Peter Openshaw works on the pathogenesis of viral lung disease, aiming to understand protective vs. pathogenic immunity and to find ways to modulate virus-induced inflammatory disease.
His work has focused on the effects of age on immune responses, the origins disease in infancy and in immune responses of old age. Trained in adult pulmonology, physiology and lung immunology, he developed methods to quantify disease by flow cytometry and lung sampling. He has studied respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza since the mid-1980s and in the 1990s, developed methods of intracellular cytokine staining of cytokines made by T cells ex vivo and in vitro. His work has charted the sequence of events that evolve as infection is initiated, peaks and resolves
He ran a national consortium Mechanisms of Severe Acute Influenza Consortium MOSAIC) , recruiting cases of severe influenza during the influenza pandemic of 2009-2010. He is a Co-Lead on ISARIC4C https://isaric4c.net/, a UK-wide consortium established to study the COVID-19 pandemic. He runs studies of human experimental infection of volunteers and is Director of the MRC-funded HIC-Vac consortium. He is served as President of the British Society for Immunology (2013-18) and is a member of the Academy of Medical Sciences–British Society for Immunology expert taskforce on the immunology of COVID-19.