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Fellows Directory

Peter Barnes

Professor Peter Barnes FMedSci FRS


Elected: 2007


Peter Barnes is a world-leading respiratory pharmacologist and clinician who has transformed understanding of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). His work has highlighted the role of the nervous system in these diseases, and clarified why steroid therapies bring patients relief.

From his initial studies on the effects of neurotransmitters, immune mediators and therapeutic drugs on the airways in asthma, Peter moved on to parallel studies in the different and less well-studied lung condition, COPD. He pioneered methods of assessing levels of inflammation in both diseases by measuring biomarkers in expired air.

Peter has advised global organisations on the treatment of lung diseases, is a co-editor of the leading textbook on the subject and is amongst the top 50 most highly cited researchers on any topic in the world. In 2010, novel inhaled treatments he had developed through a spin-out were taken to clinical trials by a major pharmaceutical company.

Interests and expertise

Subject groups


Asthma, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Epigenetics, glucocorticosteroids, Inflammation, Transcription factors