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Sanjay Chotirmall

​​Sanjay Chotirmall-01 (Custom).jpg
Assistant Professor Sanjay Haresh Chotirmall
MB BCh BAO (NUI) (Hons), FRCPI, MRCP (UK) (Lond), PhD
Assistant Professor and Provost's Chair in Molecular Medicine
Principal Investigator, Translational Respiratory Research Laboratory


  • ​Micheál MacAogain, PhD, Senior Post-doctoral Research Fellow
  • Poh Tuang Yeow, PhD, Post-doctoral Research Fellow
  • Tavleen Kaur Jaggi, MBBS, Research Associate
  • Nur A’tikah Binte Mohamed Ali, BSc, Research Assistant
  • Tiew Pei Yee, Clinician-Scientist PhD Student
  • Valerie Yong Fei Lee, PhD Student 
  • Kenny Lau Jia Xu, PhD student


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 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. In 2018, he was conferred as fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland (FRCPI).

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 a member of the International Society of Human and Animal Mycology (ISHAM) working group for fungal infections, 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 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 the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, the European Respiratory Journal, Respiratory Research, the American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Respirology and PLos One. Asst Prof Chotirmall regularly participates as an investigator for key multi-centre clinical trials in the field of Respiratory Medicine while continuing to educate undergraduates and postgraduates through formal teaching and supervision both at the bench and bedside.

As a recognised clinician-scientist, Asst Prof Chotirmall 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 bronchiectasis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and severe asthma. A major focus is on the investigation of bronchiectasis, a permanent and irreversible dilatation of the airway of high prevalence across Asia. Utilising genomic and molecular approaches combined with high-quality clinical phenotyping, geographic variation in this disease state are elucidated and a personalised approach to clinical manifestations and associated therapeutic responses are explored.

Infectious respiratory disease and the pulmonary microbiome
Central to the lab’s focus is infectious respiratory disease including the pulmonary microbiome and specifically how the fungi Aspergillus fumigatus and the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa affect major Asian respiratory disease states such as bronchiectasis, COPD and severe asthma. The environmental influence on pulmonary infection in chronic respiratory disease states is also a major interest of the Chotirmall laboratory.

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 and the need for diagnostic tools and biomarkers to aid diagnosis, identify disease progression and monitor response to therapy is also part 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 is 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. 

Selected Publications

Chotirmall SH, Smith SG, Gunaratnam C, et al. (2012). Effect of estrogen on pseudomonas mucoidy and exacerbations in cystic fibrosis. The New England Journal of Medicine, 366(21):1978-86.

Chotirmall SH, Greene CM, Oglesby IK, et al. (2010). 17β-Estradiol inhibits IL-8 in cystic fibrosis By up-regulating secretory leucoprotease inhibitor. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 182(1).

Chotirmall SH, Coughlan CA, Renwick J, et al. (2012). The effect of Aspergillus Fumigatus infection on vitamin D receptor expression in cystic fibrosis. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 186(10):999-1007.

Chotirmall SH, O’Donoghue E, Bennett K, et al. (2010). Sputum Candida albicans presages FEV1 decline and hospital-treated exacerbations in cystic fibrosis. CHEST Journal, 138(5):1186-95.

​Mac Aogáin M, Chandrasekaran R…Chotirmall SH. (2018). Immunological corollary of the pulmonary mycobiome in bronchiectasis: the CAMEB study. European Respiratory Journal, 52(1), pii 1800766.

Leung JM, Tiew PY, … Chotirmall SH. (2017). The role of acute and chronic respiratory colonization and infections in the pathogenesis of COPD. Respirology, 22(4):634-650. 

Chotirmall SH, Gellatly SL, Budden KF, et al. (2017). Microbiomes in respiratory health and disease: An Asia-Pacific perspective. Respirology, 22(2):240-250.

Chalmers JD, Chotirmall SH. (2018). Bronchiectasis: new therapies and new perspectives. Lancet Respiratory Medicine, 6(9), 715-726.

Chotirmall SH, Hector A, Lavelle GM, et al. (2016). Chitinase activation in patients with fungus-associated cystic fibrosis lung diseaseJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 138(4):1183-89.

*Complete list of publications: PubMed

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