Personal profile


William MacNee received his medical degree and MD from the University of Glasgow and trained thereafter in the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh/University of Edinburgh medical school.  He received an MRC travelling fellowship in the University of British Columbia, St Paul’s Hospital Vancouver.  Currently he is Professor of Respiratory and Environmental Medicine, University of Edinburgh, and Honorary Consultant Physician, Lothian Health.  He is a past Chair of the Scientific Committee of the European Respiratory Society (ERS) and past ERS President.  He has served on the British Thoracic Society COPD guideline committee, was co chair of the ERS/ATS COPD guidelines committee and a past member of the GOLD executive committee.  He has been an associate editor of the European Respiratory Journal and the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.  His primary research interests are in pathological mechanisms of the lung and systemic effects of COPD, and he also has an interest in the mechanisms of the harmful effects of environmental pollutants.  Professor MacNee has published over 380 peer reviewed papers, and edited several books on COPD.

Current Research Interests

Current research continues on the study of pathogenic mechanisms in COPD.  In particular we have been studying the mechanisms of systemic effects of COPD, both the mechanisms related to the increased cardiovascular risk in COPD and the muscle dysfunction in COPD.  These studies involve both in vivo studies in COPD patients assessing endothelial function and changes in muscle function and in vitro studies using cells obtained from COPD subjects.

Research students

Leandro Mantoani - PhD student


I have had the opportunity to gain experience in teaching undergraduates in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Vancouver.  My present commitments include teaching all phases of the medical curriculum by lecture, clinical demonstration, seminars, tutorials, out-patient clinics and at the bedside. I lecture in the Edinburgh Postgraduate Internal Medicine Course, and was co-director of a British Council Course on Advances in Respiratory Medicine and courses on obstructive airways disease for the pharmaceutical industry. 

I developed a postgraduate advanced course in respiratory medicine course for our junior staff in Edinburgh encompassing respiratory function, imaging, respiratory cell biology, immunology, biochemistry, pathology and thoracic surgery. 

Administrative Roles

Clinical Director Respiratory Medicine : 1992-1997

Consultant with Administrative Responsibility, Respiratory Medicine Unit : 1993-1998

Head of Cardiothoracic Medicine & Surgical Service : 1998-1999

Patient Services Director/Clinical Director Respiratory Medicine : 1999- 2005

Clinical Lead, COPD Redesign Project : 2013-

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Medicine, Right ventricular function in chronic bronchitis and emphysema, University of Glasgow

Award Date: 1 Jan 1986

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, University of Glasgow

Award Date: 1 Jan 1975


  • R Medicine (General)
  • COPD pathogenesis
  • Lung inflammation
  • Emphysema
  • Lung disease
  • Bronchitis
  • Broncholitis


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