PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS

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PROF STUART ELBORN

Co-Investigator
Queen's University Belfast

My main focus is Cystic Fibrosis focused on understanding pathophysiology of infection and inflammation and the translation of new therapies into clinical practice. This programme of work is undertaken with laboratory and clinical collaborators in QUB. This includes a significant commitment from the NICRN (Respiratory Health) where I am PI on 6 current clinical trials. I have smaller programmes with others in COPD, bronchiectasis, lung cancer including clinical trials. My research is funded by grants from government agencies, charitable bodies, industry and money raised from clinical trials. I have developed a clinical trials network for Respiratory Health funded by the Northern Ireland Research and Development Office.
In all my research I endeavour to bring scientists and clinicians together to promote inter-disciplinary research. I have been successful in developing programmes of research across disciplines, hospitals and universities in Northern Ireland and across the UK and Europe.

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PROF ADILIA WARRIS

Co-Investigator
MRC Centre for Medical Mycology, University of Exeter

I am a co-director of the MRC Centre for Medical Mycology. I am a consultant in paediatric infectious diseases and have a honorary position at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. My research profile has a strong translational focus and specific areas of interest include the host-fungus interaction in specific patient groups, with an emphasis on Aspergillus infections in people with cystic fibrosis. Over the last few years my group has shown that Aspergillus fumigatus induces an exaggerated inflammation in immune cells from people with cystic fibrosis, which is associated with lung disease severity. These findings do question if Aspergillus colonization of the airways in people with cystic fibrosis is harmful. Currently my group is looking into ways how to dampen this Aspergillus induced inflammation without compromising the antifungal mechanisms to fight those infections.
I am the chief investigator for the cASPerCF study (conect4children.org), a European multicentre study across 10 European countries with over 30 sites participating, to investigate if posaconazole (an antifungal) is effective to treat Aspergillus infection and inflammation in children and young people with cystic fibrosis.

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DR DARIUS ARMSTRONG-JAMES

Principal Investigator

Imperial College London

I lead the Royal Brompton Hospital fungal diseases service which provides clinical and diagnostic support for cystic fibrosis patients with fungal diseases. I am a Reader in Infectious Diseases and Medical Mycology at Imperial College London and Principal Investigator in the MRC Centre for Molecular Bacteriology and Infection. I lead the clinical work-package of the Wellcome Trust Collaborative Award ‘Impact of Emerging Fungal Resistance”. I undertook my PhD in fungal genomics at Imperial (Centre for Molecular Microbiology and Infection) followed by a post-doctoral MRC intermediate clinical fellowship in fungal innate immunity at Imperial (Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunity). I then established the fungal diseases service at Brompton, and undertake general infectious diseases clinical work at Imperial College Healthcare. I am a principal investigator in the MRC Centre for Molecular Bacteriology and Infection in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Imperial.

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PROF ANDREW M JONES

Co-Investigator
Manchester Universities NHS Foundation Trust

I am a Consultant in Adult Cystic Fibrosis (CF), and have a particular interest in the medical microbiology and mycology of CF.  Our group’s phenotyping work has lead to a novel classification of aspergillosis in adult cystic fibrosis. We have studied the effects of intravenous antibiotics on Aspergillus colonisation in cystic fibrosis, finding a decrease in load with a course of intravenous antibiotics. We have also examined the performance of two Aspergillus IgG EIA assays compared with the precipitin test in chronic and allergic aspergillosis. We have discovered high level of β-(1,3)-D-glucan antigenaemia in cystic fibrosis in the apparent absence of invasive fungal disease. We have also been performing environmental sampling for aspergillus at a CF Centre and within the local community, and examining the effects of climatic change on recovery of fungal species. More lately we have been investigating the effects of CFTR modulation therapy on aspergillus disease in people with CF.

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DR ANAND SHAH

Key Collaborator

Royal Brompton Hospital, Imperial College London

Dr Anand Shah is a Consultant Respiratory Physician at the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust and Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer at Imperial College London. He has a keen clinical translational research interest in immune susceptibility to and improving outcome in respiratory fungal infection and has a number of ongoing research themes in these fields.
Anand completed a MRC clinical PhD research fellowship in 2015 in the Armstrong-James laboratory at Imperial College London analysing the effects of calcineurin inhibition on the human macrophage response to Aspergillus fumigatus using a combination of high-resolution time-lapse confocal microscopy alongside an 'omics' based approach. 
Since 2016, he is a respiratory consultant at the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, working in the adult Cystic Fibrosis and Host Defence departments. He holds a MRC Clinical Academic Research Partnership award on Fungal Resistance Evolution and Acquisition in chronic Lung disease (FREAL).

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PROF STUART M LEVITZ

Co-Investigator
University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, USA

I am a physician-scientist who practices transplant infectious diseases and researches fungal immunology and vaccinology. My interest in Aspergillus and aspergillosis dates to when I was a postdoctoral fellow; my project was to study how neutrophils kill Aspergillus fumigatus. I have continued to study various aspects of host defences to this fungus, most recently in the context of the role of the eosinophil in allergic fungal disease.

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PROF ROSEMARY BOYTON 

Co-Investigator
Imperial College London

 Prof. Rosemary Boyton is Head of Lung Immunology, Adult Infectious Disease, Department of Infectious Disease, Faculty of Medicine. Prof. Boyton works on the molecular immunology of infectious, allergic and autoimmune inflammation through patient based studies and TCR, HLA class II, lung targeted, inducible (Cre/Lox) and reporter transgenic models. Prof. Boyton studies the interplay between pathogen, host microbiota and innate and adaptive immune mechanisms in the regulation of inflammation.

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DR FRANK VAN DE VEERDONK

Co-Investigator
Radboudumc, Nijmegen, Netherlands

He takes care of patients with infectious diseases, specifically fungal infections, and patients with primary immunodeficiencies (PIDs). His research has focused on chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis, hyper-IgE Syndrome, and chronic granulomatous disease. These PIDs are associated with fungal infections, and studying the antifungal host defense in these diseases has the potential to elucidate new insights in antifungal host responses. Another focus is IL-1 biology, with emphasis on the role of the IL-1 family members IL-36, IL-37 and IL-38 in infectious diseases and auto-inflammatory disorders.

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DR ALEX HORSLEY

Key Collaborator

University of Manchester and Manchester Adult CF Centre

I am a clinical academic (Reader) at the University of Manchester and consultant and academic lead at Manchester Adult Cystic Fibrosis Centre. I have worked with fungal and airway defence experts at the University of Manchester, and lead on two current airway infection projects. I have supervised a PhD looking at Aspergillus and how this establishes itself within the airway. I am also medical director of the NIHR Manchester Clinical Research Facility at Wythenshawe Hospital, and oversee trial activity in a wide range of related areas. In CF, I am responsible for initiating one of the largest CF trials programs in the country, having led 20 trials of new therapies in CF since 2012 and making Manchester one of the lead sites for phase 1 CF trials internationally. I have 15 years clinical and research experience in CF, and have published over 60 research papers, reviews and book chapters (including principal editor of Oxford University Press handbook on Cystic Fibrosis).