MRC Human Genetics Unit
Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit

Simon Biddie (Affiliate)

Genome regulation of lung inflammation, injury and repair

Dr Simon Biddie, CSO/NES Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Registrar in Intensive Care Medicine
Dr Simon Biddie, CSO/NES Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Registrar in Intensive Care Medicine

Research in a Nutshell

Severe organ injury can occur through multiple mechanisms and causes high morbidity and mortality. Lung injury caused by inflammation from pathogens such as bacteria and viruses (influenza and coronaviruses), can be severe, progressing to acute respiratory distress syndrome.

The response to bacterial or viral infection varies between individuals with some having mild symptoms, while others progress to severe disease. Genetic variants associated with this complex trait has been uncovered by GWAS. One theme aims to undercover functional non-coding genetic variants in inflammatory and infectious diseases, to decipher mechanisms of transcription control and genetic variation. We utilise genomic approaches to dissect the transcriptional changes and dynamics of chromatin structure, and contribution of genetic variation in cell systems of inflammation.

Lung injury engages cellular repair mechanisms to promote regeneration but also causes deleterious signals that have acute and long-term health consequences. We aim to understand the pathways and genes regulating acute inflammation and subsequent repair. This theme utilises single-cell transcriptomics with molecular lineage-tracing in animal models of lung injury, coupled with pharmacological and genetically inducible perturbation systems.

Severe organ injury can occur through many disease processes. Using genomic and ‘liquid biopsy’ based approaches, we are developing methods to understand the pathophysiological mechanisms in severe organ failure. This theme utilises patient-derived cell free nucleic acid analysis to decode organ and cellular injury across diverse diseases. These methods aim to improve the diagnosis, prognostication, and treatments in patients with critical illness.



Simon Biddie Clinical Lecturer
Nneka Nnadi Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Giovanna Weykopf PhD student
Alexis Ioannou PhD student



  • Professor Wendy Bickmore, MRC HGU, University of Edinburgh 
  • Professor Neil Henderson, IRR, University of Edinburgh 
  • Professor Christopher Lucas, IRR, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Kenny Baillie, Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh

Partners and Funders

  • Chief Science Office
  • Carnegie Trust


Scientific Themes

inflammation, lung injury, chromatin structure, transcription regulation