Department of Respiratory Sciences


The Department of Respiratory Sciences is engaged in internationally-recognised research. We bring together fundamental and clinical scientists, health services researchers and clinicians with established strengths in the broad subject areas of: exercise physiology, immunity, inflammation and microbiology. Our researchers work collaboratively, across these disciplines and within the following themes:

Chronic inflammatory airways disease

The University of Leicester has a deserved international reputation in respiratory research with genuine strengths in both fundamental and clinical research in asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cough and other respiratory diseases. The Respiratory Sciences theme contributes substantially to the Institute for Lung Health (ILH) and has strong and developing links with basic and clinical respiratory scientists at the University of Nottingham through RSCEM (Respiratory Science Collaboration – East Midlands).

A central question being addressed is what is the pathogenesis of environmentally-driven lung disease? Theme members come together to address this question from a diversity of perspectives, encompassing fundamental molecular and cellular investigations, through to clinical, epidemiological approaches. The main areas of research are chronic lung diseases; asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and bronchiectasis (a common form of obstructive lung disease).

Exercise rehabilitation and muscle biology

Pulmonary rehabilitation plays a central role in improving the health and wellbeing of people living with chronic respiratory diseases. By improving long term health outcomes and potentially reducing hospital admissions, pulmonary rehabilitation can help to reduce the huge social and economic burden of these long-term conditions to the NHS.

The Centre for Exercise and Rehabilitation Science (CERS) has an international reputation for its work on developing novel pulmonary rehabilitation treatments and self-management strategies that can be put into clinical practice in both primary and secondary care settings. CERS comprises a range of healthcare professionals and researchers, including respiratory physicians, physiotherapists, nurses, occupational therapists and exercise physiologists who run a large and expanding portfolio of national and international research.

We have overseas connections and collaborations in Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Kyrgyzstan, Malawi, Sri Lanka and Uganda.



Microbial sciences

Microbial sciences research in Leicester is carried out by a team of clinical and non-clinical academics from both University and NHS backgrounds engaged in internationally competitive research.

Major areas of research

  • Infectious diseases: Tuberculosis, pneumonia, meningitis, seasonal and pandemic influenza, gastrointestinal infections
  • Vaccine and drug development
  • Bacteriophages: exploitation to combat antibiotic resistance in bacterial pathogens and investigations into the environmental impact of 'photosynthetic' phages
  • Innate immunity
  • Non-tuberculous mycobacteria [NTM]: physiology, respiration and stress response

Microbial sciences theme membership 

  • Professor Mike Barer
    • Interface between bacterial physiology and human infections, principally those involving the gastrointestinal tract and tuberculosis.
  • Dr Primrose Freestone
    • Studies into 'Microbial Endocrinology', relationship between stress and stress hormones and the progress of human and animal infection.
  • Dr Galina Mukamolova
    • Molecular mechanisms of bacterial dormancy and resuscitation.
  • Dr Helen O'Hare
    • Essential serine threonine protein kinases of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
  • Dr John Pearl
    • Non-tuberculous Mycobacteria [NTM] physiology, respiration and how environmental conditions modulate drug resistance and susceptibility.
  • Professor Russell Wallis
    • Understanding the molecular changes that occur during initiation of the classical and lectin pathways of complement activation. Specific interests include characterising the interactions between components that trigger complement activation.

Learn more about the Leicester Tuberculosis Research Group (LTBRG)

  • Paediatric respiratory health
  • Fibrosis
  • Population health

The quality of the respiratory research has been recognised by the award of a National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit.

We welcome enquiries from UK, European and overseas research students, postdoctoral and academic researchers interested in working in a stimulating and exciting research environment.

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