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Ron Eccles

Professor Ron Eccles

Emeritus Professor

School of Biosciences


I am an expert on the nose and upper airways with an interest in human diseases of the upper airways such as common cold and allergy. I established the Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University in 1988 as a clinical trial centre testing new treatments for colds, flu cough etc. The centre closed March 2017 on my retirement from the university. I have been the principal investigator in over 120 clinical trials sponsored by pharmaceutical companies. My special areas of expertise include studies on cough, sore throat, blocked nose, and the mechanisms of the symptoms of cold and flu. I act as a consultant to the pharmaceutical industry and travel widely giving lectures on treatments for colds and flu.


My research has involved understanding how the symptoms of cough, cold and flu are generated and developing methods of assessing the symptoms in clinical trials on new treatments for cough, colds and flu. My areas of expertise include assessment of the efficacy of; nasal decongestants, using both objective methods such as rhinomanometry and acoustic rhinometry and subjective scores; analgesics, using the sore throat as a model; herbal medicines using general symptom scores; antitussives, using various methods of cough counting and subjective scores.


I attended Leigh Grammar School, Lancashire and then studied for BSc and PhD in Pharmacology at Liverpool University and was later awarded DSc for my research work. I enjoyed many trips to Baghdad and Mosul, Iraq (1985-1990) teaching postgraduate and under graduate clinical physiology at hospitals and universities and was held as a Guest of Saddam in the build up to the First Gulf War in 1990, eventually returning to the UK with Edward Heath and Richard Branson on a special 747 Virgin flight on the 24 October 1990. During my confinement in Baghdad I wrote up some of my lectures given to surgeons in Iraq, which were later published as a text book on Electrolytes, Body Fluids and Acid-Base Balance.

I established the Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University in 1988 with sponsorship from Richardson Vicks Company and Procter and Gamble and the Centre established an international reputation as a centre of excellence for clinical trials on treatments for cough, colds and flu. The Centre closed in March 2017 on my retirement from the university after 44 years service.

I have frequently featured on TV, radio, newspapers and magazines throughout the world discussing all aspects of common cold and flu and am still happy to interact with media on this topic.