Dr Huey Tan

Dr Huey Tan

Peninsula Medical School (Faculty of Health)



Originally from Malaysia. Resides in UK since 2005. 

Currently working as hepatology specialty trainee doctor at University of Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust while undergoing phD studies on alcoholic hepatitis. 

Other role:

COVID vaccination ambassador for the Devon & Cornwall Chinese Association


MBBS (King's College London)

MRCP (Royal College of Physician London)

SCE (Specialty Certificate Examination)



Research interests

Currently holds the role of Associate Principal Investigator of the MIMAH consortium (Minimising Mortality from Alcoholic Hepatitis)- Plymouth site 

Principal Investigator for Plymouth site - Dr Ashwin Dhanda. 

Currently, steroids are the only treatment known to reduce death from alcoholic hepatitis within the first 28 days. However, steroids increase the risk of infection and more than 1 in 3 patients do not respond to them. Non-response to steroids (steroid resistance) predicts death within 90 days. Accurate prediction of response to steroids would therefore enable selection of appropriate patients who might benefit from steroid treatment at the same time as reducing exposure of steroids and risk of infection to steroid resistant patients. Currently, it takes 7 days of steroid treatment to determine whether it has been effective and even then, 1 in 4 patients are incorrectly classified as steroid responders. A faster and more accurate method to measure steroid resistance is required.

We have developed a new laboratory technique (the BLISS assay) to measure steroid resistance based on patients’ white blood cell responses to steroids, which takes only 2 days to run. We will assess whether this test is accurate in identifying steroid responders and non-responders in a multicentre study. In addition, we will be investigating the mechanisms of steroid resistance by looking at genetic regulation of steroid signalling within white blood cells. This work will help us improve identification of steroid resistant patients and to develop new therapies that specifically target steroid resistance.



Key publications

Key publications are highlighted


1. Dhanda AD, Felmlee D, Boeira P, Moodley P, Tan H, Scalioni LP, Lilly K, Sheridan DA, Cramp ME. Patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 have an impaired cytokine response with an exhausted and senescent immune phenotype. Immunobiology. 2022 Mar;227(2):152185. doi: 10.1016/j.imbio.2022.152185.

2. Tsien C, Tan H, Sharma S, Palaniyappan N, Wijayasiri P, Leung K, Hayre J, Mowlem E, Kang R, Eddowes PJ, Wilkes E, Venkatachalapathy SV, Guha IN, Antonova L, Cheung AC, Griffiths WJ, Butler AJ, Ryder SD, James MW, Aithal GP, Aravinthan AD. Long-term outcomes of liver transplant recipients followed up in non-transplant centres: Care closer to home. Clin Med (Lond). 2021 Jan;21(1):e32-e38. doi: 10.7861/clinmed.2020-0609.

3. Sivakumar M, Gandhi A, Shakweh E, Li YM, Safinia N, Smith BC, Marshall A, Turner L, Mukhopadhya A, Haboubi HN, Vincent R, Tan HK, Alrubaiy L, Jones DEJ. Widespread gaps in the quality of care for primary biliary cholangitis in UK. Frontline Gastroenterol. 2021 Mar 9;13(1):32-38. doi: 10.1136/flgastro-2020-101713.

4. Tan HK, Yates E, Lilly K, Dhanda AD. Oxidative stress in alcohol-related liver disease. World J Hepatol. 2020 Jul 27;12(7):332-349. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v12.i7.332.

5. Tan HK, Streeter A, Cramp ME, Dhanda AD. Effect of zinc treatment on clinical outcomes in patients with liver cirrhosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. World J Hepatol. 2020 Jul 27;12(7):389-398. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v12.i7.389.

6.  Siau K, Hodson J, Ingram R, Baxter A, Widlak MM, Sharratt C, Baker GM, Troth T, Hicken B, Tahir F, Magrabi M, Yousaf N, Grant C, Poon D, Khalil H, Lee HL, White JR, Tan H, Samani S, Hooper P, Ahmed S, Amin M, Mahgoub S, Asghar K, Leet F, Harborne MJ, Polewiczowska B, Khan S, Anjum MR, McFarlane M, Mozdiak E, O'Flynn LD, Blee IC, Molyneux RM, Kurian A, Abbas SN, Abbasi A, Karim A, Yasin A, Khattak F, White J, Ahmed R, Morgan JA, Alleyne L, Alam MA, Palaniyappan N, Rodger VJ, Sawhney P, Aslam N, Okeke T, Lawson A, Cheung D, Reid JP, Awasthi A, Anderson MR, Timothy JR, Pattni S, Ahmad S, Townson G, Shearman J, Giljaca V, Brookes MJ, Disney BR, Guha N, Thomas T, Norman A, Wurm P, Shah A, Fisher NC, Ishaq S, Major G. Time to endoscopy for acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding: Results from a prospective multicentre trainee-led audit. United European Gastroenterol J. 2019 Mar;7(2):199-209. doi: 10.1177/2050640618811491

7. Tan HK, Tang CH. A hitherto unrecognised case of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. BMJ Case Rep. 2015 Jul 23;2015:bcr2014208255. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2014-208255

Dhanda AD, Felmlee D, Boeira P, Moodley P, Tan H, Scalioni LDP, Lilly K, Sheridan DA & Cramp ME (2022) 'Patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 have an impaired cytokine response with an exhausted and senescent immune phenotype' Immunobiology 227, (2) , DOI Open access
Presentations and posters

1.  Huey Tan, Matthew Cramp, Ashwin Dhanda. Differential epigenetic regulation in survivors and non-survivors from severe alcoholic hepatitis. BASL annual meeting 2021.

2. H Tan, P Boeira, M. Cramp, A Dhanda. High oxidative stress in T cells and monocytes correlates with mortality in alcoholic hepatitis. EASL annual meeting 2021.

3.  Huey Tan, Euan Yates, Matthew Cramp, Ashwin Dhanda. Patients with alcohol-related liver disease have high levels of oxidative stress. BASL annual meeting 2020.