Professor Colin D Bingle

Professor of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology

Department of Infection, Immunity & Cardiovascular DiseaseColin Bingle
University of Sheffield
Medical School
Beech Hill Road
S10 2RX
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)114 215 9514
Fax: +44 (0)114 271 1863


Currently, I am a Professor of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology in the Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease at the University of Sheffield. I have been at Sheffield since 1997 when I was appointed to a Lectureship to support the development of molecular and cell biology within the Unit following the appointment of Professor Moira Whyte.

My research has been focused on lung epithelial cell biology since I undertook a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Washington University in St Louis between 1991 and 1993. During that time I became interested in the molecular basis of cell type specific gene expression and I published the first ever paper that identified a specific functional role for a transcription factor (HNF-3) in the regulation of a lung specific gene (Biochem J 1993;295:227-232). Since this time my work has continued to employ molecular biology techniques to address questions relating to the regulation, structure, expression and function of pulmonary epithelial genes.

Research Interests:

My long-standing research interests have been focused on cellular differentiation and regulation of gene expression within the developing and adult pulmonary epithelium. This work involves the isolation of pulmonary epithelial cell specific genes as well as the transcription factors, which regulate their expression. Over the past few years my interests have expanded into the fields of the genetics of complex diseases, pulmonary immunology, innate immunity and host defence. Over my time in Sheffield I have also come to appreciate the importance of utilising clinical material as a scientific resource and I have established multiple collaborations to enable the collection and use of such samples for my work.

Teaching Interests:

My teaching interests lie in aspects of genetics and comparative genomics which I teach on the MSc in Molecular Medicine.  I also teach on the Undergraduate Medical Course

Professional Activities:

  • I am a member of the Council of the European Respiratory Society.
  • I am a member of the Animal Science Group at the Society of Biology
  • I am Faculty representative on the University Health and Safety Committee and Chair of the Medical School Health and Safety Committee.
  • I am Editor of Biochemical Society Transactions.
  • I am on the Editorial Board of Experimental Lung Research and I am an Editorial Advisor for the Biochemical Journal.

Current Projects:

My research projects largely focus on the identification and characterisation of novel innate immune regulators, particularly members of the WFDC (Oncogene 2002;21:2768-2773) and PLUNC (Hum Mol Gen 2002;11:937-943) protein families. Indeed we identified the later family of proteins and they have gone on to become a significant area of my research focus. Laterly, I have become involved in studies designed to investigate the function and expression of these genes in the developing and diseased respiratory tract using a wide range of clinical samples (J Path 2005; 205: 491-497, Resp Res 2006; April 6;7:61, Resp Res 2007; Nov7:8:79).

My continuing and future studies in this area will elucidate the role these proteins play in a range of pulmonary disease including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis (CF) and asthma in adults as well as in neonatal and paediatric diseases including RSV bronchiolitis and otitis media. I am also expanding my studies into the more tractable model systems with the aim of identifying the function of individual genes from these gene families.

I also work extensively with primary human airway epithelial cells in differentiated air liquid interface cultures as tools to understand the regulation of airway epithelial cell specific genes. At a more clinical level we are also studying host/pathogen interactions using both viral (RSV) and bacterial (Pseudomonas and NTHi) infections. We are presently using these models to understand the biology of co-infections with both RSV and NTHi.

I am using comparative genomic approaches to identify the molecular basis for the evolution of these host defence protein families. This work involves analysis and characterisation of gene families from a range of vertebrate species including chickens, cows and frogs as well as SNP analysis and studies of recent evolutionary events in the primate lineage.

Current Funding:

2013 - 2016 £324,581 Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. The role of SPLUNC1/BPIFA1 in the host response to respiratory virus infection.
2013 - 2017 £61,000 University of Sheffield Florey Institute Research Studentship. Interactions of airway glycoproteins with Staphylococcus aureus in the respiratory epithelium
2012 - 2015 £52,000 University of Sheffield Research Studentship. The role of PLUNCs in otitis media.
2014 - 2018 £72,514 University of Sheffield A*STAR Research Studentship. Generation of Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD) phenotype in vitro and assessment of impaired ciliary function on pathogen infection (with Dr Sudipito Roy).
2014 - 2017 £54,114 University of Sheffield Research Studentship. The role of BPIFA1 in the respiratory epithelium


For key publications see below.  For a full list of publications click here

Journal articles