Prestigious award completes hat-trick of prizes


A University of Dundee researcher who has spent the past 18 months working at the sharp end of the Covid-19 pandemic has completed a hat-trick of awards recognising his achievements.

Professor James Chalmers, one of the UK’s leading lung experts, has treated hundreds of patients hospitalised with Covid-19 and undertaken important research relating to the disease. He has been named as the 2021 winner of the European Respiratory Society’s Cournand Lecture Award.

The prize, which recognises Professor Chalmers’ “extraordinary contribution to respiratory medicine as a young investigator”, is named after Nobel laureate Andre Cournand. It is only awarded every three years and is among the most prestigious international awards in the field of respiratory medicine.

The accolade comes after he also received this year’s Mid-Career Peer Recognition Award from the American Thoracic Society and was awarded the Outstanding Contribution from a Staff Member prize at the Herald’s Higher Education Awards.

Professor Chalmers said, “I feel very honoured to receive these awards. The past 18 months have been incredibly difficult for everyone, but I feel very lucky that, as lung disease clinicians and researchers, my colleagues and I have been able to make a difference.

“It is incredible to look back on what has been achieved. My outstanding clinical colleagues in the NHS and our researchers deserve every credit for the way they have risen to the unprecedented challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Professor Chalmers is British Lung Foundation Chair of Respiratory Research at Dundee’s School of Medicine and a consultant respiratory physician. He splits his time between front line clinical care at Ninewells Hospital and running a research team focused on lung infections.

Most of his research to date has focused on the chronic conditions COPD and bronchiectasis, but over the past year he has become recognised as one of the country’s leading commentators on matters relating to Covid-19, including hugely important work that he has led at Dundee.

As well as carrying out trials of new drugs to potentially treat Covid-19, he also led the development of the ERS treatment guidelines for patients hospitalised by the virus.

Professor Chalmers was among the first specialists in the UK to recognise that patients were experiencing long-term complications of Covid-19 and initiated a Scotland-wide collaboration in April 2020 to research this topic. This ultimately became part of a UK-wide project, for which he is the Scottish lead. This research has made important breakthroughs in understanding Long Covid.