Hamez Gacaferi

Hamez Gacaferi

Research Training Fellow

Hamez is a Medical Doctor from the Netherlands who is currently reading a DPhil in Musculoskeletal Sciences at the University of Oxford, for which he was awarded a Dunhill Medical Trust Research Training Fellowship in 2019. Before starting his DPhil, Hamez studied Medicine at Leiden University in the Netherlands, during which he developed a profound interest in orthopaedic surgery and musculoskeletal ageing. During his final year he attended a Research Traineeship at the Botnar Research Center, NDORMS (University of Oxford) where he investigated the redox states of the alarmin high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) in adhesive capsulitis. After graduating in 2018, he worked as a Junior Doctor at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC). In October 2019 Hamez started his DPhil entitled ‘The role of alarmins in inflammation, fibrosis and resolution in adhesive capsulitis’.

Hamez’ research is focused on unravelling the biological mechanisms underpinning adhesive capsulitis (more commonly known as frozen shoulder) with an aim to guide novel therapies in the near future. Adhesive capsulitis is a common disabling joint disease affecting middle aged and elderly patients. Affected patients experience pain and restricted shoulder motion due to inflammation and fibrosis of the shoulder joint capsule. Adhesive capsulitis is often self-limiting, although patients are profoundly symptomatic for up to 3 years prior to the condition resolving. Given that adhesive capsulitis is often self-limiting, it is a tractable disease to therapeutically target. However, the biological processes in adhesive capsulitis remain understudied, hindering development of effective new therapies for symptomatic patients.

This project aims to study the role of alarmins in inflammation, fibrosis and resolution in adhesive capsulitis. Alarmins are danger-associated molecular pattern (DAMP) molecules released at inflammatory sites, which can activate and mobilise the immune system via pattern recognition receptors. Hamez is analysing shoulder capsule tissue samples from patients with adhesive capsulitis using a variety of established laboratory and techniques, including histology, immunostaining, real time quantitative PCR, single cell RNA sequencing and mass spectrometry. The findings of this project will advance the understanding of biological processes underpinning adhesive capsulitis. Understanding why adhesive capsulitis ultimately resolves does not only help to treat this disease in an early stage, it also has translational potential to inform treatments for other inflammatory and fibrotic diseases of ageing.