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DPhil Opportunities

“Moving disease detection upstream in airways diseases: towards a predict and prevent approach”.

Nayia Petousi


Senior Clinical Research Fellow & Consultant Respiratory Physician

Research Biography and Interests

Short Biography 

I am a Consultant Respiratory Physician at Oxford University Hospitals and a Senior Clinical Research Fellow in Respiratory Medicine at the Nuffield Department of Medicine.

I hold a degree in Medicine (MB BChir) from the University of Cambridge. After a period of speciality training in Addenbrooke’s and Papworth Hospital as a respiratory registrar, I came to Oxford in 2009 to study for a DPhil in Biomedical Basic Sciences (Physiology), funded by a Wellcome Trust Fellowship, supervised by Professor Sir Peter Ratcliffe and Professor Peter Robbins. Following my DPhil in 2013, I continued my academic and clinical training at Oxford, as a NIHR academic clinical lecturer, which I completed in 2018.

Research Interests and current projects:

My research interests to date have centred around hypoxia (including the HIF pathway) and integrative cardio-pulmonary physiology, with translational applications on a number of disease entities: high-altitude physiology, genetic erythrocytosis, obstructive sleep apnoea, airways diseases and  recently COVID-19. 

My current work focuses on a translational programme which explores the clinical utility of novel non-invasive physiological techniques as new measures of lung disease and function. Focusing on airways diseases, the overarching aim is to: improve early disease detection, better understand the origins of phenotypic variation in respiratory disease, more accurately assess disease progression or treatment response and identify novel treatable traits, ultimately improving targeting of treatments to patients.

COVID-19 Research: In July 2020, I was awarded a NIHR-OUH research capability fund award to investigate the short and long-term sequelae of COVID-19 on pulmonary function. This facilitated the set-up of an integrated NHS & research post-COVID clinic at Oxford University Hospitals. Through this clinic, I supported as an investigator in Oxford, the local running and coordination of the National NIHR/UKRI multi-centre post-hospitalisation COVID-19 study (PHOSP-C). An additional grant from the University’s COVID-19 Research Response Fund (held jointly with Dr Nick Talbot) facilitated research investigating the effects of COVID-19 pneumonia on respiratory and pulmonary vascular physiology using state-of-the-art physiological tools.

Research in Airways Diseases:  We are using a novel non-invasive physiological technique that quantifies lung inhomogeneity (unevenness) to endotype airways diseases. The technique (Computed Cardiopulmonography) consists of a novel technology, the Molecular Flow Sensor (developed by Prof Peter Robbins' & Prof Grant Richie's groups in DPAG & Chemistry) that uses laser absorption spectroscopy to accurate measure respired gases with unprecedented, coupled with a new mathematical model of the lung. We have shown that a novel measure of inhomogeneity  in lung ventilation, termed sigmaCL, holds real promise as a sensitive marker of small airways disease. 

We are now assessing its utility to track and predict therapeutic responses in patients with Type-2 high asthma (DPhil Student: Asma Alamoudi). Additionally, in conjunction with a novel rapid exhaled NO sensor (developed by Grant Ritchie and Lorenzo Petralia in Chemistry) we are assessing relationships between depth of NO production in the lung and clinical phenotypic characteristics and treatment effects in patients with asthma (DPhil Student: Haopeng Xu).


Key publications

Recent publications

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