Translating today’s research into tomorrow’s treatments for the most common and lesser known respiratory diseases

About 10,000 people in the UK are newly diagnosed with a lung disease every week. Approximately one in five people in the UK has ever developed asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or another long-term respiratory illness.

Lung diseases are responsible for more than 700,000 hospital admissions and over 6 million inpatient bed-days in the UK each year.
Asthma alone is estimated to cost the NHS over £1 billion each year and lung diseases as a whole estimated to be in excess of £11 billion.
Our researchers are using world-leading discovery science to advance knowledge and develop new diagnostic tools and personalised treatments for people with respiratory diseases such as asthma, COPD, IPF and pneumonia.

Our research areas:

  • Asthma
  • COPD
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis
  • Acute Infection
  • Chronic Infection
  • MRI is being used across all areas of our research.


A recent pan-European collaboration identified the top 15 asthma research questions. Top priority was to “identify, understand and better classify the different forms of asthma, their progression, and effect on airway inflammation and the immune system.” Our work directly tackles this question by identifying the key mechanisms driving the pathophysiology of different asthma subtypes.

We will perform early phase trials of novel treatments and identify important diagnostic biomarkers (markers or indicators of disease at a cellular level) thereby impacting on patient management.
Over 50% of patients referred to adult respiratory clinics are relatively corticosteroid-resistant. We will build on our RASP UK collaboration and define phenotypic stability and treatment targets.

We will determine if blood biomarkers can be used as a marker of airway inflammation in asthma and translate known/novel asthma susceptibility gene targets identified by our previous GWAS studies.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Our research is looking at how COPD and other destructive lung diseases behave and affect patients. It will identify specific groups of patients who show similar clinical characteristics, prognosis or therapy needs.

We will then look at a variety of biomarkers found in blood, sputum and urine and study changes in them over time and compare them between groups. Ultimately, tests developed for these biomarkers will help doctors to diagnose disease earlier enabling them to prescribe more targeted therapies for patients. This would mean better outcomes for patients and specific treatments for patients.

Our programme includes detailed endotyping, developing a human exacerbation model to understand how exacerbations affect lung and systemic morbidity, using novel magnetic resonance imaging to identify interventional targets for cardiovascular, muscular and cognitive co-morbidities and pilot stratified approaches to smoking cessation. This will allow development of better, stratified treatments for exacerbations, co-morbidities and smoking cessation.

Pulmonary fibrosis

We are studying non-IPF chronic progressive fibrotic lung diseases to identify shared molecular endotypes or clinical phenotypes.

We are characterising markers of disease progression in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) to determine whether there are distinct molecular endotypes of IPF and LAM that reflect clinical phenotypes.

Acute infection

We are studying how the use of different biomarkers can allow personalised medicine for the treatment of pneumonia.

We are also studying new ways of prevention/treatment of viral respiratory infections.

Chronic infection

We are developing a new cohort of bronchiectasis patients and stratifying them using a number of biomarkers.

We are looking at new ways of imaging infection and inflammation in cystic fibrosis and the relationship between bowel and lung problems in cystic fibrosis.

Contact us

For more information or to talk to use about our research more please email us:
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Follow us on:
: @NottmBRCLung
: @nrruorguk