As Head of Department RIA Bioscience Regeneration, my role is to build a vibrant new department focused on lung regeneration, and lead AstraZeneca to targets and technologies which transform the lives of patients whose lung disease puts them in greatest need of help.

Having spent more than 16 years in pharmaceutical research, I am experienced in all aspects of drug discovery – from target finding, pathways investigation and pathophysiology to translational pre-clinical systems/biomarkers and the route into patients. My principal motivators lie in the more exploratory aspects of early target research, which reach beyond familiar technology into new concepts in disease biology and novel modalities by which to impact them.

I have extensive experience in respiratory disease, including pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), cystic fibrosis (CF), severe asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

After receiving my BSc and being awarded a PhD at Kings College, London, in 2000, I continued research as a postdoctoral fellow until late 2001. I then began my career as a research investigator at Novartis, spending 12 years in a variety of research roles, exploring respiratory disease. Here I was a project team leader for multiple successful drug discovery projects and a key contributor to Novartis’ pre-clinical respiratory disease strategy and discovery portfolio.

I joined AstraZeneca, Gothenburg, Sweden, in May 2014 to develop, through internal and external collaboration, in vitro and in vivo systems optimised to reveal complex aberrant biology observed in remodelled lung tissue in support of ideas and projects addressing pulmonary fibrosis.

I have also held a position as visiting professor of pharmocology at Bath University since 2015.


I get to see new data from someone almost every day, and one of my roles is to recognise the significance of these findings and help build upon them. Sharing the wonder in novel experimental data and fitting that into a bigger strategic picture is amazing.

Matthew Thomas, PhD Head of Department (interim) and Principal Scientist, RIA Bioscience Regeneration


Head of Department for Lung Regeneration – amazing opportunity to build a new exploratory department focused on cutting edge science of pulmonary repair and stem cell fate

Deliver PI3Kγδ molecule into the clinic – culmination of 15 years research as lead biologist in PI3K signaling has provided a drug ready for human testing, which is potent, selective and supported by a wealth of preclinical evidence

Discovery of a novel allosteric inhibitory site on Tryptophan Hydroxylase 1 will provide a means to selectively normalize aberrant serotonin synthesis in chronic remodelling diseases

International Project Team Biology Lead and named inventor for Imatinib (post-phase 3 for pulmonary arterial hypertension)

Featured publications

Identification of a Novel Allosteric Inhibitory Site on Tryptophan Hydroxylase 1 Enabling Unprecedented Selectivity Over all Related Hydroxylases.

Petrassi M, Barber R, Be C, Beach S, Cox B, D'Souza, AM, Duggan N, Hussey M, Fox R, Hunt P, Jarai G, Kosaka T, Oakley P, Patel V, Press N, Rowlands D, Scheufler C, Schmidt O, Srinivas H, Turner M, Turner R, Westwick J, Wolfreys A, Pathan N, Watson S, Thomas M,

Frontiers in Pharmacology, 2017, May 5;8:240. PMID: 28529483

MicroRNA-140-5p and SMURF1 regulate pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Rothman AM, Arnold ND, Pickworth JA, Iremonger J, Ciuclan L, Allen RM, Guth-Gundel S, Southwood M, Morrell NW, Thomas M, Francis SE, Rowlands DJ, Lawrie A.

Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2016 July 1;126(7):2495-508. PMID:27214554 14 citations

miR-143 Activation Regulates Smooth Muscle and Endothelial Cell Crosstalk in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension.

Deng L, Blanco FJ, Stevens H, Lu R, Caudrillier A, McBride MW, McClure JD, Grant JS, Thomas M, Frid MG, Stenmark KR, White K, Seto AG, Morrell NW, Bradshaw AC, MacLean MR, Baker AH.

Circulation Research, 2015 Oct 23;117(10):870-83. PMID:26311719 51 citations

Gender-dependent Influence of Endogenous Estrogen in Pulmonary Hypertension.

Mair KM, Wright AF, Duggan N, Rowlands DJ, Hussey MJ, Roberts S, Fullerton J, Nilsen M, Loughlin L, Thomas M, MacLean MR.

American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 2014 Aug 15;190(4):456-67. PMID:24956156 41 citations

Targeting the serotonin pathway for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension.

* Thomas M, Ciuclan L, Hussey MJ, Press NJ.

Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 2013 Jun;138(3):409-17. PMID: 23416102 20 citations

Imatinib attenuates hypoxia-induced pulmonary arterial hypertension pathology via reduction in 5-hydroxytryptamine through inhibition of tryptophan hydroxylase 1 expression.

Ciuclan L, Hussey MJ, Burton V, Good R, Duggan N, Beach S, Jones P, Fox R, Clay I, Bonneau O, Konstantinova I, Pearce A, Rowlands DJ, Jarai G, Westwick J, MacLean MR, Thomas M.

American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 2013 Jan 1;187(1):78-89. PMID: 23087024 32 citations

Activity of the estrogen-metabolizing enzyme cytochrome P450 1B1 influences the development of pulmonary arterial hypertension.

White K, Johansen AK, Nilsen M, Ciuclan L, Wallace E, Paton L, Campbell A, Morecroft I, Loughlin L, McClure JD, Thomas M, Mair KM, MacLean MR.

Circulation. 2012 Aug 28;126(9):1087-98. PMID: 22859684. 64 citations

A Novel Murine Model of Severe Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension.

* Ciuclan L, Bonneau O, Hussey M, Duggan N, Holmes AM, Good R, Stringer R, Jones P, Morrell NW, Jarai G, Walker C, Westwick J, Thomas M.

American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 2011 Aug 25. PMID: 21868504. 123 citations

Activin-like kinase 5 (ALK5) mediates abnormal proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells from patients with familial pulmonary arterial hypertension and is involved in the progression of experimental pulmonary arterial hypertension induced by monocrotaline.

Thomas M, Docx C, Holmes AM, Beach S, Duggan N, England K, Leblanc C, Lebret C, Schindler F, Raza F, Walker C, Crosby A, Davies RJ, Morrell NW, Budd DC.

American Journal of Pathology, 2009 Feb;174(2):380-9. PMID: 19116361. 54 citations

Airway inflammation: chemokine-induced neutrophilia and the class I phosphoinositide 3-kinases.

Thomas MJ, Smith A, Head DH, Milne L, Nicholls A, Pearce W, Vanhaesebroeck B, Wymann MP, Hirsch E, Trifilieff A, Walker C, Finan P, Westwick J.

European Journal of Immunology, 2005 Apr;35(4):1283-91. PMID: 15739165. 63 citations

PI 3-kinase inhibition: a therapeutic target for respiratory disease.

Finan PM, Thomas MJ.

Biochem Soc Trans. 2004 Apr;32(Pt 2):378-82. Review. PMID: 15046612 45 citations

Phosphoinositide 3-kinase gamma: a key modulator in inflammation and allergy.

Wymann MP, Björklöf K, Calvez R, Finan P, Thomas M, Trifilieff A, Barbier M, Altruda F, Hirsch E, Laffargue M.

Biochemical Society Transactions, 2003 Feb;31(Pt 1):275-80. Review. PMID: 12546701. 32 citations

The sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor agonist FTY720 differentially affects the sequestration of CD4+/CD25+ T-regulatory cells and enhances their functional activity.

Sawicka E, Dubois G, Jarai G, Edwards M, Thomas M, Nicholls A, Albert R, Newson C, Brinkmann V, Walker C.

Journal of Immunology, 2005 Dec 15;175(12):7973-80. PMID:16339533 131 citations

Essential role for the p110delta phosphoinositide 3-kinase in the allergic response.

Ali K, Bilancio A, Thomas M, Pearce W, Gilfillan AM, Tkaczyk C, Kuehn N, Gray A, Giddings J, Peskett E, Fox R, Bruce I, Walker C, Sawyer C, Okkenhaug K, Finan P, Vanhaesebroeck B. (2004)

Nature. Oct 21;431(7011):1007-11. PMID: 15496927. 401 citations

Head of Department Lung Regeneration

Asked to build exploratory department in lung regeneration

Professor at Bath University

Contributions to scientific community and education of students

Inventor of Imatinib in PAH

Named inventor of Imatinib in pulmonary arterial hypertension patent

I wanted to go somewhere in a phase of exploration and help turn that search into growth/therapeutics – AstraZeneca was the perfect fit for that ambition.

Matthew Thomas, PhD Head of Department (interim) and Principal Scientist, RIA Bioscience Regeneration