Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineNational Heart & Lung Institute

Lecturer in Respiratory Immunology







Mint WingSt Mary's Campus





Dr Ryan Thwaites is a Lecturer in Respiratory Immunology within the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London.

Dr Thwaites obtained his PhD in 2015 in the field of innate immunology from the Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex. Following on from this work, he joined Professor Peter Openshaw and Professor Trevor Hansel as a postdoctoral research associate at the NHLI.

Dr Thwaites' postdoctoral research focused on the immune system of the human respiratory tract, incorporating studies of natural viral infections and 'challenge' studies in healthy adults. These challenge studies included non-infectious human models of innate immune activation (such as Toll-like receptor agonists), allergens and experimental human infection models with respiratory viruses such as Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and SARS-CoV-2 (the cause of COVID-19). These studies furthered the development of non-invasive techniques for sampling the airways, including the development of nasosorption as a tool for studying respiratory viral infections in children. This postdoctoral work challenged the existing dogmas of viral disease severity in children, developed the minimally-invasive endophenotyping of chronic respiratory diseases, and identified the role of neutrophils in governing susceptibility to respiratory viral infections. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic Dr Thwaites worked within the ISARIC4C consortium to profile the immunopathogenic response to SARS-CoV-2 infection in cases of severe disease. These studies continued into monitoring the nature and longevity of immunity to SARS-CoV-2 after natural infection and vaccination. These studies sought to identify the elements of the immune response to infection that contributed to disease severity, versus those that contribute to clearing infection.

In October 2021 Dr Thwaites established an independent research group at the NHLI. This group continues to study the immune response to respiratory viral infections, with particular interests in the drivers of disease severity and the factors governing susceptibility to viral infections.



Siggins MK, Davies K, Fellows R, et al., 2022, Alternative pathway dysregulation in tissues drives sustained complement activation and predicts outcome across the disease course in COVID-19, Immunology, ISSN:0019-2805

McGinley J, Thwaites R, Brebner W, et al., 2022, A systematic review and meta-analysis of animal studies investigating the relationship between serum antibody, T lymphocytes, and respiratory syncytial virus disease, Journal of Infectious Diseases, Vol:226, ISSN:0022-1899, Pages:S117-S129

Evans RA, Leavy OC, Richardson M, et al., 2022, Clinical characteristics with inflammation profiling of long COVID and association with 1-year recovery following hospitalisation in the UK: a prospective observational study, The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, Vol:10, ISSN:2213-2600, Pages:761-775

Norris T, Razieh C, Zaccardi F, et al., 2022, Impact of cardiometabolic multimorbidity and ethnicity on cardiovascular/renal complications in patients with COVID-19, Heart, Vol:108, ISSN:1355-6037, Pages:1200-1208

Relph KA, Russell CD, Fairfield CJ, et al., 2022, Procalcitonin is not a reliable biomarker of bacterial coinfection in people with coronavirus disease 2019 undergoing microbiological investigation at the time of hospital admission, Open Forum Infectious Diseases, Vol:9, ISSN:2328-8957

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