Name Professor Paul Kirkham
Job Title

Professor of cell Biology & Head of Respiratory

disease research group

Faculty Faculty of Science and Engineering
School School of Sciences
Subject(s) Pathophysiology of Respiratory Disease

Paul Kirkham Image

Professor Kirkham joined the University of Wolverhampton in 2013 from Imperial College London. In 2014 he was made Professor of Cell biology and now heads up the Respiratory disease research group.


Professor Kirkham completed his first degree in Biochemistry at Leeds University in 1985 and went on to receive a PhD in Biochemistry from Surrey University. In 1989 he joined the Dept of Molecular and Cellular Immunology at the MRC National Institute for Medical Research as a postdoctoral fellow investigating mechanisms of B and T cell activation. Then in 1991, he moved to the BBSRC Institute for Animal Health to continue his research into molecular mechanisms regulating T cell activation and senescence. In 1998 he moved into industry and joined Novartis, where as a Lab Head in the Division of Immunology he led a team undertaking drug discovery research for respiratory disease. He returned to academia in 2008 following the award of a Royal Society Industry Fellowship and joined the staff at the National Heart and Lung Institute as a senior fellow within Imperial College London. Over the next 5 years he continued his research into the pathophysiology of respiratory disease, such as COPD where he identified a novel mechanism that may explain the onset of lung destruction in COPD as well as discovering and patenting a biomarker to aid diagnosis and help patient stratification with this disease.


He is currently the editor in chief for the Journal of Inflammation and the current elected secretary of the ‘Airways diseases & pharmacology’ group within the European Respiratory Society, as well as the treasurer for the British Inflammation Research Association. He is an external examiner for St Georges Hospital, University of London and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He has supervised and examined a number of PhD students and has published extensively over his career. He is also a reviewer for numerous journals as well as research grant bodies. He has organised, chaired and presented at several national & international conferences and is currently on the organisation committee as well as being the finance director for the 2017 World Congress on Inflammation. Finally he is the founder and CSO of a spin-off biotech company from his research.

Prof Kirkham is an expert in the impact of oxidative stress on disease pathophysiology and inflammation within the lung. He is also an active consultant for industry within this field, providing advice in the evaluation and testing of pharmacological compounds.

His current research involves investigating the role of oxidative and carbonyl stress on cell function and immunity in chronic inflammatory diseases, such as COPD, and more recently in ageing. It utilises a multidisciplinary approach drawing on molecular, pharmacological and proteomic techniques, in order to translate clinical observations into mechanisms of disease pathogenesis. Recent findings in his lab would suggest a possible role for a number of factors in disease pathogenesis as well as linkage to associated comorbidities with COPD. In collaboration with key opinion leaders in respiratory disease research from the UK, Europe and the USA he his translating his clinical findings into mechanistic models of COPD.

European Respiratory Society (since 2004) – Elected section 5.1 secretary in 2015

British Inflammation Research Association (since 2000) –  Elected Treasurer in 2013

British Society for Immunology (since 1987)

Biochemical Society (since 1985)

Selected Journal  Publications:


Ngkelo A, Hoffmann RF, Durham AL, Marwick JA, Brandenburg SM, de Bruin HG, Jonker MR, Rossios C, Tsitsiou E, Caramori G, Contoli M, Casolari P, Monaco F, Andò F, Speciale G, Kilty L, Chung KF, Papi A, Lindsay MA, Ten Hacken NH, van den Berge M, Timens W, Barnes PJ, van Oosterhout AJ, Adcock IM, Kirkham PA, Heijink IH. (2015) Glycogen synthase kinase-3β modulation of glucocorticoid responsiveness in COPD. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 309(10):L1112-23


Fletcher ME, Boshier PR, Wakabayashi K, Keun HC, Smolenski RT, Kirkham PA, Adcock IM, Barton PJ, Takata M, Marczin N. (2015) Influence of glutathione-S-transferase (GST) inhibition on lung epithelial cell injury: role of oxidative stress and metabolism. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 308(12):L1274-85


Wiegman CH, Michaeloudes C, Haji G, Narang P, Clarke CJ, Russell KE, Bao W, Pavlidis S, Barnes PJ, Kanerva J, Bittner A, Rao N, Murphy MP, Kirkham PA, Chung KF, Adcock IM (2015) Oxidative stress-induced mitochondrial dysfunction drives inflammation and airway smooth muscle remodeling in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: COPDMAP. J Allergy Clin Immunol. In press


Caramori G, Kirkham P, Barczyk A, Di Stefano A, Adcock I.(2015) Molecular pathogenesis of cigarette smoking-induced stable COPD. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1340: 55-64


Khan YM, Kirkham P, Barnes PJ, Adcock IM. (2014) Brd4 is essential for IL-1β-induced inflammation in human airway epithelial cells. PLoS One. 9(4): e95051


Kirkham PA, Whiteman M, Winyard PG, Caramori G, Gordon F, Ford P, Barnes PJ, Adcock IM and Chung KF (2014) Impact of theophylline/corticosteroid combination therapy on sputum H2S levels in patients with COPD. European Respiratory Journal 43; 1504-6


Weigman CH, Li F, Clark CJ, Jazrawi E, Kirkham P, Barnes PJ, Adcock IM & Chung KF. (2014) A comprehensive analysis of oxidative stress in the ozone induced lung inflammation mouse model.  Clin Sci (Lond). 126; 425-40


Kirkham PA and Barnes PJ (2013) Oxidative stress and COPD. Chest 144; 266-73


G. Caramori, A. Di Stefano, P. Casolari, P.A. Kirkham, A. Padovani, K.F. Chung, A. Papi and I.M. Adcock (2013) Chemokines and Chemokine Receptors Blockers as New Drugs for the Treatment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Current Medicinal Chemistry,  20; 4317-4349


Biswas S, Hwang J, Kirkham PA and Rahman I (2013) Therapeutic intervention for Oxidative and Carbonyl stress in Respiratory disease. Curr Med Chem, 20; 1496-530


Adcock IM, Caramori G and Kirkham PA (2012) Strategies for improving efficacy and therapeutic ratio of glucocorticoids. Curr Opin Pharmacol. 12; 246-51


Joseph J. Boyle, Iqbal Bilal, Viola W.Y. Leung, Aivi T. Nguyen, Donna Horncastle, Paul C. Evans, Paul Kirkham, Dorian O. Haskard (2012) Solid-phase immunoglobulins IgG and IgM activate macrophages with solid-phase IgM acting via a novel scavenger receptor a pathway A. Am J Pathol. 181; 347-61


Ngkelo A, Meja K, Adcock IM and Kirkham PA (2012) LPS induced inflammatory responses in human monocytes is mediated through NOX4 and Gi dependent PI-3kinase signaling. J Inflamm 9;1


Shang-Hung Chang, Michael Johns, Joseph J. Boyle, Ellen McConnell, Paul A. Kirkham, Colin Bicknell, Muhammad Zahoor-ul-Hassan, Oliver Gale-Grant, Ramzi Khamis, Kurran VV Ramkhelawon, Dorian O. Haskard (2012) Generation of a model IgG monoclonal autoantibody – anti-idiotype for dissecting the humoral immune response to oxidised low density lipoproteins. Hybridoma 31; 87-98


Kirkham PA, Caramori G, Casolari P, Papi AA, Edwards M, Shamji B, Triantaphyllopoulos K, Hussain F, Pinart M, Khan Y, Heinemann L, Stevens L, Yeadon M, Barnes PJ, Chung KF and Adcock IM. (2011) Oxidative stress-induced antibodies to carbonyl-modified protein correlate with severity of COPD. Am J Resp Crit Care Med. 184; 796-802


Kostas Triantaphyllopoulos, Hussain Farhana, Mariona Pinart, Min Zhang, Feng Li, Paul Kirkham,Jie Zhu and Kian Fan Chung (2011) Chronic ozone exposure causes chronic inflammation and pulmonary emphysema in mice. Am J Phiol. 300; L691-700


Mark M. Perry, Christopher K. Hui, Matthew Whiteman, Mark E. Wood, Ian Adcock, Paul Kirkham & Kian Fan Chung. (2011) Hydrogen sulfide inhibits proliferation and release of IL-8 from human airway smooth muscle cells.  Am J Resp Cell Mol Biol. 45; 746-752





Book Chapters:


Isaac K. Sundar, Hongwei Yao, Paul A Kirkham, Irfan Rahman (2014) Smoking, Oxidative/Carbonyl Stress, and Regulation of Redox Signaling in Lung Inflammation. In: Systems biology of free radicals and anti-oxidants (Springer), Ed Ismail Laher


Kirkham PA and Barnes PJ (2014) Oxidative stress in chronic pulmonary disease. In: Oxidative stress in Chronic Disease (CRC press), Ed Isaias Dichi, José Wander Breganó, Andréa Name Colado Simão, Rubens Cecchini


Kirkham.P.A., Caramori G., Chung K.F. and Adcock I (2012) Novel Anti-Inflammatory Treatments for Asthma and COPD. In Advances for combination therapy in asthma and COPD. Ed Jan Lotvall


Adcock IM, Ito K and Kirkham PA (2011) Corticosteroids. In Principles of Immunopharmacology (3rd edition). Ed. Nijkamp FP and Parnham MJ.


Kirkham.P.A. (2009) The impact of oxidative and carbonyl stress on cell function: Functional consequences for macrophages. In Lung macrophages in health and disease. Ed Sandra Hodge


Kirkham.P.A. and Rahman I. (2007) Antioxidant therapeutic strategies in respiratory disease. In New drugs and targets for Respiratory diseases Ed T. Hansel & P.J. Barnes.




Kirkham PA (2013) A predictive Biomarker of disease severity in COPD. Patent # P52897GB (Also filed in China, USA and Europe)




Examples of Recently Completed PhD Programmes


The role of FN3K in diabetes and COPD


The impact of Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3-beta activity on glucocorticoid efficacy in COPD


The role of Brd4 on epigenetic regulation of IL-1 induced inflammation in human airway epithelial cells.



Examples of Potential PhD Programmes


Impact of oxidative stress on the regulation of FN3K expression and susceptibility to endothelial dysfunction in microvascular disease.


The role of NOX4 activity on endothelial function in COPD and the ageing lung


Role of Compliment Factor-H and HLA association in pathogenesis of lung destruction in COPD


The impact of oxidative stress in changing the extracacellular matrix environment in the lung and the implications for pro-fibrotic and inflammatory responses.


The characterisation and impact of antibody class switching in response to oxidative stress in COPD


Evaluation and impact of antibody responses from secondary lymphoid follicles in the lungs of COPD patients.


The role of citrinylation in lung destruction in COPD and the impact of pharmacological inhibitors of citrinylation.