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Assistant Professor Sanjay Haresh Chotirmall


Sanjay H Chotirmall Photo copy.jpg

Assistant Professor Sanjay Haresh Chotirmall
MB BCh BAO (NUI) (Hons), MRCPI, MRCP (UK) (Lond), PhD
Assistant Professor
Principal Investigator, Translational Respiratory Research Laboratory
Labaratory Staff
  • Dr Micheál MacAogain (Senior Post-doctoral Research Fellow)
  • Dr Poh Tuang Yeow (Post-doctoral Research Fellow)
  • Dr Ravishankar Chandrasekaran (Post-doctoral Research Fellow)
  • Miss Valerie Yong Fei Lee (Research Assistant)​
Assistant Professor Sanjay Haresh Chotirmall graduated from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) with an honours degree and the colleges’ gold medal in Microbiology. He completed his early clinical training at Beaumont Hospital Dublin, while attaining memberships of both the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (MRCPI) and the United Kingdom (MRCP UK). Following this, he completed higher specialist training in Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine across multiple hospital sites in the Republic of Ireland. 
In 2007, Asst Prof Chotirmall was awarded a prestigious ‘Molecular Medicine Ireland Clinician Scientist Fellowship’ (MMI-CSF). During this fellowship, he completed a PhD investigating the role of estrogen in cystic fibrosis. This work led to high impact publications in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (AJRCCM), as well as the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). 
Asst Prof Chotirmall has been awarded the Royal Academy of Medicine of Ireland (RAMI) Doctor award on two occasions (2010 & 2013), the Irish Thoracic Society Award (2011), the Dublin Center for Clinical Research (DCCR) Young Investigator Award (2011), the MMI-CSFP Medal (2011), the Royal College of Physicians William Stokes Award for research (2010) and the American Thoracic Societies International Award (2009). Additionally, his work has been recognised by the Faculty of 1000 Biology and Medicine, an online research service that highlights critical papers published in the biological sciences, as recommended by distinguished faculty.
Having published numerous  peer-reviewed papers, and several book chapters to date, he is regularly invited as chair and speaker at regional, national and international meetings. He remains as an active member of the International Society of Human and Animal Mycology (ISHAM) working group for fungal infections, and a key member of both the Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC) of the European Respiratory Society (ERS) and the program committee of the American Thoracic Society (ATS) annual congress. Asst Prof Chotirmall is also the Section Editor at the journal BMC Pulmonary Medicine where he leads a team of Associate Editors in the peer review of manuscripts under the ‘Infectious, Rare and Idiopathic Pulmonary Disease’ section. Additionally, he participates in editorial roles at both Respirology and PLos One. Asst Prof Chotirmall regularly participates as an investigator for several key multi-centre clinical trials in the field of Respiratory Medicine while continuing to educate undergraduates and postgraduates through formal teaching both at the bench and bedside.   
As a recognised clinician-scientist, Asst Prof Chotirmall returns home to Singapore to join the faculty at LKCMedicine. He has established a Translational Respiratory Research Group, with focus on infection, inflammation, and immunity, in the context of chronic inflammatory respiratory diseases that affect Asian populations.


Research Focus

Research in the Chotirmall lab shares a core translational respiratory focus with a common goal to improve patient care through advancing the understanding of disease from a scientific basis.

The group pursues research in a number of areas with significant clinical importance that impact Singaporeans and other Asian populations;

  • Chronic Inflammatory Lung Disease

The group investigates the basic mechanisms of clinical relevance in a number of pulmonary conditions including  chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. A major focus is on the investigation of severe asthma and that in the older patient (“Late-onset asthma”) and the effects of the aging process including immunosenescence and its implications on the ‘pulmonary microbiome’. Utilising genomic and molecular approaches combined with high-quality clinical phenotyping, a personalised approach to therapeutics is explored in such disease states.

  • Infectious Respiratory Disease

Central to the lab’s focus is infectious respiratory disease and specifically how the fungi Aspergillus fumigatus and the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa affect major Asian respiratory disease states such as bronchiectasis, COPD and asthma.

The investigation of Aspergillus-associated pulmonary disease forms a key component of their work. This group of diseases pose clinical, diagnostic and therapeutic challenges in Singapore and the wider South East Asian region. This is due to the high occurrence of old tuberculosis cavities and the increasing prevalence of structural lung disease such as bronchiectasis. Additionally, allergic manifestations including allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) remains an ongoing clinical challenge. The existence of chronic pulmonary aspergillosis (CPA) from an Asian perspective is similarly emerging. Acute invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in ICUs worldwide. The need for diagnostic tools and biomarkers to aid diagnosis and to identify disease progression and monitor response to therapy is also a key component of the lab’s interests.

The study of Pseudomonas focuses primarily on its pathogenesis in bronchiectasis and COPD and how circulating sex hormones influence virulence, anti-microbial susceptibility and patient outcomes. High levels of Pseudomonas aeruginosa colonization are observed in a range of respiratory conditions in Asia and the precise role this bacteria plays in the Asian phenotype of lung disease is another goal of Asst Prof Chotirmall and his team's work. 



 LKCMedicine Research Spotlight

Key Publications
  1. Chotirmall SH, Smith SG, Gunaratnam C, Cosgrove S, Dimitrov BD, O’Neill SJ, Harvey BJ, *Greene CM, *McElvaney NG. (2012) Effect of Estrogen on Pseudomonas Mucoidy and Exacerbations in Cystic Fibrosis. N Engl J Med. 2012:366(21):1978-86. Manuscript evaluated by Faculty of 1000 (F1000): Evaluations for Chotirmall SH et al.; N Engl J Med. 366(21):1978-86.
  2. *Chotirmall SH, *Greene CM, Oglesby IK, Thomas W, O’Neill SJ, Harvey BJ, McElvaney NG. (2010) 17β-Estradiol Inhibits IL-8 In Cystic Fibrosis By Up-Regulating Secretory Leucoprotease Inhibitor. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 182(1):62-72. Manuscript evaluated by Faculty of 1000 (F1000) Biology; Faculty of 1000 Biology: evaluations for Chotirmall SH et al Am J Respir Crit Care Med.
  3. *Chotirmall SH, *Coughlan CA, Renwick J, Hassan T, Low TB, Bergsson G, Eshwika A, Bennett K, Dunne K, Greene CM, Gunaratnam C, Kavanagh K, Logan PM, Murphy P, Reeves EP, McElvaney NG. (2012) The Effect of Aspergillus Fumigatus Infection on Vitamin D Receptor Expression in Cystic Fibrosis. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 186(10):999-1007.
  4. Chotirmall SH, O’Donoghue E, Bennett K, Gunaratnam C, O’Neill SJ, McElvaney NG. (2010) Sputum Candida albicans presages FEV1 decline and hospital-treated exacerbations in cystic fibrosis. Chest.138 (5):1186-95.
  5.  Al-Alawi M, Hassan T, Chotirmall SH. (2013) Advances in the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma in Older Adults. Am J Med. pii: S0002-9343(13)01110-8.
  6. Chotirmall SH, Watts M, Branagan P, Donegan CF, Moore A, McElvaney NG. (2009) Diagnosis and Management of Asthma in Older Adults. J Am Geriatr Soc. 57(5):901-9.
  7. Chotirmall SH, Burke CM. (2015) Aging and the microbiome: implications for asthma in the elderly? Expert Rev Respir Med. (2):125-8.
  8. Al-Alawi M, Hassan T, Chotirmall SH. (2014) Transforming growth factor β and severe asthma: A perfect storm. Respir Med. 108(10):1409-1423.
  9. Yii AC, Koh MS, Lapperre TS, Tan GL, Chotirmall SH. (2017) The emergence of Aspergillus species in chronic respiratory disease. Front Biosci (Schol Ed). 1;9:127-138.
  10. *Chotirmall SH, *Hector A, Lavelle GM, Mirković B, Horan D, Eichler L, Mezger M, Singh A, Ralhan A, Berenbrinker S, Mack I, Ensenauer R, Riethmüller J, Graepler-Mainka U, Murray MA, Griese M, McElvaney NG, Hartl D. (2016) Chitinase activation in patients with fungus-associated cystic fibrosis lung disease. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 138(4):1183-1189.
* Denotes Joint 1st Authors
Please click here for Prof Chotirmall’s full list of publications: