Lung Inflammation & Infection

Dr David Reid

Group Leader

A major focus of the Lung Inflammation and Infection program is to investigate the interaction between bacterial pathogens and the host innate immune response within the lung. Chronic respiratory diseases characterised by infection are prevalent in Australia and globally. The group are studying the role of iron and other biologically active metal ions in promoting bacterial infection in the lungs of patients with the genetic disease cystic fibrosis (CF) and other suppurative lung diseases. To do this the group is studying bacterial and host immune system interactions in vivo using a number of biochemical, molecular and cell imaging methods and also modelling these interactions using mouse models. They are developing molecules to interfere with bacterial iron acquisition with the goal of developing these as antibiotic adjuncts.


  • combine studies in humans, mice and transfected cell lines to demonstrate that abnormal iron homeostasis in CF promotes bacterial infection with the pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa and leads to worse disease outcomes
  • confirm the efficacy of interventions that target bacterial iron homeostasis – particularly against biofilm dwelling bacteria. These experiments at present are targeting P. aeruginosa, but we will expand to antibiotic multi-resistant pathogens such as MRSA and seek industry support as well as generate an IP position
  • study the microbiome of the normal human lung and how this is affected by cigarette smoking and therapeutic interventions such as inhaled corticosteroids. We have spent 15 years contributing to a very large biobank of human lung tissues and we have now completed analysis of the lung microbiome in smokers with and without COPD
  • expand our biometal research into other chronic respiratory diseases using a combination of human and mouse studies


  • Amali Fernando, Research Assistant
  • Dr Ama-Tawiah Essilfie, Research Officer
  • Hiu On Man, Research Assistant
  • Page Whibley, Research Assistant

Internal Collaborators

  • National Health and Medical Research Council
  • Cystic Fibrosis Federation, Australia