Professor Colin D Bingle

Clinical Medicine, School of Medicine and Population Health

Professor of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology

Departmental Director of Research and Innovation

Professor Colin Bingle
Profile picture of Professor Colin Bingle
+44 114 215 9514

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Professor Colin D Bingle
Clinical Medicine, School of Medicine and Population Health
The Medical School
Beech Hill Road
S10 2RX

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I was promoted to Professor of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Sheffield in 2016. 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.

My interests have expanded into the fields of the genetics of complex diseases, pulmonary immunology, innate immunity and host defence.

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 involves the respiratory epithelium in its’ very widest sense and we work with airway, nasal and middle ear cells. This work also now involves studies of salivary gland biology. At a more clinical level we also studye blurb 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 in this process.

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 respiratory tract. 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, an interest of mice since working with FOXJ1 as a post-doc in St Louis.


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  • 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.
Teaching activities

My teaching interests lie in epithelial host defence and aspects of genetics and comparative genomics, which I teach on the MSc in Molecular Medicine. I also teach on the Undergraduate Medical,  Dental and Orthoptics Courses.

Professional activities and memberships
  • I am Editor-in-Chief of Biochemical Society Transactions.
  • I am Chair of the Biochemical Society Awards Committee.
  • I am a member of the Portland Press Publications Committee.