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Hydrogen sulphide as a treatment for respiratory disease.

School of Life Sciences

About the Project

We have demonstrated that hydrogen sulphide (H2S) is synthesised within the airways in the lungs. H2S synthesis in the airways occurs through activation of the enzymes cystathionine  lyase, cystathionine β synthase, and mercaptopyruvate sulphurtransferase (MPST). Very little is known about the role of MPST in the body. We have found that MPST expression and activity in the airways can be altered by inflammatory mediators, indicating that changes in MPST could be involved in the pathology of inflammatory airways diseases such as asthma. Our recent studies indicate that MPST may be located in the mitochondria in the airways and this mitochondrial source of H2S may play a role in the regulation of airway tone, possibly through effects on the epithelial cells. Therefore the aims of this project are to determine whether H2S can be produced in the mitochondria in the airways, to determine whether inflammation upregulates MPST in the mitochondria, and to determine whether mitochondrially-derived H2S plays a role in the regulation of airway tone by epithelial cells. This project will involve the use of pharmacological and biochemical techniques.

The University of Nottingham is one of the world’s most respected research-intensive universities, ranked 8th in the UK for research power (REF 2014). Students studying in the School of Life Sciences will have the opportunity to thrive in a vibrant, multidisciplinary environment, with expert supervision from leaders in their field, state-of-the-art facilities and strong links with industry. Students are closely monitored in terms of their personal and professional progression throughout their study period and are assigned academic mentors in addition to their supervisory team. The School provides structured training as a fundamental part of postgraduate personal development and our training programme enables students to develop skills across the four domains of the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF). During their studies, students will also have the opportunity to attend and present at conferences around the world. The School puts strong emphasis on the promotion of postgraduate research with a 2-day annual PhD research symposium attended by all students, plus academic staff and invited speakers.

Funding Notes

FT: Home applicants should contact the supervisor to determine the current funding status for this project. EU applicants should visit the Graduate School webpages View Website for information on specific EU scholarships. International applicants should visit our International Research Scholarships page View Website for information regarding fees and funding at the University.


Rashid S., Heer J., Garle M., Alexander SPH, Roberts R.E. (2013). Endogenous Hydrogen Sulphide causes relaxation of porcine peripheral bronchioles. Br. J. Pharmacol., 168, 1902-10.

Dunn WR, Alexander SPH, Ralevic V, Roberts RE. (2016) Effects of hydrogen sulfide in smooth muscle. Pharmacol Ther. 158:101-13

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