Dr. Tom Appleton

2024 Emerging Investigator

Tom Appleton, MD, PhD, FRCPC

Dr. Tom Appleton is passionate about research, communication, and clinical care in rheumatology. He is a clinician-scientist at the University of Western Ontario and was appointed chief of rheumatology at St. Joseph’s Health Care London in 2020. In 2023, Tom was promoted to Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine and the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at Western.

Tom has been recognized by international societies, conferences, and journals as a leading expert in the role of inflammation in osteoarthritis and is frequently invited to speak on clinical and biomedical topics in rheumatology. Through his research, Tom founded the Western Ontario Registry for Early Osteoarthritis (WOREO) Knee Study, the Synovial Translational Biology Laboratory at Western, and established single cell RNA sequencing and molecular spatial profiling in the London and Western biomedical research community.

Discovery is at the core of Tom’s research program studying inflammation resolution, focusing on clinical and molecular mechanisms in chronic arthritis. In particular, his research team investigates the role of innate immunity in chronic inflammation and was the first to discover that synovial macrophage dysfunction underpins non-resolving inflammation in patients suffering from osteoarthritis. His work on innate immune inflammation mechanisms also extends to rheumatoid and other forms of inflammatory arthritis where inflammation resolution remains to be better understood.

Tom has also contributed at many levels of the rheumatology community, including as a past director of the Ontario Rheumatology Association (ORA) and past chair of the Canadian Rheumatology Association Scientific Committee. He now serves as advisor to Arthritis Society Canada and the Western Bone and Joint Institute, and as chair of the ORA Informatics Committee to develop digital health solutions to help rheumatologists measure and improve outcomes for patients suffering from all forms of rheumatic diseases.