Imperial College London

Dr Joseph J Boyle

Faculty of MedicineNational Heart & Lung Institute

Clinical Reader in Vascular Molecular Pathology



+44 (0)20 7594 2723joseph.boyle Website




L536ICTEM buildingHammersmith Campus





Joseph Boyle is a Clinical Reader in Molecular Vascular Pathology in the  National Heart and Lung Institute.

Dr Boyle’s research focus is in connecting the functional genomics of macrophage differentiation relevant to human vascular disease. In particular, he focusses on anti-inflammatory, pro-resolution and wound-healing mechanisms. He particularly compares erythrocyte resolution with leukocyte resolution mechanisms. This has yielded very novel insights into gene regulation and 5-6 forthcoming final-author papers are in preparation or being revised. 

Dr Boyle qualified in Pharmacology (Class I Hons, 1988, plus Prize) and Medicine (with Hons, 1991) from the University of Glasgow, in the top few in the year. Work as a junior doctor witnessing fatal cardiovascular disease inspired a career in pathogenesis. He moved to the University of Cambridge and did a PhD with Professors Peter Weissberg and Martin Bennett and Dr David Bowyer. 

Dr Boyle became a BHF Intermediate Clinical Research Fellow with Professor Dorian Haskard working on novel macrophage pro-resolution pathways. Coronary intraplaque haemorrhage is responded to with macrophage phenotype we termed Mhem, which is driven by ATF1. 

Dr Boyle then became a BHF Senior Clinical Research Fellow to develop mechanistic and translational studies of the AMPK-ATF1-Mhem pathway he discovered.  Dr Boyle now heads the growing Macrophage Differentiation research group.  very recent advances have happened in parallel, with papers in the pipeline:

  • Showed that metformin may suppress atherosclerosis in vivo via macrophage AMPK, rather than via an effect on blood glucose.
  • Showed that normal resolution of tissue hemorrhage in vivo requires AMPK and ATF1; and their deficiency results in inflammation and oxidative stress.
  • Showed that chromatin remodelling contributes to the specificity of gene activation distinguishing leukocyte resolution from erythrocyte resolution. 

He is fully clinically trained in histopathology, mainly at Cambridge, and specialised in cardiovascular and renal pathology. He then moved to Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College London for six years as a full-time pathologist with an interest in renal / cardiovascular pathology. he continues to hold Specialist registration in Histopathology. This background, as well as the pharmacological possibilities, informs his research.

Recent awards

British Atherosclerosis Society John French Lecture

University of Glasgow Tenovus Lecture

Multiple national and international invited seminars.

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Wan X, Huo Y, Johns M, et al., 2013, 5 '-AMP-Activated Protein Kinase-Activating Transcription Factor 1 Cascade Modulates Human Monocyte-Derived Macrophages to Atheroprotective Functions in Response to Heme or Metformin, Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, Vol:33, ISSN:1079-5642, Pages:2470-2480

Boyle JJ, Johns M, Kampfer T, et al., 2011, Activating Transcription Factor 1 Directs Mhem Atheroprotective Macrophages Through Coordinated Iron Handling and Foam Cell Protection., Circulation Research

Boyle JJ, Johns M, Lo J, et al., 2011, Heme Induces Heme Oxygenase 1 via Nrf2 Role in the Homeostatic Macrophage Response to Intraplaque Hemorrhage, Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, Vol:31, ISSN:1079-5642, Pages:2685-U826

Boyle JJ, Harrington HA, Piper E, et al., 2009, Coronary Intraplaque Hemorrhage Evokes a Novel Atheroprotective Macrophage Phenotype, American Journal of Pathology, Vol:174, ISSN:0002-9440, Pages:1097-1108

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