Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineNational Heart & Lung Institute

Asthma UK Clinical Chair



+44 (0)7931 376 544s.johnston




Mr Christophe Tytgat +44 (0)20 7594 3849




343Norfolk PlaceSt Mary's Campus





Sebastian Johnston is Professor of Respiratory Medicine & Allergy at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, and Honorary Consultant Physician in Respiratory Medicine & Allergy at St Mary’s Hospital, Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust, London. He is Director of the MRC & Asthma UK Centre in Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma, and is the Clinical Academic Training Lead for Respiratory Medicine at Imperial College & Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust.

He is an NIHR Senior Investigator, he holds the only Asthma UK Clinical Professorship and is the only Adult Respiratory Researcher in Europe to hold a European Research Council Advanced Investigator Grant. He is past Chairman of the Infection Groups in both the European Respiratory Society and the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and of the Asthma Section, European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

He was Editor of Thorax 2002-2010, is Associate Editor of 3 Respiratory/Allergy Journals and the European Journal of Clinical Investigation and serves on the Editorial Boards of several other respiratory and allergy journals. He has served on several MRC and NIH panels and currently serves on the European Research Council Physiology, Pathophysiology & Endocrinology Board. He receives grant support from the European Research Council (Advanced Research Grant of €2.5m), the MRC (three current grants of ~£1m), the Wellcome Trust (Centre Grant), Asthma UK, British Lung Foundation (Programme Grant), BMA, ERS, EAACI and NIH.

He is the Principal Investigator on the MRC/GSK Strategic Alliance – a ~£6M venture aiming discover novel mechanisms in asthma exacerbations. Notable discoveries that have emerged from his past work include establishing the viral aetiology of asthma exacerbations (BMJ x5, Lancet), demonstrating that asthmatics are more susceptible to rhinovirus infection than normal individuals (Lancet, PNAS), discovering novel mechanisms of susceptibility to virus infection in asthma (JEM, Nature Med and PNAS) and describing a novel and effective treatment approach for acute exacerbations of asthma (NEJM).

His work has led to the publishing of 10 patents, the licensing of these patents to industry and to completion of Phase I & II clinical studies on the use of IFN-beta for treatment of acute exacerbations of asthma.

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Bartlett NW, Walton RP, Edwards MR, et al., 2008, Mouse models of rhinovirus-induced disease and exacerbation of allergic airway inflammation, Nature Medicine, Vol:14, ISSN:1078-8956, Pages:199-204

Contoli M, Message SD, Laza-Stanca V, et al., 2006, Role of deficient type III interferon-λ production in asthma exacerbations, Nature Medicine, Vol:12, ISSN:1078-8956, Pages:1023-1026

Johnston SL, Blasi F, Black PN, et al., 2006, The effect of telithromycin in acute exacerbations of asthma, New England Journal of Medicine, Vol:354, ISSN:0028-4793, Pages:1589-1600

Wark PAB, Johnston SL, Bucchieri F, et al., 2005, Asthmatic bronchial epithelial cells have a deficient innate immune response to infection with rhinovirus, Journal of Experimental Medicine, Vol:201, ISSN:1540-9538, Pages:937-947

Corne JM, Marshall C, Smith S, et al., 2002, Frequency, severity, and duration of rhinovirus infections in asthmatic and non-asthmatic individuals: a longitudinal cohort study, The Lancet, Vol:359, ISSN:0140-6736, Pages:831-834

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