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Professor Kathleen Gillespie

Professor Kathleen Gillespie

Professor Kathleen Gillespie
B.Sc.(Galway), Ph.D.(Wales)

Professor of Molecular Medicine

Area of research

Genetic mechanisms underlying autoimmunity

Diabetes and Metabolism,
Second Floor, Learning and Research BS10 5NB
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 323 5336
+44 (0) 117 41 48058


Kathleen has led Diabetes and Metabolism since November 2014, when she also became Chief Investigator of the Bart's Oxford (BOX) family study of type 1 diabetes. She is a molecular biologist interested in the mechanisms underlying autoimmunity. Her current projects include

  • an international collaborative study of why some children develop type 1 diabetes in the first few years of life while others who have the markers of ongoing islet autoimmunity are not diagnosed until adulthood
  • examining longitudinal genetic and islet autoantibody data from the BOX study to predict outcomes
  • developing new biomarker assays 
  • understanding why children with Down's syndrome are at increased risk of autoimmunity 

Current funding has been provided by Diabetes UK, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International and the European Foundation for the study of diabetes.


  • Autoimmunity Genetics HLA


  • Type 1 diabetes


I am a molecular biologist with a long term interest in the genetic mechanisms underlying autoimmunity. I joined the Diabetes and Metabolism Unit in 1998 as a Non-Clinical Lecturer having worked previously as a post-doctoral researcher at the Academic Renal Unit in Bristol and at the Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge. My current research projects include further analysis of the novel observation that maternal cells have the capacity to differentiate into functional pancreatic beta cells, studies into the role of NK cells in autoimmune diabetes and the immunogenetic characterisation of Diabetes in Down?s Syndrome. Current funding has been obtained from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes.

  • autoimmunity
  • genetic mechanisms
  • maternal cells
  • functional pancreatic beta cells
  • NK cells
  • autoimmune diabetes
  • diabetes
  • Memberships


    Bristol Medical School (THS)

    Other sites

    Academic staff

    Research groupings

    Recent publications

    View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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