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Professor Peter Barnes is Professor of Thoracic Medicine and Head of Respiratory Medicine at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College and an Honorary Consultant Physician at Royal Brompton Hospital, London, UK. He qualified at Cambridge and Oxford Universities. After working in Oxford he moved to London in 1974 and trained in respiratory and general medicine. He undertook research at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School and obtained a DM degree in 1982. He spent a year at the Cardiovascular Research Institute in San Francisco and returned to a Consultant post at Hammersmith Hospital, London. He was awarded a DSc from Oxford University in 1986. In 1995 he was appointed to the first Chair in Clinical Pharmacology at the National Heart and Lung Institute and in 1987 was appointed Head of Thoracic Medicine. He now heads Respiratory Medicine at Imperial College with over 200 research workers, making it the largest respiratory department in Europe.
Professor Barnes runs a large and active multidisciplinary group of over 50 researchers exploring the mechanisms and treatment of asthma and more recently COPD. He has linked molecular and cell biology to clinical studies in order to understand the inflammatory process in airway disease and to understand the mechanisms of action of currently used drugs. His research is particularly concerned with the role of transcription factors and signal transduction pathways in regulation of chronic airway inflammation and the molecular mechanisms of corticosteroid action. He has also pioneered the use of non invasive markers to monitor lung inflammation, which has enabled research into inflammatory mechanisms to be extended to patients with severe disease.