Respiratory medicine (lung)
Spoken Languages


Professor Eric Alton studied at Cambridge and qualified in medicine at Westminster Medical School in 1981. He then worked at various London hospitals for the next five years, including Hammersmith, Whittington and Royal Brompton. He also held positions with the Medical Research Council, British Heart Foundation and the Wellcome Trust.

Professor Alton has been an honorary consultant at Royal Brompton Hospital since 1994, and also holds the following positions:

  • Professor of Respiratory Medicine, Imperial College
  • Professor of Gene Therapy, Imperial College
  • Lead of the UK CF Gene Therapy Consortium
  • National Lead, NIHR Respiratory Rare Disease TRC
  • National Lead, NIHR CRN Cluster
  • National Lead, Genomics England Respiratory Clinical Interpretation Partnership
  • Director, NIHR Respiratory CRF, Royal Brompton Hospital and Imperial College
  • NIHR Senior Investigator.

Areas of expertise

Professor Alton specialises in all areas of respiratory medicine, as well as gene therapy.

Research interests

Professor Alton has been involved in a vast array of research looking at cystic fibrosis. Over the last 15 years, he has been involved in bringing diagnostic and gene therapy for cystic fibrosis into clinical use.

He also has research interests in respiratory medicine and genotyping of rare disease patients.

Awards and honours

Professor Alton has received a vast number of awards and honours throughout his illustrious career, including:

  • 1987 British Medical Association Geoffrey Holt Award
  • 1988 British Thoracic Society Fisons Travel Fellowship
  • 1988 Medical Research Council Training Fellowship
  • 1989 Peel Medical Research Trust Award
  • 1991 British Medical Association HC Roscoe Fellowship
  • 1991 British Heart Foundation Intermediate Fellowship
  • 1992 British Postgraduate Medical Federation Prize
  • 1993 Royal Society Frontiers of Science Exhibitor
  • 1997 Royal College of Physicians Graham Bull Prize in Clinical Science
  • 1998 Royal College of Physicians Linacre Lecturer
  • 2002 Lead, UK Cystic Fibrosis Gene Therapy Consortium
  • 2004  North American CF Conference Plenary Lecturer (first non-American)
  • 2005  FMedSci: Academy of Medical Sciences
  • 2005 CF Trust John Panchaud Medal
  • 2006  Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh Stanley Davidson Lecturer
  • 2007  FHEA: The Higher Education Authority
  • 2009 NIHR Senior Research Leaders
  • 2009  European CF Society Plenary Lecturer
  • 2009  Australasian CF Conference Plenary Lecturer
  • 2011 Medical Futures Innovation Award Best Therapeutic Innovation (Respiratory)
  • 2011 Medical Futures Innovation Award Best Translational Research Innovation
  • 2013 Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health George Frederic Still Lecturer
  • 2014 Clinical Excellence Awards ACCEA – Platinum
  • 2014 FERS: European Respiratory Society
  • 2015 The President’s Award for Outstanding Research Team – Imperial College
  • 2017 Royal Society of Medicine Charles Darwin Lecturer


  • 1) Alton EWFW et al. Repeated nebulisation of non-viral CFTR gene therapy in patients with cystic fibrosis: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 2b trial. Lancet Resp Med 2015; 3:684-91.
  • 2) Alton EWFW et al. A Phase I/IIa safety and efficacy study of nebulized liposome-mediated gene therapy for cystic fibrosis supports a multidose trial. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2015; in press.
  • 3) Leoni G et al. Ex vivo and in vivo lentivirus-mediated transduction of airway epithelial progenitor cells. Curr Gene Therapy 2015; in press.
  • 4) Nair C et al. Cyanide levels found in uninfected cystic fibrosis sputum inhibit airway ciliary function. Eur Respir J. 2014;44:1253-61.
  • 5) Alton EW et al. Toxicology study assessing efficacy and safety of repeated administration of lipid/DNA complexes to mouse lung. Gene Ther 2014;21:89-95.
  • 6) Alton EW et al. The safety profile of a cationic lipid-mediated cystic fibrosis gene transfer agent following repeated monthly aerosol administration to sheep. Biomaterials 2013;34:1026-1077.
  • 7) AR Horsley et al. Changes in physiological, functional and structural markers of cystic fibrosis lung disease with treatment of a pulmonary exacerbation. Thorax 2013;68:532-9.
  • 8) Irving S et al. Lung clearance index and high resolution computed tomography scores in primary ciliary dyskinesia. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2013; 188:545-549.
  • 9) Duff RM et al. A molecular comparison of microbial communities in bronchiectasis and cystic fibrosis. Eur Respir J. 2013;41:991-993.
  • 10) Griesenbach U et al. Assessment of F/HN-pseudotyped lentivirus as a clinically relevant vector for lung gene therapy. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2012;186:846-56.