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The University of Southampton
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Dr Peter Lackie BA, MA, PhD

Non-Clinical Lecturer

Dr Peter Lackie's photo

Dr Peter Lackie is Non-Clinical Lecturer within Medicine at the University of Southampton.

After graduating from Cambridge University, Dr Lackie completed a PhD with Professor Dame Julia Polak, Department of Histochemistry at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School (now Imperial College), University of London. In his PhD he studied regulatory peptide production by lung endocrine cells of normal lung and in small cell carcinoma of the lung using immunogold labelling for electron microscopy. In 1986 he moved to the cell biology group in the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford working with Dr David Shotton studying the dynamics of the distribution of cell surface proteins on thymocytes. These studies used immunogold labelling techniques to study the redistribution of surface molecules on live cells in real time and three dimensions were developed in 1988 using one of the first MRC/Biorad confocal microscopes in collaboration with Dr Nick White. In 1989 he moved to the Biozentrum, University of Basel, Switzerland funded by a Wellcome Trust Travelling Fellowship, studying the cell biology of the cell adhesion molecule N-CAM and its modification by long-chain α2,8-linked polysialic acid. Of particular interest was the role of this glycosylation in epithelial-mesenchyme interactions as well as in small cell carcinoma of the lung. In 1991 he moved, together with Prof. Jürgen Roth’s group, to the Department of Pathology, University of Zürich, continuing this work and applying it to include cell interactions in mammalian development. He moved to Southampton and was appointed a non-clinical lecturer at the University of Southampton School of Medicine in 1992.

Current research projects focus on the functional involvement of a modified epithelium in allergic disease, particularly the cell biology of the "epithelial repair" phenotype and the cell and molecular biology of Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia and how this relates to the normal function and regulation of cilia.


BA Natural Sciences Tripos, University of Cambridge, 1982
MA Natural Sciences Tripos, University of Cambridge, 1986
PhD, Royal Postgraduate Medical School, University of London, 1987
Postgraduate diploma in software development [PGD Soft Dev], Open University, 2004.

Appointments held

Research assistant, Histochemistry Dept., Royal Postgraduate Medical School, University of London. 1985- 1986

Post-doctoral research assistant Cell Biology Group, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford. 1986- 1988

Wellcome Travelling Research Fellowship Cell Biology, Biocentre, University of Basel, Switzerland. 1989 – 1990

"Assistent" (demonstrator) Cell and Molecular Pathology, University of Zürich, Switzerland. 1990-1992

Non-clinical lecturer, School of Medicine, University of Southampton. 1992 – present.

Research interests

Epithelial cells lining the airway provide many essential functions. They are an integral part of the innate immune defence system acting as a barrier to infection and helping to provide immune surveillance. They produce mucus and ciliated cells power the mucociliary escalator. Maintaining the integrity and function of the airway epithelium is essential for life. Dr Lackie’s research focuses on three aspects of this.

1. Airway epithelial repair – role of glycoconjugates

When the airway epithelium is damaged, effective and timely repair is important. Epithelial damage, either due to excessive insult or ineffective repair has long been recognised as a characteristic of asthma. Surface glycoconjugates on epithelial cells are very important modulators of interactions between cells and for cells interacting with their substrate. Studies using lectins that very specifically block interactions though certain glycoconjugates have shown that repair, as assayed using a scratch wounding model is particularly dependent on maintaining interactions through fucose containing glycoconjugates.

2. Ciliary function – ciliary dyskinesia and interactions with bacteria

Cilia lining the epithelium of the respiratory tract clear mucus containing bacteria and particles by coordinated beating (image 1). This acts as a defence against infection. Southampton is one of 3 national centres for the diagnosis of Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD).People with PCD are born with a defect which prevents the cilia from beating normally, resulting in repeated chest infections and symptoms that may include a chronic nasal discharge, chronic sinusitis, glue ear and a wet cough.

Because the embryonic nodal cilium is often affected, 50% of people with PCD have mirroring of their visceral organs (situs inversus). A mouse model of PCD showing situs inversus based on a mutation in a heavy chain dynein gene- Dnahc11- has been characterized. Using live cell imaging of cilia and transmission electron microscopy to examine the structure of the cilia this has been shown to have a phenotype similar to PCD patients with mutations in the equivalent human dynein gene DNAH11.

As well as mutations in cilial genes cilial dysfunction can be caused by respiratory tract infection. Investigations of an alpha 1,6 binding lectin from Pseudomonas aeruginosa – a very common respiratory pathogen- have shown by electron microscopy that this lectin binds to cilia and using high speed video analysis the speed of cilial beating has been shown to be reduced by this lectin.

3. Epithelial function- Protocadherin-1 (PCDH1) in asthma

Three PCDH1 gene variants have been linked to bronchial hyperreactivity (BHR) and asthma. PCDH1 is expressed in differentiated airway epithelial cells. As part of a collaborative project between Dr Koppelman from Groningen University and Drs Holloway and Lackie from Southampton the differential sub-cellular localisation of PCDH1 in airway epithelial cells is being investigated.


Recent advances in live cell imaging have provided new insights into the cellular processes, localisation techniques are extensively used in the group including immunostaining for light and electron microscopy, confocal microscopy and time-lapse digital imaging. Other techniques applied to human tissue samples and a range of in vitro models include flow cytometry, RT-PCR, SDS-PAGE and immunoblotting.

Ciliated cells
Image 1 High speed video of airway

Research group

Clinical and Experimental Sciences

Affiliate research group

Infection and Immunity Research group

Postgraduate student supervision

1996 Saj Raza PhD
1998 Andrea Collinson MPhil
2000 S-H Leir PhD
2001 Sarah Williams PhD
2001 Sarah Field PhD (2nd supervisor)
2002 Anna James PhD (2nd supervisor)
2002 Caroline Bell PhD
2003 Ferdousi Chowdhury PhD
2006 James Hughes PhD
2006 Steve Sharma PhD


Grissel Faura Tellez PhD (Joint with Dr John Holloway & University of Groningen)

Faculty of Medicine

Academic lead, Biomedical Imaging unit
Biomedical Imaging Unit Committee
Recruitment and Admissions Committee
BMedSc Project Group
BMedSc Projects, ead of Respiratory Field

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Personal tutor. Medical admissions selector & interviewer.

Microscopy teaching (Post graduate & professional development) Supports the application of all types of microcopy in research projects as academic lead for the Biomedical imaging Unit. This includes individual support / teaching, introductory lectures to postgraduate students and occasional meeting on microscopy-related topics. Two courses each year teaching Advanced Light Microscopy (each 5 days FT) and two Electron Microscopy courses (each 4 days FT). 

BM4. Graduate group facilitator (since 2005/6).

BM5 BMedSc project supervisor and Head of Field for Respiratory projects.

Interprofessional Learning Unit 1 group facilitator.

Integrated PhD programme. Short project supervisor, marker & contributor to cell biology session.

Dr Peter Lackie
Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Building 85, Life Sciences Building, Highfield Campus, Southampton, SO171BJ

Room Number: SGH/LB76/MP12

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