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Research: Professor of Respiratory Medicine, Respiratory Research Group, Division of Infection, Immunity and Respiratory Medicine

Clinical: Honorary Consultant in Respiratory Medicine at Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Teaching: Postgraduate Tutor for Division of Infection, Immunity and Respiratory Medicine; undergraduate clinical lead for Manchester Medical School Phase I Semester 2 (Respiratory / Cardiology / Haematology)


Graduated from the Universities of St Andrews and Manchester (1995), worked as a house officer and senior house officer at various hospitals in the North West, obtaining MRCP (1999) whilst on the medical rotation at North Manchester General Hospital. 

1999-2001. Clinical Research Fellow in the Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee (Supervisor: Prof Brian Lipworth).  “Clinical Application of Bronchial Challenge in Asthma: its Relation to Markers of Severity and Dose-Response during Treatment with Inhaled Corticosteroids”, awarded MD University of Manchester 2003.  

2001 - 2005. Specialist Registrar training in respiratory and general medicine in East Anglia, and included sub-specialty training in pulmonary hypertension and cystic fibrosis at Papworth Hospital. 

Took up current post in January 2006, initally as HEFCE funded clinical lecturer (promoted to senior lecturer 2016, professor 2020) post with duties split between research and teaching at the University of Manchester and clinical work at Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Clinically I work in the regional severe asthma service, with a particular interest in the investigation and management of complex breathlessness.  These clinical interests and experience in severe asthma and associated airways diseases feed directly into my research programme as outlined under "Research".

Research interests

1. Breath Analysis in Respiratory Disease:

I lead a research theme investigating the clinical utility of metabolomic profiling of volatile organic compounds in the exhaled breath of patients with respiratory disease.

We have developed a methodology for targeted sampling of the exhaled breath, enabling the breath profile to be mapped using expiratory pressure, We obtained proof of principle in asthma and COPD (published in Thorax and Respiratory Research)

Through an internal UoM grant (MIMIT) I led the refinement of this sampler and we produced a prototype with the design consultancy Butters Innovation. We have further refined the prototype for use in acutely ill inpatients with stroke, funded by Moulton (internal collaboration – Smith, Goodacre). In parallel we have developed a separate system suitable for use in critically ill ventilated patients on ICU (collaborators Goodacre, Dark, Felton). The pilot work was funded by RCUK and UMIP and has resulted in us being awarded prestigious grants from NIHR i4i (CI) and Marie Curie (Industrial Academic Partnership Programme with Philips Research, Eindhoven, Amsterdam Medical Centre and University of Twente) to develop the sampling methodology further and investigate potential markers for ventilator associated pneumonia.

The complex areas of breath gas sample analysis, and metabolomic data analysis, have been progressed in close collaboration with Manchester Institute of Biotechnology. Through this productive inter-faculty partnership we now are building critical mass with the aim of providing a clinical research service in breath analysis, and forging new collaborations both in and outside the university.

In addition to the NIHR and EU-funded work in critical care, ongoing breath analysis work is investigating markers for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (funded by Boehringer Ingelheim), and sarcoidosis (British Lung Foundation-SarcoidosisUK), both in collaboration with Prof Andrew Wilson at the University of East Anglia and the regional interstitial lung disease service (Chaudhuri / Leonard) at Wythenshawe Hospital.  

We are continuing to study the applications of breath analysis in asthma, in relation to circadian rhythm (Durrington) and exacerbations / bronchial challenge testing (again with Prof Wilson at UEA).  We are about to undertake several major studies in asthma and COPD as part of the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (Simpson / Vestbo).

2. Asthma:

My clinical interest and expertise lies in asthma and airways diseases. I am investigating the application of breath analysis in this as noted above, but also undertaking other (mainly clinical) research to aid understanding and treatment in this area, including:

* I am clinical PI for Manchester in the €22m UBIOPRED IMI consortium, which aims to characterise and discover novel phenotypes in severe asthma.

* I am PI for Manchester in a consortium awarded €4.5m (EC Horizon 2020) to investigate home monitoring / sensing in asthma in collaboration with computer modelling experts (CERTH - Center for Research & Technology Hellas), clinical researchers (Chung, Usmani at Imperial and Sont in Leiden) and industry (Aerocrine, Allertec and IHP Microelectronics)

* I lead clinical research into the neglected conditions of inducible laryngeal obstruction (vocal cord dysfunction) and breathing pattern disorder, which we hope to drive forward over the short to medium term


Postgraduate Tutor for Division of Infection, Immunity and Respiratory Medicine

Undergraduate clinical lead for Manchester Medical School Phase I Semester 2 (Respiratory / Cardiology / Haematology)

Undergraduate Academic Advisor


BSc (Med Sci) University of St Andrews 1992

MB ChB University of Manchester 1995

MRCP London 1999, FRCP London 2015

MD University of Manchester 2003

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
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures
  • Lydia Becker Institute
  • Christabel Pankhurst Institute


Dive into the research topics where Stephen Fowler is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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  • Breathomics 2019

    Waqar Ahmed (Organiser) & Stephen Fowler (Organiser)

    1 Mar 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising event(s)Organising a conference, workshop, exhibition, performance, inquiry, course etcResearch