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Respiratory Physiology and Medicine

Federico Formenti


Dr Federico Formenti is a physiologist and sport scientist. Federico obtained a D.Phil. in human physiology from the University of Oxford in 2011 under the supervision of Professors Peter A. Robbins and Keith L. Dorrington, and a Ph.D. in human biomechanics from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2006 under the supervision of Professor Alberto E. Minetti. Federico was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Division of Anaesthetics at the University of Oxford until 2016 under the supervision of Professors Andrew D. Farmery and Clive E. W. Hahn.

He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Human Physiology in the Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine at King’s College London within the School of Basic & Medical Biosciences, an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the Division of Anaesthetics, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford, an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Biomechanics at the University of Nebraska in Omaha and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Federico is a Reviewing Editor for Experimental Physiology and ad hoc reviewer for several journals. His research interests include human responses to hypoxia, cardiopulmonary and exercise physiology, development of technology for physiological research and critical care. 

Professional membership

Federico is a member of Board of General Assembly, International Union of Physiological Sciences, a trustee, member of Council and Director of the Physiological Society of London, where he is also a member of the Publications Committee and of the Education and Outreach Committee. He has been an ordinary member of the Society since 2013.

Research Interests

Arterial oxygen sensing

We measure arterial partial pressure of oxygen as an index of overall ventilation and perfusion in the mechanically ventilated lung. This continuous oxygen monitoring affords the real time study of dynamic cardiopulmonary physiology, providing detailed information on pulmonary gas exchange.

Collaborators: Andrew Farmery and Clive Hahn (Oxford), Anders Larsson and Goran Hedenstierna (Uppsala), Luigi Camporota (KCL)

Human responses to hypoxia

With the generous help of patients, we explored how a protein called hypoxia-inducible factor is involved in the regulation of human responses to hypoxia. We observed that mutations affecting the hypoxia-inducible factor pathway can have an impact on human respiration and metabolism at whole body level, with implications for high altitude training.

Collaborators: Keith Dorrington and Peter Robbins (Oxford), Fulvio Della Ragione and Silverio Perrotta (Naples)

Exercise physiology and biomechanics

We studied the energetics and biomechanics of ice skating and cross country skiing with a historical perspective; we showed how fast and how far people could travel on ice skates and cross country skis since these were first made, and how performance improved with technological and technical development. We also investigated the effect of different pedalling rates on the oxygen uptake of cycling exercise, showing that the work required to spin the lower limbs can be a substantial determinant of overall oxygen uptake.

Collaborators: Alberto Minetti (Milan), Fabio Borrani (Lausanne), Koji Ishida (Nagoya)

Publications and Funding

Key publications:

Formenti F, et al. (2014). A fibre optic oxygen sensor that detects rapid PO2 changes under simulated conditions of cyclical atelectasis in vitro. Respiratory Physiology and Neurobiology, 191: 1-8.

Formenti F, et al. (2011). Cardiopulmonary function in two human disorders of the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) pathway: von Hippel-Lindau disease and HIF-2alpha gain-of-function mutation. The FASEB Journal, 25, 1-11

Formenti F, et al. (2010). Regulation of human metabolism by hypoxia-inducible factor. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107 (28), 12722-7.

A full list of publications can be found here.

Funding bodies:

The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation

King’s College London



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