Belfast Health and Social Care Trust; Queen’s University of Belfast

The Centre for Experimental Research, Queen’s University Belfast, is committed to research excellence in experimental medicine by making scientific breakthroughs in the mechanisms of disease which translate it innovative therapeutics to improve patient outcomes. We are focused on common conditions such as asthma, COPD, cough, cystic fibrosis, and acute respiratory distress syndrome with an emphasis on clinical trials, immunology, cell biology and patient-based investigations.


This centre offers access to databases with patient cohorts in severe asthma, COPD, cough, cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis. This centre has staff resources provided by the NICRN as well as a Clinical Research Facility, with 10 rooms available for use in clinical trials.

This centre has capabilities in the following areas:

  • Bronchoscopy with lavage and brushing
  • Induced sputum
  • Exhaled nitric oxide/breath condensate
  • Cough challenge and ambulatory cough monitoring
  • Novel endpoints- lung clearance index biomarkers
  • Primary human pulmonary cell work
  • Animal models of acute lung injury and acute infection
  • Ex vivo model for ALI (LPS-injury in ex vivo perfused whole human lung)

Leading academic expertise

Led by Dr Lorcan McGarvey, the centre offers expertise in:

Severe asthma - Professor Liam Heaney

Acute lung Injury - Dr Cecilia O’Kane and Professor Danny McAuley

Cough - Dr Lorcan McGarvey

COPD - Dr Lorcan McGarvey and Professor Cliff Taggart

Bronchiectasis and cystic fibrosis - Dr Damian Downey, Professor Judy Bradley and Professor Cliff Taggart

Airway infectious diseases - Professor Jose Bengoechea