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Prof Peter Robbins

Fellow in Medicine

Professor of Physiology, Department of Physiology, Anatomy, and Genetics


I was educated at a state school in Norfolk. I studied medicine at Oxford and I undertook my doctoral studies in Physiology by taking three years out in the middle of the medical course – a practice that was more common then than it is now. After qualifying in medicine, I undertook hospital jobs for a period of time in Gloucester and Oxford before taking up my Fellowship at Queen’s.


I have taught physiology, with a particular focus on integrative, human and medical physiology, for over 30 years. Although I no longer tutor, I continue to both lecture and examine, and I particularly enjoy giving the first year lecture course on respiratory physiology.


My research interests have focussed around oxygen – not just the way it is used in metabolism, but also the way in which it affects so many of our biological functions, including respiratory, cardiovascular, and metabolic control. Most recently, I have become interested in whether it is possible to characterise clinically useful features of an individual’s physiology using highly precise measures of gas exchange. The idea is that the measurements could be used to direct therapy in relation to a number of respiratory diseases, just as blood pressure measurements are currently used to prescribe antihypertensive drugs. I currently co-direct the Respiratory Theme of the Oxford Biomedical Research Centre with Prof Ian Pavord. My personal research is currently supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and by GSK.


For a full list of publications, see my Google Scholar page.

Selected publications

In-airway molecular flow sensing: A new technology for continuous, noninvasive monitoring of oxygen consumption in critical care; Ciaffoni L. et al (2016), Sci Adv, 2.

Clinical iron deficiency disturbs normal human responses to hypoxia; Frise MC. et al (2016), J Clin Invest, 126, 2139 - 2150.

Natural selection on EPAS1 (HIF2alpha) associated with low hemoglobin concentration in Tibetan highlanders; Beall CM. et al (2010), Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 107, 11459 - 11464.

Regulation of human metabolism by hypoxia-inducible factor; Formenti F. et al (2010), Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 107, 12722 - 12727.

Potential for noninvasive assessment of lung inhomogeneity using highly precise, highly time-resolved measurements of gas exchange; Mountain JE. et al, J Appl Physiol (1985), 124, 615 - 631.