​Research area overview 

Excessive bronchial narrowing in asthma results from an exaggerated bronchoconstrictor response to various inhaled stimuli. This bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) is a hallmark of chronic asthma and its attenuation is key to therapeutic management. An important contributor of BHR is a defective airway epithelial barrier in asthma. 


Our research in this direction focuses on characterising and identifying the drivers of epithelial barrier dysfunction in asthma and implication in drug delivery.

Crohn’s Disease (CD) and Ulcerative Colitis (UC) are two main forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) affecting more than 300,000 people in the UK. These are chronic, disabling and progressive diseases, impacting every aspect of the affected individual's life and accounting for substantial costs to the health care system and society. Biologics have changed the management of IBD, but unexpected systemic toxicity remains a concern. In addition, biologics require administration by injections and are associated with high costs. Preventing inappropriate activation of intestinal mucosal immunity and inflammatory response is key to therapeutic intervention.

We are interested in new approaches for safe and effective control of inappropriate mucosal immunity and inflammatory response in IBD. This includes manipulation of the intestinal barrier, which is weakened in these conditions and drives the inflammatory response.

Current projects

'Exosomes for non-invasive (mucosal) delivery of siRNA in Inflammatory Bowel Disease' 

Select relevant publications

  1. Vllasaliu D, et al. Basement membrane influences intestinal epithelial cell growth and presents a barrier to the movement of macromolecules. Exp Cell Res 2014, 323, (1):218-31.

  2. Vllasaliu D, et al. Barrier characteristics of epithelial cultures modelling the airway and intestinal mucosa: a comparison. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2011, 415, (4):579-585.