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Peter Barnes FRS

Peter Barnes is Professor of Thoracic Medicine and Head of Respiratory Medicine at the National Heart and Lung Institute and Honorary Consultant Physician at Royal Brompton Hospital, London.

He qualified at Cambridge and Oxford Universities (first class honours) and was appointed to his present post in 1987. He has published over 1000 peer-review papers on asthma, COPD and related topics and has edited over 40 books (h-index = 153). He is also amongst the top 50 most highly cited researchers in the world and has been the most highly cited clinical scientist in the UK and the most highly cited respiratory researcher in the world over the last 20 years. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2007, the first respiratory researcher for over 150 years. He has been a member of the Scientific Committee of global guidelines on asthma (GINA) and COPD (GOLD). He also serves on the Editorial Board of over 30 journals and is currently an Associate Editor of Chest, Journal of COPD Foundation, Respiratory Editor of PLoS Medicine and Editor in Chief of Up-to-Date Pulmonary Diseases. He has given several prestigious lectures, including the Amberson Lecture at the American Thoracic Society, the Sadoul Lecture at the European Respiratory Society and the Croonian Lecture at the Royal College of Physicians. He has received honorary MD degrees from the Universities of Ferrara (Italy), Athens (Greece), Tampere (Finland) and Leuven (Belgium). He is an  Emeritus NIHR Senior Investigator,a Master Fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians and a member of the Academia Europaea. He was President of the European Respiratory Society 2013/14. He co-founded an Imperial spin-out company RespiVert, which was acquired by Johnson & Johnson and has developed novel inhaled treatments for COPD and severe asthma.

His research is focused on cellular and molecular mechanisms of asthma and COPD, understanding and developing therapies and research into biomarkers for these diseases. He is involved in multidisciplinary translational research which integrates basic science with clinical studies, thereby providing novel insights into common airway diseases.


Adrian Hayday, FRS, F.Med.Sci

Adrian Hayday was trained in biochemistry at Cambridge, and obtained a PhD in molecular virology from London University. He began studying immunology in 1982 at MIT, where he and his colleagues first described the wholly unanticipated T cell receptor gamma chain genes. Since then Professor Hayday has used many parameters to establish that gamma-delta T cells are clearly distinct from conventional T cells. Those parameters include the cells’ responses to different products of a novel gene family expressed by body surface epithelia, that Professor Hayday and his colleagues identified.  He showed that this unique biology allows gamma-delta T cells to make rapid responses to tissue dysreguation, rather than to specific pathogens, and thereby to monitor tissue integrity. This may explain Professor Hayday’s observation that gamma-delta T cell deficiency is associated with a profound susceptibility to skin carcinogens, findings that were instrumental in promoting his and others’ interest in the cells’ clinical application, and the foundation of GammaDelta Therapeutics. In related clinical activities, Professor Hayday directed a team characterising the human immune response to vaccination; and described the unique properties of human autoantibodies. Additionally, he is the lead-investigator of a Wellcome Trust-supported, multi-centre, high-throughput phenotyping screen identifying novel genetic regulators of the immune system.

Professor Hayday has authored over 200 papers, of which he is first, last, or corresponding author on over 120, and of which 150 are original research contributions.  He has received many awards, including the William Clyde deVane Medal, Yale College’s highest honour for scholarship and teaching, an honorary fellowship of King’s College London, the King’s College Business Award, 2008, and the Business of Science Leadership Award, 2017.  He was elected to lead the British Society of Immunology (2005-09) and has organized many scientific meetings including the 2014 Gordon Conference in Immunochemistry and Immunobiology, and the scientific programme for the 2012 European Congress of Immunology. He is an elected fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and of the Royal Society.

Janet Lord

Janet Lord is Professor of Immune Cell Biology and director of the Institute for Inflammation and Ageing at Birmingham University Medical School and is also director of the MRC-Arthritis Research UK Centre for Musculoskeletal Ageing Research. Her primary research focus is in the effect of ageing upon immune function and how this limits the ability of older adults to resolve inflammation and predisposes them to chronic inflammatory disease such as Rheumatoid arthritis. She also researches the link between chronic systemic inflammation and physical frailty. In this context Professor Lord has a particular interest in the role played by stress (physical and psychological) and the altered HPA axis in modulating immunity and frailty in old age and following an injury such as hip fracture, or a major injury such as burn. She has recently worked on the role depression plays in worsening the outcomes for hip fracture patients.

In 2013 she was awarded the Lord Cohen of Birkenhead medal for her outstanding research in human ageing by the British Society for Research in to Ageing and in 2014 was awarded the Glenn Award for biological mechanisms in Ageing by the US Glenn Foundation. She was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2015. She has published over 185 original papers and reviews and has an h-index of 44.

Mihai Netea

Mihai Netea was born and studied medicine in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. He completed his PhD at the Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands, on studies investigating the cytokine network in sepsis. After working as a post-doc at the University of Colorado, he returned to Nijmegen where he finished his clinical training as an infectious diseases specialist, and where he currently heads the division of Experimental Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Nijmegen University Nijmegen Medical Center. He is mainly interested in understanding the factors influencing variability of human immune responses, the biology of sepsis and immunoparalysis, and the study of the memory traits of innate immunity.

Luke O’Neill FRS

Professor Luke O’Neill was appointed to the Chair of Biochemistry at Trinity College Dublin in 2008, where he leads the Inflammation Research Group.  He has a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of London and carried out Post-Doctoral research at Cambridge U.K. on the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-1 and innate immune signaling. His research is in the area of the molecular basis to inflammatory diseases, with a particular interest in Toll-like receptors, inflammasomes and metabolic control of inflammatory cell signaling. He has won numerous awards for his research, notably the Royal Irish Academy Medal for Biochemistry, the Royal Dublin Society/ Irish Times Boyle medal for Scientific Excellence  and in 2014 the European Federation of Immunology Societies Medal. He was elected a member of EMBO in 2005.  In 2016 he was named by Thompson Reuters as one of the world’s most influential scientists, being in the top 1% in both Immunology and Pharmacology/Toxicology.  He is a European Research Council Advanced Grant Holder and is co-founder of 2 Spin-out companies from his lab –  Opsona Therapeutics, a drug development company working in the area of Toll-like receptors, and Inflazome, which is developing inhibitors of inflammasomes for inflammatory diseases.  He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2016.

Fiona Powrie FRS

Fiona Powrie is the Director of the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology and Principal Investigator in the Translational Gastroenterology Unit, University of Oxford.

Her research interests include characterisation of the interaction between the intestinal microbiota and the host immune system and how this mutualistic relationship breaks down in inflammatory bowel disease.

Fiona’s work has identified the functional role of regulatory T cells in intestinal homeostasis and shed light on their development and mechanism of action. She has also shown that both adaptive and innate immune mechanisms contribute to intestinal inflammation and identified the IL-23 pathway as a pivotal player in the pathogenesis of chronic intestinal inflammation.

Her current work seeks to translate findings from model systems into the clinic in inflammatory bowel disease patients.

Fiona Powrie received the Ita Askonas Award from the European Federation of Immunological Societies for her contribution to immunology in Europe and the Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine 2012.

She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2011, EMBO in 2013 and the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2014. 

Fiona Watt FRS

Fiona Watt obtained her first degree from Cambridge University and her DPhil, in cell biology, from the University of Oxford. She was a postdoc at MIT, where she first began studying differentiation and tissue organisation in mammalian epidermis. She established her first research group at the Kennedy Institute for Rheumatology and then spent 20 years at the CRUK London Research Institute (now part of the Francis Crick Institute). She helped to establish the CRUK Cambridge Research Institute and the Wellcome Trust Centre for Stem Cell Research and in 2012 she moved to King’s College London to found the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine.