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Dr Cornelia Blume


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Dr Cornelia Blume’s research is focused on understanding the complex interaction of the epithelial barrier with environmental challenges like pollen, viruses and bacteria. 

Cornelia is investigating cellular crosstalk regulating inflammation by combining novel 3D in vitro models with state-of-the-art, high-resolution analytical methods in the fields of proteomics, transcriptomics, lipidomics and imaging. She investigates the role of the lipid membrane in coordinating epithelial barrier functions, in particular the anti-viral defence mechanisms in the respiratory epithelium. Cornelia is also leading research to characterise the function of the newly discovered short isoform of ACE2 in the antiviral response.

Landmark publications:

1. Blume C, Jackson CL, Spalluto CM, Legebeke J, Nazlamova L, Conforti F, Perotin-Collard J-M, Frank M, Crispin M, Coles J, Thompson J, Ridley RA, Dean LSN, Loxham M, Azim A, Tariq K, Johnston D, Skipp PJ, Djukanovic R, Baralle D, McCormick C, Davies DE, Lucas JS, Wheway G, Mennella V. A novel isoform of ACE2 is expressed in human nasal and bronchial respiratory epithelia and is upregulated in response to RNA respiratory virus infection. Nature Genetics 2021 Feb;53(2):205-214. doi: 10.1038/s41588-020-00759-x. Epub 2021 Jan 11 2.

2. Coles JL, Thompson J, Horton KL, Hirst RA, Griffin P, Williams GM, Goggin P, Doherty R, Lackie PM, Harris A, Walker WT, O'Callaghan C, Hogg C, Lucas JS*, Blume C*, Jackson CL*. A Revised Protocol for Culture of Airway Epithelial Cells as a Diagnostic Tool for Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia

J Clin Med. 2020 Nov 21;9(11):3753. doi: 10.3390/jcm9113753

3. Bedke, N, Swindle E, Molnar C, Holt P, Strickland D, Roberts G, Morris R, Howarth P, Holgate ST, Davies DE, Blume C. A method for the generation of large numbers of dendritic cells from CD34+ hematopoietic stem cells from cord blood J Immunol Methods. 2020 Feb;477:112703. doi: 10.1016/j.jim.2019.112703. Epub 2019 Nov 9

4. Gilles S*, Blume C*, Wimmer M, Damialis A, Meulenbroek L, Gökkaya M, Bergougnan C, Eisenbart S, Sundell N, Lindh M, Andersson L-M, Dahl Å, Chaker A, Häring F, Wagner S, Neumann AU, Akdis CA, Garssen J, Westin J, van´t Land B, Davies DE, Traidl-Hoffmann C. Pollen Exposure Weakens Innate Antiviral Defense Against Respiratory Viruses. Allergy, 2020 Mar;75(3):576-587. doi: 10.1111/all.14047. Epub 2019 Nov 7 

5. Blume C, Reale R, Held M, Swindle EJ, Collins JE, Millar T, Morgan H, Davies DE. Cellular crosstalk between airway epithelial and endothelial cells regulates barrier functions during viral infection. Immunity, Inflammation and Disease 2017 Jan 18; DOI: 10.1002/iid3.139

6. Blume C, David J, Bell RE, Laver JR, Clark GC, Davies DE, Swindle EJ. Modulation of human airway barrier functions during Burkholderia thailandensis and Francisella tularensis infection. Pathogens. 2016 Sep 5; 5(3):53; doi: 10.3390/pathogens5030053

7. Blume C, Reale R, Held M, Millar T, Collins JE, Davies DE, Morgan H, Swindle EJ. Temporal monitoring of differentiated human airway epithelial cells using microfluidics. PLoS One 2015 Oct 5;10(10):e0139872.

8. Blume C, Swindle EJ, Gilles S, Traidl-Hoffmann C, Davies DE. Low molecular weight components of pollen alter bronchial epithelial barrier functions. Tissue Barriers. 2015 Jul 15;3(3):e1062316

Major grants:

Investigating the function of a novel short ACE2 isoform

Researchers: Dr Cornelia Blume , Dr Claire Jackson

Sponsor: BBSRC

The role of sex hormones in modulating the anti-viral immune response in the respiratory epithelium

Researchers: Dr Cornelia Blume , Dr Caroline Childs , Dr Reuben Pengelly

Sponsor: Asthma UK

IRIS: The Influence of Mepolizumab on Structural and Inflammatory Cells in Severe Eosinophilic Asthma

Researchers: Dr Emily Swindle , Dr Cornelia Blume

Sponsor: GlaxoSmithKline

Impact example:

Discovery of a new, short isoform of ACE2. ACE2 has been shown to bind the Spike protein of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and facilitate virus entry into cells. Early data suggested that ACE2 is induced by type I interferons which raised concerns about the inhaled IFN-beta therapy for COVID-19. We showed that only the new, short ACE2 isoform is induced by IFNs, not the long form which facilitates virus entry. Our data increase the confidence in the safety of inhaled IFN-beta therapy.

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