the Director of the International SLE genetics consortium.

He qualified from Cambridge and Guy’s Hospital Medical School and undertook further clinical training in London at Queen Square and Hammersmith Hospital and then a PhD at University of London.

His post-doctoral training was at the National Jewish Center for Immunology in Denver, Colorado. He was thereafter awarded a Wellcome Trust Senior Clinical Fellowship, during which he worked at Imperial College London, becoming Professor of Rheumatology.

He moved to King’s College in 2010, having obtained a personal Chair in Molecular Medicine. He leads a team of internationally renowned researchers in the genetics of lupus which has discovered many new genes associated with the risk of developing lupus. 

Dr Shirish Sangle – specialty doctor

Shirish Sangle

Dr Sangle graduated from Shivaji University in India in 1975 and after extensive experience in India and Oman he has been working in the Lupus Unit first as senior clinical fellow and recently as a specialty doctor.

He is central to the running of the lupus clinical trials programme with Prof D’Cruz and a team of research nurses and he has extensive clinical experience of lupus.

Nursing staff

Kay Blackhall – clinical nurse specialist in lupus

Kay Blackhall

Kay Blackhall trained and qualified at our hospital, and worked in the lupus unit for almost eight years before being promoted to clinical nurse specialist.

She is responsible for nurse-led clinics, the nurse-led lupus helpline and delivering the cytotoxic and biologic infusions in the Day Case Unit.   

Louise Nel – lupus clinical research nurse

Louise Nel is originally from South Africa. She is a highly experienced lupus nurse who works in the lupus clinical trials unit recruiting patients into trials of new therapies in SLE.

She has overall responsibility for co-ordinating clinical research in the lupus unit but also helps out with clinical nurse specialist work.