Dr Roger Thompson

MB ChB BSc MRCP(UK) PhD

Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease

BHF Intermediate Clinical Fellow

Honorary Respiratory Consultant

r.thompson@sheffield.ac.uk
+44 114 215 9558

Full contact details

Dr Roger Thompson
Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease
The Medical School
Beech Hill Road
Sheffield
S10 2RX
Profile

I moved to Sheffield in 2006 to take up an NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship in Respiratory Medicine having completed my undergraduate training and a medical rotation in Edinburgh. I completed an MRC Training Fellowship and PhD in 2012 under the supervision of Professor Moira Whyte and Dr Sarah Walmsley before finishing my specialist clinical training as an NIHR Clinical Lecturer.

In 2016, I was appointed as a JG Graves Fellow and an Honorary Consultant in Respiratory Medicine at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. For 12 months from September 2017 I was a BHF-Fulbright scholar (www.fulbright.org.uk) in Professor Marlene Rabinovitch’s lab at Stanford University. Now back in Sheffield I will continue my research as a BHF Intermediate Clinical Fellow.

Research interests

Hypoxia has been the general theme of my research interests. In 2001 and 2003 I organised two successful high altitude research expeditions to Bolivia, focusing on maladaptive responses to hypoxia that can result in altitude illness (www.altitude.org). I hope to translate this interest in altitude hypoxia into understanding how the body responds to hypoxia in the context of respiratory disease at sea level.

During my PhD, I broadened my interests into the field of cell biology, specifically the role of HIF-2alpha in neutrophilic inflammation. I also worked on host pathogen interactions in hypoxia and demonstrated that ambient hypoxia adversely altered the host response to a limited bacterial challenge, provoking a profound phenotype of systemic illness including cardiovascular dysfunction.

Now I aim to align my research interests with my clinical interest in pulmonary hypertension using my background in pulmonary inflammation and hypoxia to provide new perspectives on this disease.

Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a devastating condition characterised by progressive remodelling of pulmonary blood vessels leading to right heart failure and death. The pattern recognition receptor, Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) is critically involved in the recognition of viral pathogens and emerging evidence suggests it regulates vascular remodelling. In collaboration with Laszlo Farkas (VCU), we showed that TLR3 deficiency exacerbated pulmonary hypertension, while activating TLR3 (using synthetic double-stranded RNA) reduced the severity of pulmonary hypertension in animal models of the disease.

My current work aims to dissect the mechanisms by which double-stranded RNA regulates pulmonary vascular remodelling and to assess the therapeutic impact of activating dsRNA signalling pathways in PAH models. I have also recently been awarded additional funding to investigate the impact of RNA editing on vascular remodelling. RNA editing is a post-transcriptional modification that promotes transcriptional diversity across tissues and can alter protein translation, stability, structure or function.

Editing events in transcripts of genes implicated in PAH could initiate or drive abnormal vascular cell phenotypes and contribute to progression of the disease.

Current projects

  • Hypoxic modulation of host responses to infection.
  • Regulation of pulmonary vascular remodelling by endogenous double stranded RNA.
  • Sheffield Lung Research Tissue Bank (Chief Investigator)
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