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Douglas Corfield, PhD

Prof

Personal profile

Overview

Professor of Medical Sciences

Programme Director for Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Practice

Project lead for Graduate Entry Medicine pathway

Biography

I am a physiologist with 25 years of experience of undergraduate medical and biomedical education.  Over this time, I have held senior leadership roles in medical education including programme management, teaching delivery and curriculum development in six distinct undergraduate medical curricula - initially in London teaching hospitals and subsequently at Keele and Manchester Medical Schools.

My research has two main components, each directed to a better understanding of the physiology and pathophysiology of cardiovascular and respiratory regulation in humans.  Dysfunction in these systems is directly related to morbidity and mortality in conditions such as chronic lung disease, sleep-disordered breathing and stroke.

Research interests

My research has two main components, each directed to a better understanding of the physiology and pathophysiology of cardiovascular and respiratory regulation in humans.  Dysfunction in these systems is directly related to morbidity and mortality in conditions such as chronic lung disease, sleep-disordered breathing and stroke.

The first component of my work has investigated the neural basis for the control of breathing in humans, using non-invasive measures of brain function (positron emission tomography – PET and functional magnetic resonance imaging - fMRI) alongside more ‘classical’ physiological approaches.   In particular, my studies have characterised the neurophysiological basis for the cortico-motor control of behavioural breathing - a hitherto poorly understood area of respiratory neuroscience- and have identified the principal brain areas associated with the perception of respiratory sensations – in particular with the sensation of dyspnoea, an important yet problematic clinical condition.  The aim of this work is to extend our current knowledge gained from healthy populations into clinically-relevant groups with cardio-respiratory problems.  The ultimate aim is to increase our understanding of the pathophysiology of dyspnoea and to inform patient management.

Most recently, with colleagues at Manchester University, I have begun to explore the neurophysiological basis of cough and the effects that cough may have on the autonomic nervous system

The second component of my work has addressed the interactions between breathing and the regulation of brain blood flow and brain function.  PET and fMRI measure indices of brain activity related to changes in brain blood flow. As breathing and brain blood flow are intimately linked, my research questions have required me to develop new MRI-based methodological and analytical approaches to assess neural activity during respiratory challenges and to measure brain blood flow.  In addition, I have investigated specific questions related to the control of the cerebral circulation and its integration with respiratory control. In particular, we have discovered striking changes in the brain blood flow responses to respiratory challenges during sleep – a condition in which abnormalities in breathing are most frequently manifest.  Further, we have identified structural changes, in the brains of patients with obstructive sleep apnoea, which may be key to understanding and reversing the functional deficits in this clinical group.

My work is cross-disciplinary project involving physiologists, imaging scientists and clinicians

 

Teaching

I joined Manchester Medical School in 2010 as Director of Studies for Phase 1 of the MBChB, responsible for the delivery of the first 2 years of the medical programme.  In 2014, I took on the role of Programme Director for the MBChB, a role in which I am responsible for the strategic leadership and management of an undergraduate programme that runs over 5 year and comprises approx. 2200 students.  As Programme Director, I oversaw the delivery of the programme by a number of partners, key amongst these being two of the Faculties of Manchester University, NHS partnership trusts across Greater Manchester and the North West and a wide community of general practitioners.

Currently I am the project lead for our new Graduate-entry pathway into Medicine which will result in the award of an MBChB after 4 years of study.  The first intake for the GEM is Sept 2024.

I am programme director for the Post-Graduate Diploma in Clinical Practice.  This Diploma is open to international medical doctors employed by our partner trusts in the North West of England

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

The Physiological Society

Qualifications

BSc Physiology (London)

PhD Physiology (London)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

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