Division of Immunology, Immunity to Infection and Respiratory Medicine

Organisation profile

Organisation profile

In the Division of Immunology, Immunity to Infection and Respiratory Medicine (DIIIRM), we focus on two main areas:  

  • how the immune system keeps us healthy but sometimes promotes disease;
  • and how diseases of the respiratory system occur, determining diagnostic pathways, airway pharmacology and novel biomarkers in pulmonary disorders. 

Immunology research 

The immune system must help us fight infection but remain silent against innocuous substances and our own body tissue. Failure to do so can lead to chronic infection, allergic disease, or inflammatory and autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.

DIIIRM is home to a world-leading group of immunologists working on a range of different immune cells, tissues, and disorders, ranging from pre-clinical models to human translational immunology in the clinic.

Major strengths include the study of immune responses at barrier sites such as the lung, gut, oral cavity and reproductive tract. Immunity to infectious disease, particularly at barrier sites, is a focus, including viral and bacterial pathogens, protozoan parasites such as malaria and trypanosomes, and a major interest in helminth parasites. 

Neuroimmunology is a rapidly growing area, as is the role of the microbiome in underpinning immune function.

Collaboration is extensive between research groups. Indeed, the great breadth and diversity of immunology research at Manchester has been drawn together into a multidisciplinary research institute, The Lydia Becker Institute of Immunology and Inflammation, emphasising how immunology plays an ever-increasing role in modern medicine, and giving more details on our areas of strength in immunology research.

Respiratory medicine

We conduct discovery science from disease mechanisms through experimental medicine to clinical trials aiming to optimise treatment of common respiratory diseases by enabling precision medicine.

Major themes in respiratory medicine are:

  • Asthma – epidemiology and phenotype definition, genetics, diagnostic tests and biomarkers, circadian biology of asthma and chronotherapeutics, airway pharmacology. 
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – mechanisms in early disease, biomarkers, exacerbation phenotypes, airway pharmacology, links to lung cancer. 
  • Respiratory symptoms: cough and breathlessness – studying neuronal processing of respiratory sensations, identifying targets for treatment, clinical trials of novel treatments, development and validation of clinical outcomes. 
  • Infections – sepsis, early identification, preventing antimicrobial resistance, developing new treatments, for example for tuberculosis and fungal infections.
  • Diagnostic and therapeutic aspects of allergy – epidemiology, endotype discovery, and food allergy diagnostics and therapeutics.
  • Molecular allergology and immunological mechanisms of the interactions between allergen and infectious triggers or respiratory allergy.
  • Interstitial lung disease – ex-vivo models, novel molecular targets and mechanisms.
  • Cystic Fibrosis – airways physiology and methods of assessing disease progression, microbial and fungal infection and role of inflammation in both pulmonary and non-pulmonary manifestations of disease.

Head of division

Professor Mark Travis

Our researchers

See a list of researchers in the division

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or