Chalmers, James

Professor, Asthma and Lung UK Chair of Respiratory Research, MBChB, PhD, FRCPE, FERS

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1983 …2024

Research activity per year

Personal profile


Professor James D Chalmers studied medicine in Glasgow before medical training in South East Scotland. in 2008 he was awarded a Medical Research Council Training Fellowship to undertake a PhD into the immunology of bronchiectasis at the MRC Centre for Inflammation Research in Edinburgh. He moved to the University of Dundee in 2011 and established his independent research group in 2012. He was awarded a Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Fellowship in Molecular Microbiology in 2013 and subsequently was awarded the GSK/British Lung Foundation Chair in Respiratory Research and a Senior Clinical Fellowship from the Scottish Government Chief Scientists Office in 2017. 

Professor Chalmers is an active clinician running a specialist clinic for patients with difficult respiratory infections, particularly bronchiectasis, as an honorary consultant physician at Ninewells Hospital. 

He has been recognised with a number of prestigious awards including the British Thoracic Society Early Career Investigator Award in 2011, the John Munro Medal for Excellence in Teaching from the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh in 2014, the Romain Pauwels Award for Scientific Achievements from the European Respiratory Society in 2017 and the Patrick Neil Medal from the Royal Society of Edinburgh. In 2021 he received the Cournand Lecture Award from the European Respiratory Society, the Mid-Career Peer Recognition Award from the American Thoracic Society and the Herald Higher Education Outstanding Contribution Award. 

He has published more than 350 peer reviewed manuscripts and chaired several international guideline panels including the 2017 European Bronchiectasis Guidelines, the 2020 European Guidelines for ICS use in COPD, the European Respiratory Society Living Guideline for Management of Hospitalized Patients with COVID-19 and the upcoming European Respiratory Society Guidelines for the Management of Bronchiectasis in Adults. He was appointed as Deputy Chief Editor of the European Respiratory Journal and was appointed Chief Editor in 2018. He is current Chair of the Science and Research Committee of the British Thoracic Society and co-Chairs the Scottish Government Chief Scientist Office Translational Clinical Studies Committee. 


Our research group aims to develop new treatments for acute and chronic lung diseases through experimental medicine, the translation of scientific discoveries into patient benefit. 

We do this through a combination of basic investigation, clinical cohorts and interventional clinical studies allowing a genuinely "bench to bedside" approach. A key focus of the laboratory is studying the interaction of the immune response, particularly neutrophils and the microbiome with the aim of developing novel antibiotic and non-antibiotic approaches to treating lung disease.

We are regarded as the worlds leading research centre for the study of bronchiectasis, a chronic respiratory disease affecting more than 200,000 people in the UK. Dundee hosts the EMBARC European Bronchiectasis Network and leads multiple international studies including a number of randomized clinical trials of novel therapies with academic partners and international pharmaceutical companies. 

There are active research programmes within the group into chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COVID-19, Long COVID, influenza, pneumonia, non-tuberculous mycobacterial disease and pleural infection.

Work is supported by grants from Asthma and Lung UK, the Scottish Government Chief Scientist Office, the European Respiratory Society, the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, the National Institute for Healthcare Research, Lifearc and the pharmaceutical industry. 

Research interests

Respiratory Infections






Neutrophilic inflammation



Mucociliary clearance

Experimental Medicine


Randomized Clinical Trials 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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