Assessing the relationship of host immune responses and infection to recurrent pulmonary exacerbations in cystic fibrosis

  • Claire Houston

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Pulmonary exacerbations (PEx) are clinically impactful events that accelerate Cystic Fibrosis (CF) lung disease progression. Current PEx treatment approaches have suboptimal outcomes and the frequency of PEx experienced by people with CF (pwCF) is variable and poorly predicted by demographic or clinical factors. There is an unmet need to improve the prediction, treatment, and management of PEx, however this has been hampered by a lack of understanding of the pathophysiology of PEx. Characterisation of the underlying host immune and microbiological mechanisms underlying PEx could improve therapeutic management of PEx and inform a more individualised approach to treatment. In this thesis we provide novel insights into the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying infrequent and frequent exacerbations which we anticipate will be highly informative for improving the personalisation of treatment of PEx through targeting the underlying disease processes.

Thesis is embargoed until 31 December 2027.
Date of AwardDec 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SponsorsNorthern Ireland Department for the Economy
SupervisorDamian Downey (Supervisor), Cliff Taggart (Supervisor) & Michael Tunney (Supervisor)


  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • airways
  • immunology
  • microbiology
  • pulmonary exacerbations
  • phenotypes
  • sputum
  • proteomics
  • microbiome
  • inflammation
  • innate immunity

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