Charlie Lees is a consultant gastroenterologist at the Western General Hospital, Edinburgh and honorary senior lecturer at the University of Edinburgh. He trained at University College London and subsequently in Edinburgh, with doctoral studies in the GI Unit at the Western General Hospital. He was awarded the prestigious ASNEMGE (now UEG) European Rising Star in Gastroenterology Award in 2009. His major clinical, research and teaching interest is inflammatory bowel disease.
He has been centrally involved with the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation (ECCO; committee member of SciCom 2015 – 2018; EduCom 2009 – 2013), is CSO Scottish Specialty Lead for Gastroenterology and sits on the British Society of Gastroenterology IBD Research Committee.
His major research activities are at the translational interface between basic science and direct clinical application. These include the genetics and pharmacogenetics of IBD (member of Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium, UKIBDGC and current co-chair of the International IIBD Genetics Consortium management committee), the role of diet, nutrition and the gut microbiota in disease aetiopathogenesis and prognosis, IBD therapeutics, monitoring and e-health. Two major cohort studies are at the center of these efforts. The GEM study, which has just successfully closed to recruitment (n=5000 healthy first degree relatives of patients with Crohn’s disease), aims to find the environmental and microbial causes / triggers of Crohn’s disease. Charlie has led and co-ordinated the substantial UK contribution to GEM. Charlie is chief investigator of the PREdiCCt study. PREdiCCt aims to discover the cause of disease flares in Crohn’s disease and UC, in the process identifying prognostic factors and modifiable environmental and microbial elements that can be targeted in future interventiona studies. PREDiCCt is the largest prospective cohort study running in the UK and the only current longitudinal effort worldwide with sufficient microbial and dietary data to tackle this vital unmet need for patients with IBD (ie what causes disease flare? Can we predict who will flare? Can we prevent disease flare and maintain long-term remission?)
Charlie’s major teaching activities include organizing the year 4 medical student gastroenterology module (University of Edinburgh), previous director of the ECCO Advanced IBD Course, the ECCO-CIMF Chinese Masterclass in IBD, the United European Gastroenterology (UEG) Summer School and Young Investigators Programme, and the Wellcome Trust Advanced Course in Genomic Medicine for Clinicians.
Conflicts of interest statement
Dr Charlie Lees has received research support from Abbvie and Shire, acted as a consultant to Abbvie, MSD, Hospira, Pharmacosmos, Takeda, Vifor Pharma and Dr Falk and received speaking fees and travel support from Pfizer, Abbvie, MSD, Takeda, Shire, Ferring, Hospira, Warner-Chilcott and Dr Falk.