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Nayia Petousi


Senior Clinical Research Fellow & Consultant Respiratory Physician

Research Biography

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. I am particularly interested in describing and understanding the origins of phenotypic variation in respiratory disease and, through rigorous measurements in disease activity, identifying treatable traits.

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, more accurately assess disease progression or treatment response and identify novel treatable traits, ultimately improving  targeting of treatments to patients.

In July 2020, I was awarded a NIHR-OUH research capability fund award to investigate the short and long-term sequalae of COVID-19 on pulmonary function. This facilitated the set-up of an integrated NHS & research post-COVID clinic at Oxford University Hospitals. 

Current research projects include:

1. Measuring lung inhomogeneity using a novel non-invasive technique to endotype airways diseases: Using a novel "laser gas analyser" that accurately measures respired gases (developed by Prof Peter Robbins' & Prof Grant Ritchie's groups in DPAG & Chemistry) coupled with a new mathematical model of the lung, we have shown that a novel measure of inhomogeneity (unevenness) in lung ventilation holds real promise as a sensitive marker of small airways disease. We are now assessing its utility as a measure for tracking or predicting therapeutic response in T2-high asthma.

2. Investigating the effects of COVID-19 pneumonia on respiratory & pulmonary vascular physiology:     Using detailed cardiorespiratory phenotyping of patients during their recovery period from COVID-19 disease, this project investigates whether abnormal respiratory physiology persists following the acute illness. Using state-of-the art hypoxia challenge testing, a particular aim is to investigate if there are persistent abnormalities in the body’s homeostatic responses to hypoxia (e.g. hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction) following COVID-19. This may provide mechanistic insights into the acute illness and provide further opportunities for therapeutic trials. 

3. National NIHR/UKRI multi-centre post-hospitalisation COVID-19 study (PHOSP-C). I am one of the local investigators in Oxford. The PHOSP-C study is run and coordinated from my post-COVID clinic, with research nurse support from the Oxford Respiratory Trials Unit.

I supervise two DPhil students: Asma Alamoudi & Haopeng Xu, together with Prof Peter Robbins (DPAG) and Prof Ian Pavord (NDM). I am always keen to hear from prospective DPhil students, clinical academic trainees and Part 2 students.

Recent publications

More publications