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UNC-Chapel Hill

Education and Training

University of Leeds, B.Sc, 1994
University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, PhD, 1997
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Postdoctoral, 1997-2001

Areas of Interest

My lab studies the mechanisms underlying chronic airway diseases including asthma, cystic fibrosis and COPD and how ion channel dysfunction contributes to these diseases. We also develop novel therapies for treating these diseases and closely partner with industry in this regard. Additionally, we are funded by the NIH/FDA to understand the impact of new and emerging tobacco products including e-cigarettes, hookah and little cigars on innate defense in the lung. For example, we have identified SPLUNC1 as a negative regulator of ENaC that is dysfunctional in cystic fibrosis airways, leading to airways dehydration and a failure of innate defense. We have since designed novel SPLUNC1-derived peptides that remain functional in cystic fibrosis lungs and are moving towards getting these peptides into the clinic to treat cystic fibrosis patients through an industry collaboration.

Awards and Honors

Adolf Windorfer Award for CF Research, 2003

Scientific Advisory Committee, CF Foundation, 2013-present

FDA Tobacco Steering Committee Member, 2013-present

Editorial Board Member, American Journal of Physiology, Lung, Cellular and Molecular Physiology.


Curriculum in Cell Biology and Physiology
Cystic Fibrosis Center

Job Opportunities

Dr. Tarran has several open post-doctoral positions. Please contact him at