Professional background

Dr Heightman specialises in interstitial lung disease and integrated respiratory medicine and is the deputy clinical divisional director for medical specialities at UCLH. She qualified from the University of Cambridge in 2000, and trained in respiratory medicine at the Brompton Hospital and in North London. She held a Wellcome Trust Clinical Training Fellowship from 2007 to 2011.

Dr Heightman supports community respiratory services in Camden and Islington and works closely with primary care to support management of patients with respiratory disease at practice level. She is working with NCL CCG to develop pathways to improve the quality of respiratory care in the Integrated Care System. She is a member of the clinical leadership group of the London Respiratory Clinical Network which develops guidance for London in meeting respiratory priorities in the NHS long term plan and relating to the COVID19 pandemic. Dr Heightman has been clinical lead for the COVID follow up service at the trust which is a multiprofessional and multispeciality service which integrates with community assessment and community rehabilitation services. She is a member of the NHSE task force considering COVID follow up service development and the NICE guideline group looking at management of the long term effects of COVID19 . She has a broad interest in transformation of outpatient services and in developing new models of care for long term conditions across the integrated care system.

Research interests

Dr Heightman supports clinical research within the Interstitial Lung Disease service which recruits to a number of clinical trials as well as supporting UCL respiratory based research into mechanisms undelying development of pulmonary fibrosis. She is co-applicant on an NIHR funded project looking at the effectiveness of supported self management for recovery of COVID using digital tools. There is a broad research platform developing around mechanisms underlying post-COVID syndrome and in evaluating best models of investigation and care which the UCLH service is contributing to actively.


  • Dr Heightman has co-authored the primary care community resource pack for use during COVID 19 (July 2020, London Clinical Respiratory Network).
  • ‘Long-COVID’: A cross-sectional study of persisting symptoms, biomarker and imaging abnormalities following hospitalisation for COVID-19. Thorax in press 2020. Swapna Mandal PhD1, Joseph Barnett FRCR2, Simon E Brill PhD1, Jeremy S Brown FRCP3,4, Emma K Denneny MBBS4, Samanjit S Hare FRCR2, Melissa Heightman FRCP4, Toby E Hillman FRCP4, Joseph Jacob MD(Res)5,6, Hannah C Jarvis MRCP1, Marc C I Lipman MD1,3, Sindhu B Naidu MBBS1, Arjun Nair MD6, Joanna C Porter FRCP3,4, Gillian S Tomlinson PhD4,7, John R Hurst FRCP
  • Heightman M, Williamson A, Dzingai, J, Sennett K, Lenders J: “Development of improved models of COPD care with the evolution of the QIST in an inner city borough” British Thoracic Society Meeting 2018
  • Heightman, M, Dullaghan D, Rafferty A, Jones E, Dzingai J, Stern M : “Measuring the Value of an Integrated Respiratory Consultant supported Community Respiratory (CORE) multidisciplinary team in a deprived inner city area: Achieving parity in quality of care for housebound patients and those not accessing specialist services” Dec 2015 Thorax 70 (Suppl 3): A88- A89
  • Heightman, M, Restrick R, Stern M: Developing the first UK integrated respiratory registrar role in an inner city integrated care organisation Clinical Medicine 2015 Jun;15 Suppl 3:s29. doi: 10.7861/clinmedicine.15-3-s29. Epub 2015 May 29.
  • Heightman M, Booth HL, Laurent, G, Hill M R: "TIMP3 protects against inflammatory processes in Interstitial Lung Disease” Nov 2010 Thorax 65 (Suppl 4): A1-A2