Gastroesophageal reflux in respiratory disease: pathogenic role and improved management

Project description

Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) is associated with many lung diseases, including but not limited to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), non-IPF interstitial lung disease (ILD), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis (CF), non-CF bronchiectasis, asthma and idiopathic chronic cough. Reflux can be substantial, reaching the upper regions of the oesophagus in some patients.  Reflux reaching the upper oesophagus in particular, leads to concerns that patients might be aspirating refluxed stomach contents into their lungs, and this might be causing or worsening their lung disease. However, it remains unclear whether these two conditions are actually linked, how they are related, and indeed whether acid suppression, and anti-reflux surgery, has any genuine benefit in these patients. 

The University of Leeds, together with Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust, are embarking on an extensive research program to better understand the mechanisms responsible for reflux, particularly proximal reflux, its delayed clearance from the oesophagus (and indeed that of boluses swallowed), along with aspiration in patients with lung diseases, and how this relates to symptoms, disease severity and progression, so that in the future the management of GER may be better “individualised” to the patient.

This project is therefore particularly suited to medically qualified doctors, with a training/interest in respiratory medicine and/or gastroenterology. This project would involve the following techniques oesophageal high resolution impedance manometry and analysis using the Chicago Classification, pharyngeal manometry, 24-hr oesophageal pH-impedance, sputum collection, pulmonary function testing


Houghton LA, Lee AS, Badri H, DeVault KR, Smith JA. Respiratoy disease and the oesophagus: reflux, reflexes and microaspiration. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2016; 13: 445-460.

Entry requirements

This project is available immediately to both Home/EU rate applicants and International applicants who are have a sponsor or are able to self-fund their studies. You must be able to provide the appropriate level of fees based on their fee status plus laboratory consumables costs per year. This is in addition to the provision of personal living expenses.

You should hold a first degree equivalent to at least a UK upper second class honours degree in a relevant subject.

Candidate whose first language is not English must provide evidence that their English language is sufficient to meet the specific demands of their study, the Faculty minimum requirements are:

•      British Council IELTS - score of 6.5 overall, with no element less than 6.0

•      TOEFL iBT - overall score of 92 with the listening and reading element no less than 21, writing element no less than 22 and the speaking element no less than 23.

Applicants with sufficient funding must still undergo formal interview prior to acceptance in order to demonstrate scientific aptitude and English language capability.


How to apply

Applications can be made at any time. To apply for this project applicants should complete a Faculty Scholarship Application form and send this alongside a full academic CV, degree transcripts (or marks so far if still studying) and degree certificates to the Faculty Graduate School

We also require 2 academic references to support your application. Please ask your referees to send these references on your behalf, directly to

If you have already applied for other scholarships using the Faculty Scholarship Application form this academic session you do not need to complete this form again. Instead you should email to inform us you would like to be considered for this scholarship project.

Any queries regarding the application process should be directed to

How to apply (email)