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Dr Cornelia Blume MSc, PhD

Research Fellow, Postdoctoral Career Track Fellow

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Cornelia Blume is a Postdoctoral Career Track Fellow in Clinical and Experimental Sciences, in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton

Cornelia Blume obtained a MSc in Biology at the University of Hamburg, Germany. During her PhD at the Research Center Borstel, Germany, she characterised grass pollen allergens and analysed their cellular uptake by airway epithelial cells and monocyte-derived dendritic cells. Following completion of her PhD, Cornelia worked with human 3D in vitro models of the skin and immune cells as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Allergy and Environment (ZAUM) in Munich (Germany). In Munich, she continued to analyse the effect of pollen derived substances, including allergens and lipid mediators, on the skin barrier functions and immune cells. In 2011 Cornelia joined the interdisciplinary research group of Prof Donna Davies in Southampton (UK) and since then her research is focused on using advanced human respiratory in vitro 3D models for studying respiratory infections. In 2017, Cornelia was awarded a Faculty of Medicine Career Track Award to develop her independent research programme. Her cross-disciplinary approach includes the development of lung-on-chip models, complex 3D models of airway inflammation and lipidomics.


MSc, Biology, University of Hamburg, Germany
PhD, University of Luebeck/Research Center Borstel, Germany

Appointments held:

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, ZAUM - Centre of Allergy and Environment, Munich, Germany
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Southampton, Faculty of Medicine, School of Clinical and Experimental Sciences
Postdoctoral Career Track Fellow (since 2017)


Research interests

Dr Cornelia Blume’s research is focused on understanding the complex interaction of the epithelial barrier with environmental challenges like pollen, viruses and bacteria. Cornelia uses human 3D in vitro models of the respiratory mucosa, constantly refining these models to reflect the in vivo situation more accurately. Using a unique multidisciplinary approach combining traditional cell culture with tissue engineering and engineering approaches (microfluidic platform, collaboration Prof. Morgan, ECS) she monitored for the first time temporal barrier responses during environmental challenges (Blume et al, PLoSOne, 2015) and established a human respiratory epithelial-endothelial co-culture model characterising cellular crosstalk to viral components (Blume et al., Immun. Inflamm. Dis. 2017).

Currently, she is investigating the role of the lipid membrane profile on epithelial barrier function, a substantially understudied and unrecognised area of research. By combining novel 3D in vitro models with state-of-the-art, high-resolution analytical methods in the fields of proteomics, transcriptomics, lipidomics and imaging, Cornelia is directing innovative research to investigate cellular crosstalk regulating inflammation with a higher sensitivity than conventional models.

During the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic Cornelia was part of a multidisciplinary research team identifying a new short form of Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2). ACE2 is expressed in respiratory epithelial cells and while the long form of ACE2 function as the binding receptor for SARS-CoV-2, short ACE2 is missing most of the binding epitopes (Blume et al, Nature Genetics, 2021).

Research group

Clinical and Experimental Sciences

PhD Supervision

Start year:
2017: Jonathan James

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MSc Biomedical Engineering: Lectures in module Respiratory Systems I and II

Dr Cornelia Blume
Faculty of Medicine, Room AB215, Mailpoint 801, South Academic Block, University Hospital Southampton, Tremona Road, Southampton, SO16 6YD

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