Liver Disease is the one chronic disorder that's increasing in frequency with a steady rise in deaths each year.

Professor Roger Williams CBE

Dr Sandra Phillips

Team Leader

Viral Hepatitis Team

Senior Lecturer (Adj), Kings College London

Contact Dr Sandra Phillips


Dr Phillips is Team Leader for Viral Hepatitis within the Liver Immunilogy Group at the Roger Williams Institute of Hepatology.




Understanding the intricacies of the immune and cellular response to Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is key to finding a cure for persistence infection caused by this virus. The Phillips Team is dedicated to identifying and unravelling these complex processes that drive chronic Hepatitis B infection (CHB) and its associated liver disease including liver cancer.

CHB is characterised by a dysregulated immune response, which allow the virus to persist while simultaneously triggering a systemic inflammatory response that inflicts severe damage upon the liver. Our dedicated efforts are centred around dissecting these intricate immune and cellular mechanisms with the aim of transforming the treatment landscape through innovative host-targeted therapeutic strategies.

Through our work, we have made significant strides in identifying therapeutic targets for CHB. Noteworthy findings highlight the involvement of key factors such as Programmed-death-1, Cyclophilins, Interferon lambda, and glyco-phosphoprotein Osteopontin.

Additionally, our group has embarked on characterising the immune processes underpinning the exacerbated liver disease that manifests when CHB co-exists with alcohol related liver disease (ALD). The rising incidence of CHB/ALD has been linked to severe clinical manifestations and a rapid progression to cirrhosis and liver cancer.

To advance our investigations, we rely on experimental models of HBV infection. However, traditional models often fall short in faithfully recapitulating HBV infection in humans. Consequently, our group aims to develop fully immunocompetent, human-derived models that support the entire virus replicative life cycle and exhibit the inflammatory processes associated with CHB.


Partnership with pharmaceutical and Biotech companies to conduct pre-clinical studies and adjunct immunological assays during clinical trials. These collaborative efforts aim to unravel the mechanisms of action of novel immunomodulatory therapeutic and define biomarkers of response.

Discovery of host proteins contributing to immune exhaustion in CHB and participating in the tolerogenic tumour microenvironment in CHB-related HCC and assessing their potential as therapeutic targets.

Development of advanced human 3D organoids and ex-vivo immunocompetent models of HBV infection.



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