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The University of Southampton
Medicine
Phone:
(023) 8120 8410
Email:
H.M.Haitchi@soton.ac.uk

Dr Hans Michael Haitchi DM, MMed (INT), PhD, PD, PGcert, FHEA

Associate Professor in Respiratory Medicine & Clinician Scientist, NHS Honorary Consultant Physician

Dr Hans Michael Haitchi's photo

Dr Hans Michael Haitchi is an Associate Professor in Respiratory Medicine & Clinician Scientist within the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton and Honorary Consultant Physician in Southampton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Having graduated with a Doctor of Medicine (DM) from the University in Graz, Austria in 1990 he trained as an Emergency Physician and General Practitioner in Austria.  In 1996 he moved to South Africa where he completed his specialist training in Internal Medicine with a special interest in Pulmonary Medicine at Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town in 2001. He also graduated with a Master in Medicine (MMed) from the University of Stellenbosch, SA in 2000. He completed his PhD at the University of Southampton in 2008. In 2009 he received a Postgraduate Certificate in education and became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).

Hans Michael Haitchi held a Medical Research Council (MRC) Clinician Scientist Fellowship from 2010 to 2014 in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton.  This MRC fellowship took him from 2010-2011 to the USA, where he did research as a visiting scientist and scholar in Professor Whitsett's pulmonary biology lab in Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

Back in Southampton, Dr. Haitchi leads a group that investigates the pathogenesis of asthma and other chronic lung diseases. His particular interest is in the role of the asthma susceptibility gene ADAM33 and influence of the maternal environment on the early origin of lung disease using in vivo and in vitro asthma and allergic airway inflammation research models.

His research is based in the Faculty of Medicine and NIHR Respiratory Biomedical Research Centre, where he is a principle investigator.

In 2014 he was awarded the title of ‘Privatdozent’ (PD, Priv. Doz.) for Pneumology at the Paracelsus Medical University (PMU) in Salzburg Austria.

 

Appointments held

Research Fellow, AVL Medical Instruments, Graz, Austria, 1991

Millitary assistant medical doctor, Federal Ministry of Defence, Austria, 1991-1992

House and Medical Officer, Private Hospital “Barmherzige Brüder” and University Hospital Graz, Austria, 1992-1995

Registrar (Clinical assistant), Stellenbosch University Hospital Tygerberg, Department of Internal Medicine, Cape Town, South Africa, 1996-2001

Clinical Research Fellow, Division of Infection, Inflammation & Repair, School of Medicine, University of Southampton, UK, 2001-2009

Honorary Consultant Physician in Medicine & Respiratory Medicine, Southampton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, UK, 2009-present

Visiting Scientist and Scholar, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati, US, 2010-2011

MRC Clinician Scientist, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, UK 2010 - 2014

Senior Lecturer in Respiratory Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, UK 2011 - 2014

Associate Professor in Respiratory Medicine & Clinician Scientist, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, UK 2014-present

Research interests

Dr. Haitchi’s research focuses on chronic lung diseases, such as asthma, COPD, cystic fibrosis, which are a major burden on the healthcare system in the UK and worldwide. Many of these diseases originate early in life by an interaction between parental genetic and environmental factors (e.g. maternal allergy & smoking) before birth and in infancy. From epidemiological studies it is known that these early interactions predict if somebody develops a chronic lung disease later in life, however very little is known about the exact mechanisms or how this occurs. By exploring these mechanisms his ultimate aim is to find and develop novel therapies that act early as well as later in life.

Fig1 ADAM33 Gene Environment Interactions in Developing Lungs and their Involvement in the Early Origin of Asthma.
In 2002 the group in Southampton in collaboration with two groups in the US discovered ADAM33 as an Asthma susceptibility gene. Small changes in the gene make people more prone to develop asthma or COPD. The changes in the gene have also been associated with an increased decline in lung function in children and adults. The protein that is made by the gene is normally found in the membrane on the surface of a cell. Dr. Haitchi as part of his PhD (supervisors: Donna E Davies & Stephen T Holgate) reported that ADAM33 is almost exclusively expressed in structural cells (such as smooth muscle cells, fibroblasts, myofibroblasts, and mesenchymal progenitor cells, but not epithelial cells) that make up the airway tree. This suggests that ADAM33 is involved in the remodelling of the airways that take place in asthma (thicker walls, more muscles, more vessels, more fibrotic tissue and more mucus producing cells). A short soluble form of ADAM33 protein (sADAM33) acts as an active enzyme and can cleave other proteins. Dr. Haitchi has shown that an allergic mediator (IL-13) and maternal allergic airway inflammation can influence ADAM33 and causes the formation of active smaller forms of Adam33 protein in the developing lung in an in vivo model. The sADAM33 protein is also increased in patients with asthma with impaired lung function (gain of function), which was shown by another research group. However, the group in Southampton has reported the first biological function of sADAM33, namely, that it can induce the formation of new blood vessels in the lung.
These findings suggest that ADAM33 is a lung-remodelling gene and the inhibition of its enzymatic activity might have therapeutic potential.

Therefore, the research aims of Dr. Haitchi’s group are to study the influence of sADAM33 on lung development and airway remodelling (increased vessel and muscle formation) and to study the influence of maternal environmental factors during pregnancy on ADAM33 that might lead to abnormal airway structures that might predispose to the development of asthma and other chronic lung diseases in childhood and later in life.

His group pursues this using the following approaches:
1. Study of different transgenic models (collaboration with Jeff Whitsett, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, US)
2. Study of the influence of an allergic maternal environment using different in vivo, ex vivo and in vitro models (collaborations with Jeff Whitsett, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center & David Bassett, Wayne State University, Detroit, US, David I Wilson, Centre for Human Development, Stem Cells and Regeneration, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, UK)
3. Study of airway and lung remodelling in asthma and allergic airway inflammation in vivo models using Micro Computer Tomography (collaboration with Ian Sinclair & Philipp Thurner, Faculty of Engineering, University of Southampton)
4. Development and study of novel and specific ADAM33 inhibitors (collaboration with Raj Gosain & Philip Gale, Faculty of Chemistry and Ivo Tews, Centre for Biological Sciences, University of Southampton; Jonathan Watts, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, USA).
5. Study of human asthma, COPD, cystic fibrosis, interstitial lung disease in patient derived samples (collaborations with Graham Roberts, Julian Legg, Peter Howarth, Kate O'Reilly, Ben Marshall Southampton NIHR Respiratory Biomedical Research Units, University Hospital Southampton, UK; Michael Studnicka, Univ. Klinik für Pneumologie, Paracelsus Private Medical School Salzburg, Austria; Grazina Kwapiszewska, Leigh Marsh & Andrea Olschewski, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Lung Vascular Research, Graz, Austria)

His research has been funded by: Asthma Allergy & Inflammation Research (AAIR), Asthma UK, British Lung Foundation (BLF), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Medical Research Council (MRC), Medical Research Foundation (MRF), National Centre for the Replacement Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs), Research Management Committee – Faculty of Medicine – University of Southampton, Roger Brooke Charitable Trust, Wessex Medical Research.

 

 

Gene Environment Interactions in Developing Lungs and their Involvement in the Early Origin of Asthma.
Fig1 ADAM33

Research group

Clinical and Experimental Sciences

Affiliate research group

Respiratory and allergy Research group

Postgraduate students supervision

2007 Gemma Campbell Harding* (MRes)
2007 Shelley Davis* (MRes)
2010 Antonio Noto* (PhD)
2010-2014 Elizabeth R. Davies (PhD) as a main supervisor

Current

Joanne F C Kelly (Integrated PhD) as a main supervisor
Nick Udell* (with Philipp Thurner, Faculty of Engineering & the Environment)
Romana Mikes* (with Michael Studnicka, Paracelsus Private Medical School Salzburg, Austria)
*co-supervisor

Faculty of Medicine

Member of the Allergy & Respiratory Research Board
Member of the Clinical and Experimental Sciences Board, 2009 -

 


University of Southampton

Member of Senate, 2013-


Southampton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Honorary Consultant Physician in Difficult Airways Disease Clinic and Young Asthma Patient Clinic (Transitional Asthma Service), 2009-


National and International responsibilities

 

Visiting Scientist and Scholar, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati, US, 2010-
Privatdozent’ (PD, Priv. Doz.) for Pneumology at the Paracelsus Medical University (PMU) in Salzburg Austria, 2014-
Member of European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Action BM1201, Developmental Origins of Chronic Lung Disease, 2011
Link: http://www.cost.eu/COST_Actions/bmbs/BM1201

 

 

 

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Postgraduate Students

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IPhD main supervisor

Bachelor of Medicine (BM) Programme 5

Tutor and marker of assignments in Cardiopulmonary Systems Course:  Year 1 students
Marker of assignments: Year 3 students.
Project supervisor: Year 4 students in depth & intercalated BSc.

BM5/BM (EU)

Coordinator of Scientific Basis of Medicine (SBOM) for Respiratory Medicine: Year 3 students.

Nuffield Science School and Colleges Bursaries

Project supervisor

British Science Association: Creativity in Science and Technology (CREST)

Mentor

 

Dr Hans Michael Haitchi
Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, CES Academic Unit, Level F, South Block, MP810, Tremona Road, Southampton SO166YD, UK.

Room Number: SGH/LF101/MP810

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