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


I am 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 Department of Medicine and Pharmacology.

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-3α) 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. During 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 undertake such 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 and Dental Courses.

Professional Activities:

  • I am Chair of the Biochemical Society Awards Committee.
  • I am a member of The Fellowship and Awards Committee of the European Respiratory Society.
  • I am Editor-in-Chief of Biochemical Society Transactions.
  • I am Faculty representative on the University Health and Safety Committee .

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 BPIF/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. Latterly, 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 and understanding the biology of these genes is a key focus of my work. My continuing studies in this area are designed to 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 have expanded my studies into the more tractable murine model systems with the aim of identifying the function of individual genes from these gene families.

My group works extensively with primary airway epithelial cells (both human and murine) in differentiated air liquid interface cultures as tools to understand the regulation of airway epithelial cell specific genes. This work also now involves studies of salivary gland biology. At a more clinical level we are also studying host/pathogen interactions using both viral (Influenza A, RSV) and bacterial (Staphylococcus aureus and NTHi) infections. We are presently developing these models to understand the biology of co-infections as well as the role of inflammatory cells

This applied work has allowed me to continue to study the role of epithelial differentiation in the respiratory tract and to use disease models and our novel genes to study aspects of pulmonary cell plasticity in the lung. It has also led to new avenues of work on epithelial responses in nasopharyngeal infections and in otitis media and latterly to more applied studies on the biology of multiciliogenesis.

Current Funding:

2018 – 2019: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council project grant. BPIFA1: from anti-viral peptide to immunomodulator.
2017 – 2021: Commonwealth Scholarship PhD Studentship. Dissecting the genetics and proteomics of the airway epithelia to identify novel mediators of multiciliogenesis pathways.
2018 – 2021: Government of Saudi Arabia PhD Studentship. The role of host cells and Staphylococcus aureus virulence factors in the initiation of respiratory infection.
2018 – 2021: Government of Saudi Arabia PhD Studentship. A role for BPIFB1 in the immunity of the respiratory tract.
2017 – 2020: Government of Saudi Arabia PhD Studentship. Uncovering the role of BPIFA1 in Influenza infection of the lung.


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

Journal articles