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Professor Donna Davies

Professor Donna Davies

Prof in Resp. Cell & Molecular Biology

Research interests

  • Mechanisms of lung diseases
  • Viral-induced exacerbations of lung disease
  • Asthma

More research

Accepting applications from PhD students.

Connect with Donna

Email: d.e.davies@soton.ac.uk

Address: Southampton General Hospital, Tremona Road Shirley, SO16 6YD (View in Google Maps)

Research

Research interests

  • Mechanisms of lung diseases
  • Viral-induced exacerbations of lung disease
  • Asthma
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • COPD

Current research

Professor Davies leads a multidisciplinary group that studies mechanisms of respiratory diseases, especially in areas of unmet medical need such as severe, corticosteroid refractory asthma, virus-induced exacerbations of asthma and COPD, interstitial lung diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and, most recently, COVID-19. She has pioneered the use of in vitro models allowing the use of methodologies that could not be used ethically in vivo. The group works closely with respiratory physicians and colleagues within the centre, with other academic centres and industry in the UK, Europe and the USA.

Notable discoveries from her work include demonstration of defective epithelial barrier function in asthma, dissection of the biological function of the asthma susceptibility gene, ADAM33, involvement of the epithelial mesenchymal tropic unit in asthma pathogenesis, dysregulation of collagen nanoarchitecture in IPF and identification of a lesion in innate immune response of asthmatic epithelial cells that may explain why the common cold virus causes exacerbations of asthma. The latter discovery led to a patent for the use of inhaled interferon-beta (IFN-β) for treatment of virus-induced exacerbations of asthma and COPD. To translate this discovery into a potentially new therapy, she co-founded the University of Southampton spin-out company ‘Synairgen’, with Stephen Holgate and Ratko Djukanovic in 2003 and she continues to play an active role in the company. The company has developed inhaled IFN-β and successfully completed phase II trials in asthma and COPD. With the urgency of the COVID19 pandemic, the company redirected its efforts towards testing inhaled IFN-β  as a treatment for this disease.

Research projects

Active projects

Researchers: ,
Professor Donna Davies
Sponsor: British Lung Foundation
Researchers: ,
Doctor Yihua Wang
Sponsor: Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG

Completed projects

Researchers:
Professor Donna Davies
Sponsor: Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council
Researchers:
Professor Donna Davies
Sponsor: Asthma UK
Researchers:
Professor Donna Davies
Sponsor: Aair Charity
Researchers:
Professor Donna Davies
Sponsor: Aair Charity
Researchers:
Professor Donna Davies
Sponsor: Avontech Gmbh (Germany)
Researchers: ,
Doctor Yihua Wang
Sponsor: Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG
Researchers:
Professor Donna Davies
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Sponsor: Asthma UK
Researchers:
Professor Donna Davies
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Sponsor: Aair Charity
Researchers: ,
Professor John Holloway
Sponsor: National Asthma Campaign
Researchers:
Professor Donna Davies
Sponsor: Southampton University Development Trust
Researchers:
Professor Donna Davies
Sponsor: Medical Research Foundation
Researchers: ,
Professor Donna Davies
Sponsor: Medical Research Council
Researchers:
Professor Donna Davies ,
Sponsor: Medical Research Council
Researchers: ,
Professor Donna Davies
Sponsor: Medical Research Council
Researchers:
Professor Donna Davies ,
Sponsor: EPSRC
Researchers: ,
Professor Donna Davies ,
Sponsor: EPSRC
Sponsor: Medical Research Council
Researchers: ,
Professor Donna Davies ,
Sponsor: AMC Medical Research
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