Division of Immunology, Immunity to Infection and Respiratory Medicine

Organization profile

Our studies of microorganisms (virus, bacteria, fungi, parasites) cover research into their fundamental biology, at the molecular and cellular level, through to their behaviour in communities (microbiome) and interactions with the infected host humans both in health and disease.

The regulation of inflammation and immune responses is key to understanding mechanisms underlying many respiratory and allergic diseases.

In the field of respiratory medicine we focus on pheno- and endotyping, diagnostic pathways and novel biomarkers, airway pharmacology and conduct observational and interventional human studies.

Our research  

Immunology research

The great breadth and diversity of immunology research at Manchester has been drawn together into a new, multidisciplinary research institute, the Lydia Becker Institute of Immunology and Inflammation, emphasising how immunology plays an ever-increasing role in modern medicine.

In addition to this, the Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research (MCCIR) studies the regulation of immunity across the life course in health and disease.

Fungi research

Our research is based across four areas: 

Fungi@Manchester is a research partnership between the University of Manchester and the University Hospital of South Manchester, where a number of major research programmes cover bench to bedside research, and a growing global health and epidemiology focus.

Manchester Fungal Infection Group (MFIG) is a centre for interdisciplinary clinical, experimental and translational research related to fungal diseases and molecular biosciences underpinning antifungal drug discovery and diagnostics.

Clinical and diagnostic research and education, including the evaluation of novel fungal disease diagnostics, antifungal resistance mechanisms and epidemiology, biofilm studies, and the application of these tools in the clinic, through the National Aspergillosis Centre and the Mycology Reference Centre.

Global health research and educational outreach, including the estimation of fungal disease burden by disease and country, international epidemiology studies and modelling of the impact of fungal disease. Key partners include The Aspergillus Website, Leading International Fungal Education (LIFE), and Global Action Fund for Fungal Infections (GAFFI).

Bacteriology research

Our research covers a wide range of topics, from fundamental molecular studies, through to investigations of bacterial populations and interactions with the host.  Work in this field has applications in understanding immune responses to infection and the development of new approaches to combating antibiotic resistance.

Virology research

Our research focuses on diagnostic and therapeutic aspects of viral infections, particularly in childhood and pregnancy, blood borne and central nervous system infections, and includes novel approaches to vaccine and antiviral development.

Viral communities and viral-bacterial interactions are evaluated in the context of the microbial ecology of the respiratory tract, as well as in relation to respiratory disease.

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.

  • 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 eg 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


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