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Professor Tom Wilkinson MA Cantab, MBBS, PhD, FRCP

Professor of Respiratory Medicine and Honorary NHS Consultant Physician

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Professor Tom Wilkinson is Professor of Respiratory Medicine and Honorary NHS Consultant Physician within Medicine at the University of Southampton.

Professor Tom Wilkinson was appointed as Consultant and Senior Lecturer to a joint post held between the Respiratory and Nutrition BRUs and allied to the faculty of medicine in July 2010. He was subsequently awarded a HEFCE New Blood Senior Lectureship on the basis of his track record of clinically focused research in COPD and respiratory infection having been recognised as European COPD researcher of the year prior to his move from UCL. Since his appointment in Southampton Dr Wilkinson has raised over £7m for COPD and infection research.

Professor Wilkinson’s work focuses on understanding the mechanisms which contribute to the vulnerability to and impact of respiratory infections in patients with chronic lung disease. He is co-lead of the Southampton COPD group and is establishing a cohort of deeply phenotyped patients with COPD to determine the mechanisms driving exacerbations of this disease. Close collaborations in Southampton, London and Oxford have been established to uncover the interaction between nutritional status, immune responses and infection. He has contributed to the establishment of unique ex-vivo and in vivo infection challenge models and is clinical lead on the EVITA programme (ex-vivo models of infection and therapeutics in airways disease) which has established a translational pathway for novel therapies from simple cell systems to complex human viral challenge models.

Tom was appointed to the role of Associate Director of Innovation and Enterprise for the faculty of Medicine and has a lead role in fostering major collaborations between industrial partners and the faculty.


MA Medicine Cambridge 1992
MBBS London 1995
MRCP London 1998
PhD London 2006

Appointments held

HEFCE Senior Lecturer Southampton 2011

NIHR BRU Consultant/ Senior Lecturer Southampton 2010

NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer Southampton 2007

Clinical Lecturer UCL 2005

Clinical Research Fellow QMUL 2001

Research interests

EVITA Project

The ex- vivo infection and therapeutics in airways disease project uses new approaches to study the impact and mechanisms of infection in human lung tissue explants. Patented novel approaches have been developed to interrogate complex tissue responses to pathogens at the individual level and models of RSV, human rhinovirus and influenza have been established. The platform has proven to be very useful in pre-clinical proof of concept for anti-virals and drugs for inflammatory airways disease and is currently the focus of a university licensing agreement with major pharma.

COPD Studies

COPD is a disease of global importance and will become the third greatest cause of worldwide mortality by 2020. Patients with this disease are particularly susceptible to the effects of infection in the lung and both acute and chronic infections contribute significantly to the enormous burden of this disease. The Southampton COPD group ( co-lead with Dr Simon Bourne) has established clinical cohorts to determine the mechanisms underpinning the dynamics and susceptibility to infection. We have become the hub for a 5 year collaboration with GSK to develop new vaccines for this patient population.

Nutrition, Infection and Immunology

The human body is under the constant threat of infection and there is increasing recognition that the nutritional state is a key modulator of our immune responses to this attack. Malnutrition is a common phenomenon globally and in certain chronic disease states such as COPD. A unique collaboration between experts in nutrition, immunology, microbiology and respiratory medicine is working towards understanding the complex interactions between these factors.

Human Challenge Studies

Viral infections are important cause of illness in patients with respiratory diseases and pathogens such as influenza continue to threaten global health despite widely used vaccines.
The development of viral challenge models involving the experimental infection of healthy volunteers provides a unique platform to determine disease mechanisms and to provide platforms for proof of concept for new therapies. This work is established for RSV, HRV and influenza and expansion into higher category pathogens is in development.


Clinical and Experimental Sciences

Affiliate Department(s)

Respiratory and allergy Research group

Research project(s)

Chinese Herbal medicine to aid AnTibiotic use reduction in exacerbation of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (CHAT COPD)

CERAbTc-19 (Clinical Evaluation of Rapid Antibody Test for Covid-19)

Post graduate student supervision

2011 Victoria Kim PhD student
2011 Anna Barton MD student
2011 Fazleen Razali Medical Student Intercalated Project

Group Lead Southampton COPD Group

Associate Director Innovation and Enterprise faculty of Medicine

Member national Oxygen Prescription Guidelines

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  • BM4 course facilitator
  • MIP Tutor
  • OSCE Examiner
  • Lecturer BM4 and BM5 Courses
  • Facilitator and Lecturer COPD Diploma Course
Professor Tom Wilkinson
Phone: (023) 8120 5341

Room Number: SGH/LF70/MP810

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