Furniss Group | Genetics and Epidemiology of Common Hand Conditions

Nov 22, 2016

The work of our group strives to understand the genetic and non-genetic factors that predispose people to common hand conditions, in particular Dupuytren's Disease and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, with the aim of developing better treatments in the future.


The hand is one of the most important parts of the musculoskeletal system. It is commonly how we sense and interact with our environment, and forms a pivotal place in our social exchanges.

When the hand is affected by disease or trauma, it has a profound impact on the overall function of the individual. Surgery and other treatments for common hand surgery conditions consume large amounts of NHS resources, and have a much larger cost to society as a whole.

Most hand diseases are caused by a combination of genetic predisposition and non-genetic (“environmental”) factors.


We aim to improve our understanding of the causes of hand conditions using a combined approach.

We investigate the genetics of large cohorts of patients and control individuals in order to define genes and variants that pre-dispose them to developing hand problems.

In addition, we try to understand the non-genetic factors that cause common hand conditions by analysing large databases of routinely collected population health information.

Finally, we are involved in a number of clinical trials within hand surgery. We expect these trials to have a rapid impact on the quality of clinical care for our patients, and the methodology will be applied to new treatments generated from our basic science research. In this way, we hope to move our work from bench to bedside.

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