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The University of Southampton

Professor Howard Clark BA, MA (Cantab), MB, BChir, MD, MA (Oxon), DPhil, MRCP, FRCPCH

Professor of Child Health, Head of Academic Department of Child Health

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Professor Howard Clark is Professor of Child Health within Medicine at the University of Southampton.

Prof Howard Clark BA MA MB BChir MA MD (Cantab) MA DPhil (Oxon) MRCP MRCPCH is Professor of Child Health and Head of the Academic Department of Child Health at the University of Southampton and Honorary Consultant in Paediatrics (Neonatal Medicine) at the Southampton University Hospitals Trust. Professor Clark read medicine at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and completed a degree in Philosophy before completing clinical training at Cambridge University Clinical School at Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge. After completing general paediatric training at the Royal Hospital for Children in Bristol and Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children in Hackney, London, he took up a Fellowship in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at the Cardiovascular Research Institute and Department of Paediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in the United States. In addition to training in neonatology he carried out basic research on lung surfactant biochemistry and metabolism in the laboratories of Dr John Clements and Professor Samuel Hawgood for which he was awarded the MD by Cambridge University. On returning to Britain as Eden Fellow in Paediatrics of the Royal College of Physicians of London he carried out basic research on lung surfactant proteins A and D at the MRC Immunochemistry Unit in the Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford for which he was awarded the DPhil. He was awarded a Beit Memorial Fellowship for Medical Research to continue these studies and was appointed as an MRC Senior Scientist in 2002, completing clinical training in neonatology at the John Radcliffe Hospital. Whilst in Oxford Professor Clark demonstrated that a recombinant fragment of surfactant protein D was an effective anti inflammatory agent in models of allergic and infectious lung disease and demonstrated a key function of surfactant protein D in the clearance of apoptotic cells in the lung showing that this mechanism was protective against the development of pulmonary emphysema. Prof Clark was awarded the 2002 Medical Futures Glaxo SmithKline Award for the best Innovation to Improve Child Health and the Young Investigator Medal of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. He was awarded a Senior Research Fellowship in Medicine at Mansfield College, Oxford in 2004 and left Oxford to take up his current position as Head of the Department of Child Health at Southampton in 2007.


BA . Hons Cambridge 1987
MBBChir Cambridge 1990
MA Cambridge 1991 MD Cambridge 1999
MA Oxford 1999
DPhil Oxford 2003

Research interests

Professor Clark’s research focus is on the structure function relationships of surfactant proteins A and D and their roles in health and disease. With Professor Tony Postle he leads the surfactant biology group in the Department of Child Health and a major impetus of the group’s research is to apply basic biochemical and physiological understanding relating to surfactant composition structure and function to the development of second generation lung surfactant therapies for a wide range of lung diseases including, neonatal respiratory distress syndrome, asthma, cystic fibrosis, lung infection and pulmonary emphysema. Professor Clark has been involved in translational medical research since the very first successful clinical trials of the first artificial surfactant were carried out in the UK for neonatal RDS- including the first dry powder surfactant ALEC developed in Cambridge. He was also involved with the first clinical trials of Exosurf in the US and in the UK. Whilst current surfactant therapy with animal sourced surfactants such as Survanta and Curosurf has been very successful in reducing mortality from neonatal RDS, approximately 40% of infants surviving after birth at less than 28 weeks gestation have chronically inflamed lungs and develop neonatal chronic lung disease. Current surfactants do not contain SP-A and SP-D. We have characterized a recombinant fragment of surfactant protein D which may have beneficial adjunctive effects to reduce inflammation and thus reduce the incidence of these co-morbidities. Our research has also demonstrated however that these surfactant proteins are also involved in inhibiting allergy and generally in the protection of mucosal surfaces from noxious pro-inflammatory stimuli. We are currently attempting to characterize surfactant abnormalities in detail in cohorts of patients with respiratory disease with the aim of identifying subgroups of patients who might benefit from current surfactant therapy or surfactant specifically designed to repair the damage done to the endogenous surfactant system in common lung diseases.

Recombinant human SP-D
Recombinant human SP-D


Clinical and Experimental Sciences

Affiliate Department(s)

Respiratory and allergy Research group

Current Postgraduate Student Supervision

PhD (Southampton)
Dr Kevin Goss, Ms Jacqueline Pugh, Ms Zofie MacKenzie, Dr Mark Johnson

National and International Responsibilities

External examiner, MSc in Paediatrics, Imperial College, London

Chair, Academic CSAC, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH)
Chair, Academic Panel of Academic Regional Advisors , RCPCH
Academic Regional Advisor for Wessex, RCPCH
Executive Committee, Academic Paediatric Association of Great Britain and Ireland
Treasurer and Trustee, Neonatal Society

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Undergraduate and graduate training

Professor Clark teaches medical students and oversees the paediatric undergraduate curriculum. He welcomes inquiries from students interested in finding out more about research in paediatrics.

Postgraduate Training and Academic Clinical Fellowship Programme

Professor Clark leads the Academic Clinical Fellowship Programme in Child Health and also welcomes inquiries from graduates interested in undertaking postgraduate work within the surfactant biology group, the Department of Child Health and in Integrated Physiology and Stratified Medicine.

He is the Education Lead for the Southampton NIHR Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit Clinical Research Fellowship programme in Respiratory Medicine.

Professor Howard Clark
Phone: (023) 8120 6160 Fax: (023) 8120 8847 Email:

Room Number: SGH/LF104/MP803

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