Staff Profile

General Profile Information
Staff Name Professor Clifford Taggart
Job Title Centre Director
Location CEM Block 6 MBC Site
Room Number 02.021
School School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences
Contact Details
Telephone +44 (0)28 9097 6383
Research Statement

My research covers a broad range of interests from understanding basic mechanisms of inflammation regulation to evaluating indices of inflammation in in vivo biological samples. The setting of this research is the chronic infected lung particularly Cystic Fibrosis and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) although my recent work has brought me into the area of Acute Lung Injury as well. I am interested in how the innate immune response is involved in regulating inflammation with particular emphasis on how antimicrobial proteins/peptides and proteases contribute to inflammatory responses in the lung. From the disease point of view, I am intrigued by how these inflammatory responses become dysregulated in the diseases outlined above. My research has been published in high-ranking journals including the Journal of Experimental Medicine, Journal of Immunology, Blood, Journal of Biological Chemistry and the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. My research in the Respiratory/Pulmonary area has recently been recognized by the European Respiratory Society with the award of the Romain Pauwels Research award for outstanding contribution to respiratory medicine in 2008.

Professional Qualifications


Chair of the Airway Biology Group (3.2) of the European Respiratory Society 2014-2017

Secretary of the Airway Biology Group (3.2) of the European Respiratory Society 2011-2014

Group Leader, Basic Science Group, Scientific Committee of the European Cystic Fibrosis Society, 2011-2013

Panel Member of the Long Term Planning Committee of the Cell and Molecular Biology Assembly of the European Respiratory Society 2011-2014

Appointed to Scientific Committee of the European Cystic Fibrosis Society 2010-2013



Membership Of Other Societies / Professional Activities


External duties for other organisations:

Editorial Board, Open Infectious Diseases Journal, Open Respiratory Medicine Journal, Scientific World Journal, World Journal of Biological Chemistry

 Ad Hoc Reviewer for Journal of Immunology, European Respiratory Journal, Thorax, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, European Respiratory Jurnal

Grant Reviews - MRC, British Cystic Fibrosis Trust, HRB, University of Birmingham, British Lung Foundation, Wellcome Trust, INSERM, MRCG-HRB 




1. International Congress Programme Committee (ICPC) of the European Respiratory Society Annual Congress. Organisation of ERS Annual Congress, Amsterdam, September 2015 - 2 Oral Sessions, 2 Poster Discussion Sessions, 5 Thematic Poster Sessions. Chair of 2 sessions

2. European Respiratory Society Research Seminar, Organiser and Chair, Amsterdam, November 2015, ‘Proteases at the cutting edge: friends or foes in chronic lung diseases?

3. Symposium Organiser, European Respiratory Society, Barcelona, September 2013,  'Nanoparticle Drug Delivery to the Lung'

4. Symposium organiser and Chair, European Cystic Fibrosis Society Meeting, Dublin June 2012

5. Symposium Organiser, European Respiratory Society, Amsterdam, September 2011,  'miRNA and Lung inflammation'

6. European Cystic Fibrosis Society Meeting, Hamburg June 2011 – Organised and chaired 1 Symposium and speaker

7. Symposium organiser and Chair, Biochemical Society Focussed Meeting, Cambridge, April 2011

8. Chair (2 symposia), European Cystic Fibrosis Society Meeting Valencia June 2010

9. Organiser and Chair, DEL Cross Border Symposium, June 2010

10. Organiser and Chair, Ulster Immunology Group/Irish Society for Immunology Meeting, Belfast Sept 2010

11. Symposium Organiser, European Respiratory Society, Vienna September 2009  'miRNA and Lung inflammation'

12. Symposium Organiser, Ulster Immunology Group June 2009 'Inflammation - from Cell to Clinic'

13. Symposium Organiser, European Respiratory Society, Berlin, September 2008  'Epigenetics and Lung Disease'

14. Symposium Organiser, European Respiratory Society Meeting, Berlin 2008 'miRNA and lung inflammation'



Keynote Speaker and Invited Talks

1. Translational Lung Research Center Heidelberg (TLRC), Germany, Seminar Series, December 2015 ‘Cathepsin S in Cystic Fibrosis Lung Disease’. 

2. UK Cystic Fibrosis meeting, Manchester, September 2015, ‘Examining approaches to prevent lung damage’

3. European Cystic Fibrosis Society Basic Science Meeting, Albufeira, Portugal, April 2015 – ‘A role for Cathepsin S in the Cystic Fibrosis Lung'

4. Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency Symposium, Miami, Oct 2014 ‘A role for Alpha 1 antitrypsin in monocyte apoptosis’.

5. European Cystic Fibrosis Society Meeting, Lisbon, June 2013 – ‘Altered Epithelial Immunity in Cystic Fibrosis

6. British Thoracic Society, London, December 2012, ‘Proteasome and Acute Lung Injury’

7. European Respiratory Society Meeting, Vienna, September 2012 ‘Decreased levels of elafin in the lungs of patients with acute lung injury as a result of proteolytic cleavage by the proteasome'

8. European Cystic Fibrosis Society Meeting, Dublin June 2012 – ‘Overview of Cystic Fibrosis Lung Innate Immunity’

9. Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency Symposium, Miami, Oct 2011 ‘The Role of SLPI in AAT Deficiency’

10. European Cystic Fibrosis Society Meeting, Hamburg, June 2011 – ‘Proteases and Lung Innate Immunity in Cystic Fibrosis’

11. Biochemical Society Meeting, Cambridge, April 2011, WFDC Meeting 'Characterisation of the Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Secretory Leucoprotease Inhibitor and Elafin'

12. Japanese Respiratory Society, June 2009, ‘Proteases and Lung Innate Immunity’

13. European Respiratory Society Meeting, Berlin, September 2008 ‘The role of SLPI in the regulation of MMPs in chronic lung disease’ Romain Pauwels Award Seminar

14. British Society for Oral and Maxilliofacial Pathology, Belfast, May 2008 ‘Antimicrobial Peptides of the Respiratory Tract

15. Ulster Immunology Group, Belfast, April 2007 ‘Host Defense Peptides of the Respiratory Tract’

16. 7th World Congress on Trauma, Shock, Inflammation and Sepsis, Munich, March 2007

17. Biochemical Society Focussed Meeting, London, October 2006 - Resolution of inflammatory responses: signalling networks and novel therapeutic strategies 'Characterisation of the Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Secretory Leucoprotease Inhibitor'

18. European Respiratory Society Meeting, Munich, Germany, September 2006 ‘Proteases as regulators of airway inflammation and of its resolution’

19. British Association for Lung Research Meeting, Sheffield, July 2006 ‘Novel host defence functions of SLPI and elafin’

20. Irish Thoracic Society Meeting, Galway, Nov 2005 ‘Increased protease burden in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is mediated by a Th1 response’

21. British Society For Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Loughborough, July 2005 ‘Role of Defensins in the Pathogenesis of Pulmonary Infection in Cystic Fibrosis’

22. Queen’s University Belfast, Cancer and Cell Biology Research Seminar Series,  January  2005 ‘Characterisation of secretory leucoprotease inhibitor anti-inflammatory activity’

23. University of Sheffield, Division of Genomic Medicine Lecture Series, October 2004 'Characterisation of Secretory Leucoprotease Inhibitor (SLPI) activity - Implications for Lung Disease'

24. Dublin Molecular Medicine Centre Symposium on Inflammation, Conway Institute, University College Dublin, April 2004 ‘The Immunomodulatory Role of Secretory Leucoprotease Inhibitor’

25. HEA (Higher Education Authority) Symposium, Trinity College Dublin, May 2002 ‘Oxidative Inactivation of M and Z variant of Alpha One Antitrypsin’

26. HEA (Higher Education Authority) Symposium, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Feb 2001 ‘Control of Elastase Secretion from CF Neutrophils’

27. American Thoracic Society, Toronto, Canada, May 2000 'The Role of Methionine 351 and Methionine 358 in the Oxidative Inactivation of Alpha 1 Antitrypsin'

28. Irish Thoracic Meeting, Belfast, November 1999 'The Role of Methionine 351 and Methionine 358 in the Oxidative Inactivation of Alpha 1 Antitrypsin'

29. North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference, Montreal, Canada, October 1998 'Increased Release Of Elastase From Neutrophils Incubated With Cystic Fibrosis Epithelial Lining Fluid (ELF)'.

30. American Thoracic Society, San Francisco, CA, USA, May 1997 ‘Increased Alpha 1-Antitrypsin on the Respiratory Epithelial Surface of Ventilated Pre-Term Neonates Helps Protect Against Proteolytic Damage'.










Awards And Honours/major Prizes

European Respiratory Society Romain Pauwels Award 2008 for Outstanding Contribution to Respiratory Medicine

Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland, Journal of Medical Science Junior Doctor Award for Best Paper published in Respiratory Medicine, 2006

Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland, Journal of Medical Science Junior Doctor Award for Best Paper published in Respiratory Medicine, 2000

US Alpha 1 Foundation Travel Scholarship 1999

Edited Book(s)
Mechanisms of Pulmonary Innate Immunity Research Signpost 2008
TitleBook TitleYear
SLPI and elafin - multifunctional components of the respiratory tract Mechanisms of Pulmonary Innate Immunity 2008
Antiproteases Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms 2005
Surrogate markers of lung destruction LAM and other diseases of smooth muscle 1999
TitleJournal NameYear
The prevalence of alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency in Ireland Respiratory Research Vol 12:91  DOI   2011
The Effect of Liposome Encapsulation on the Pharmacokinetics of Recombinant Secretory Leukocyte Protease Inhibitor (rSLPI) Therapy after Local Delivery to a Guinea Pig Asthma Model Pharmaceutical Research Vol 28 (9) (2233-2245)  DOI   2011
Altered Toll-like Receptor 2-mediated Endotoxin Tolerance Is Related to Diminished Interferon beta Production Journal of Biological Chemistry Vol 286 (34) (29492-29500)  DOI   2011
Vitamin D receptor agonists inhibit pro-inflammatory cytokine production from the respiratory epithelium in cystic fibrosis Journal of Cystic Fibrosis Vol epub ahead of print (29492-29500)  2011
Functional study of elafin cleaved by Pseudomonas aeruginosa metalloproteinases. Biological Chemistry Vol in press (000-000)  DOI 2010
Biologic protease inhibitors as novel therapeutic agents. Biochimie Vol in press (000-000)  DOI 2010
Antiproteases as therapeutics to target inflammation in cystic fibrosis. The open respiratory medicine journal Vol 4 (20-31)  DOI 2010
Impaired Immune Tolerance to Porphyromonas gingivalis Lipopolysaccharide Promotes Neutrophil Migration and Decreased Apoptosis. Infection and Immunity Vol 78(10) (4151-4156)  DOI   2010
Decreased Levels of Secretory Leucoprotease Inhibitor in the Pseudomonas-Infected Cystic Fibrosis Lung Are Due to Neutrophil Elastase Degradation Journal of Immunology Vol 183 (8148-8156)  DOI   2009
Neutrophil Elastase Increases Airway Epithelial Nonheme Iron Levels CTS-CLINICAL AND TRANSLATIONAL SCIENCE Vol 2 (333-339)  DOI   2009
Anti-apoptotic effects of Z alpha-1 antitrypsin in human bronchial epithelial cells. The European respiratory journal : official journal of the European Society for Clinical Respiratory Physiology Vol in press (000-000)  DOI 2009
Neutrophil elastase increases airway epithelial nonheme iron levels. CTS-CLINICAL AND TRANSLATIONAL SCIENCE Vol 2(5) (333-339)  DOI 2009
Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiencey: A conformational disease associated with lung and liver manifestations Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease Vol 31(1) (21-34)  2008
Alpha-one antitrypsin aerosolized augmentation abrogates neutrophil elastase induced expression of Cathepsin B and Matrix Metalloprotease 2 in vivo and in vitro Thorax Vol 63 (621-626)  DOI   2008
Activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) by a novel metalloprotease pathway The Journal of biological chemistry Vol 283 (31736-31744)  DOI   2008
Elafin, an elastase-specific inhibitor, is cleaved by its cognate enzyme neutrophil elastase in sputum from individuals with cystic fibrosis The Journal of biological chemistry Vol 283 (32377-32385)  DOI   2008
Delivery of rSLPI in a liposomal carrier for inhalation provides protection against cathepsin L degradation Journal of Microencapsulation Vol 26 (521-526)  2008
Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency: current concepts Lung Vol 185(4) (191-201)  2007
Innate host defense functions of secretory leucoprotease inhibitor Experimental Lung Research Vol 33(10) (485-491)  2007
Effect of pro-inflammatory stimuli on mucin expression and inhibition by secretory leucoprotease inhibitor Cellular Microbiology Vol 9(3) (670-679)  2007
The role of secretory leucoprotease inhibitor in the resolution of inflammatory responses Biochemical Society Transactions Vol 35 (273-276)  2007
Neutrophil elastase up-regulates cathepsin B and matrix metalloprotease-2 expression Journal of Immunology Vol 178 (5871-5878)  2007
Tauroursodeoxycholic acid inhibits apoptosis induced by Z alpha-1 antitrypsin via inhibition of bad Hepatology Vol 46(2) (496-503)  2007
The effect of recombinant human lactoferrin on growth and the antibiotic susceptibility of the cystic fibrosis pathogen Burkholderia cepacia complex when cultured planktonically or as biofilms Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy Vol 60(3) (546-554)  2007
Secretory leucocyte protease inhibitor inhibits interferon gamma-induced cathepsin s expression Journal of Biological Chemistry Vol 282(46) (33389-33395)  2007
Elafin prevents lipopolysaccharide-induced AP-1 and NF-kB activation via an effect on the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway Journal of Biological Chemistry Vol 281(46) (34730-34735)  DOI   2006
Antimicrobial proteins and polypeptides in pulmonary innate defense Respiratory Research Vol 7 (29-29)  2006
Matrix metalloproteinases 2 and 9 in human atherosclerotic and non-atherosclerotic cerebral aneurysms European Neurology Vol 10 (1098-1105)  2006
Secretory leucoprotease inhibitor binds to NF-{kappa}B binding sites in monocytes and inhibits p65 binding Journal of Experimental Medicine Vol 202(12) (1659-1668)  DOI   2005
Elastolytic proteases: inflammation resolution and dysregulation in chronic infective lung disease American Journal of Respiratory Critical Care Medicine Vol 171 (1070-1076)  2005
TLR-induced inflammation in cystic fibrosis and non-cystic fibrosis airway epithelial cells Journal of Immunology Vol 174 (1638-1646)  2005
Endotoxin up-regulates interleukin-18: Potential role for gram-negative colonization in sarcoidosis American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine Vol 172(10) (1299-1307)  2005
Respiratory epithelial cells require toll-like receptor 4 for induction of human beta-defensin 2 by lipopolysaccharide Respiratory Research Vol 6 (116-116)  2005
Viral inhibition of IL-1 and neutrophil elastase-induced inflammatory response in bronchial epithelial cells Journal of Immunology Vol 175(11) (7594-7601)  2005
Interleukin-1, Neutrophil Elastase, and Lipopolysaccharide: Key Pro-Inflammatory Stimuli Regulating Inflammation in Cystic Fibrosis Current Respiratory Medicine Review Vol 1 (43-67)  2005
Activation of endoplasmic reticulum-specific stress responses associated with the conformational disease Z alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency Journal of Immunology Vol 172 (5722-5726)  2004
Z alpha1-antitrypsin polymerizes in the lung and acts as a neutrophil chemoattractant Chest Vol 125 (1952-1957)  2004
Secretory leucoprotease inhibitor impairs toll-like receptor-2 and 4-mediated responses in monocytic cells Infection and Immunity Vol 72 (3684-3687)  2004
Loss of microbicidal activity and increased formation of biofilm due to decreased lactoferrin activity in patients with cystic fibrosis Journal of Infectious Diseases Vol 190 (1245-1253)  2004
Inactivation of Human beta-Defensins 2 and 3 by Elastolytic Cathepsins Journal of Immunology Vol 171 (2) (931-937)    2003
Neutrophil elastase up-regulates interleukin-8 via toll-like receptor 4 FEBS Letters Vol 544(1-3) (129-132)  2003
Neutrophil elastase up-regulates human beta-defensin-2 expression in human bronchial epithelial cells FEBS Letters Vol 546(2-3) (233-236)  2003
Anti-neutrophil elastase capacity is impaired in community acquired pneumonia Journal of Infectious Diseases Vol 188 (769-776)  2003
Secretory leucoprotease inhibitor prevents lipopolysaccharide-induced Ikappa Balpha degradation without affecting phosphorylation or ubiquitination Journal of Biological Chemistry Vol 277(37) (33648-33653)  DOI   2002
Ambient pCO2 modulates intracellular pH, intracellular oxidant generation and interleukin-8 secretion in human neutrophils Journal of Leukocyte Biology Vol 71(4) (603-610)  2002
Cytosolic pH and the inflammatory microenvironment modulate cell death in human neutrophils after phagocytosis Blood Vol 100 (3383-3391)  2002
TNFa converting enzyme: its role in community-acquired pheumonia Journal of Infectious Diseases Vol 186 (1790-1796)  2002
Anti-PR3 antibody activation of neutrophils can be inhibited by alpha 1 antitrypsin American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology Vol 24(6) (747-754)  2001
Cathepsin B, L, and S cleave and inactivate secretory leucoprotease inhibitor Journal of Biological Chemistry Vol 276(36) (33345-33352)  2001
Interleukin-8 up-regulation by neutrophil elastase is mediated by MyD88/IRAK/TAF-6 in human bronchial epithelium Journal of Biological Chemistry Vol 276(38) (35494-35499)  2001
Alpha-1 antitrypsin Deficiency: Biological Answers to Clinical Questions American Journal of Medical Sciences Vol 321 (33-41)  2001
Oxidation of either methionine 351 or Methionine 358 in alpha-1-Antitrypsin causes loss of anti-neutrophil elastase activity J. Biol. Chem Vol 275 (27258-27265)  2000
The role of interleukin-18 in CD4+ T lymphocyte activation in sarcoidosis Journal of Immunology Vol 165 (4718-4724)  2000
Abnormal regulation of cytosolic pH in neutrophils from cystic fibrosis patients American Journal of Physiology Vol 279(1) (L66-L74)  2000
Increased elastase release from neutrophils in cystic fibrosis in modulated by tumour necrosis fact alpha and interleukin-8 American Journal of Physiology Vol 278 (L33-L41)  2000
Regulated nucleear localisation of the yeast transcription factor Ace2p controls expression of chitinase (CTS1) in Saccharomyces cerevisiae Molecular Genetics and Genomics Vol 262(2) (275-282)  1999
Alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency Irish Medical Journal Vol 92 (227-228)  1999
The role of dietary cholesterol in the regulation of postprandial apolipoprotein B48 levels in diabetes. Diabetic medicine : a journal of the British Diabetic Association Vol 14(12) (1051-1058)  DOI 1997
Effect of different carbon sources on heterologous expression levels in the yeast S. cerevisiae BJ2168. Biochemical Society Transactions Vol 22(1) (22S-22S)  1994
B-loop analogues of human epidermal growth factor; design, expression and properties. Biochemical Society Transactions Vol 22(1) (21S-21S)  1994