Professional background

Mervyn Singer is professor of intensive care medicine at University College London. His primary research interests are sepsis and multi-organ failure, infection, shock and haemodynamic monitoring. Funding for these activities primarily comes from the Wellcome Trust, Medical Research Council, European Union and National Institute for Health Research.

He developed an oesophageal doppler haemodynamic monitor; multiple studies have shown its use to improve outcomes after major surgery and reduce length of stay. He co-developed the UCL Ventura CPAP device to support the breathing of COVID-19 patients in respiratory failure which has been widely distributed around the NHS and to many other countries. He has led on a number of important multi-centre trials in critical care, authored various papers and textbooks including the Oxford Handbook of Critical Care, now in its third edition, and is current chair of the International Sepsis Forum.

He co-chaired the Sepsis-3 Definitions International Task Force that redefined sepsis in 2016; the resulting paper has had >three million views and is one of the most heavily cited in the scientific literature over the past five years. He was the first UK intensivist to be awarded senior investigator status by the National Institute for Health Research, and to be invited to give plenary lectures at the European and US Intensive Care Congresses.


Research interests

  • Sepsis and multi-organ failure
  • Infection
  • Shock and haemodynamic monitoring


Vincent J-L, Singer M. Critical care: advances and future perspectives. Lancet 2010 (in press) 

Carré JE, Orban JC, Re L, Felsmann K, Iffert W, Bauer M, Suliman HB, Piantadosi CA, Mayhew TM, Breen P, Stotz M, Singer M. Survival in critical illness is associated with early activation of mitochondrial biogenesis. Am J Resp Crit Care Med 2010; 182:745–751

Kidd IM, Down J, Nastouli E, Shulman R, Grant PR, Howell DC, Singer M. H1N1 pneumonitis treated with intravenous zanamivir. Lancet 2009;374:1036

Sprung CL, Annane D, Keh D, Moreno R., Singer M, et al for the Corticus Study Group. Hydrocortisone therapy for patients with septic shock. N Engl J Med 2008; 358:111-24

Singer M. Catecholamine treatment for shock - equally good or bad? Lancet 2007;370:636-7

Clapp BR, Hirschfield GM, Storry, C, Gallimore JR, Stidwill RP, Singer M, Deanfield JE, MacAllister RJ, Pepys MB, Vallance P, Hingorani AD. Inflammation and endothelial function: direct vascular effects of human C reactive protein on NO bioavailability. Circulation 2005; 111:1530-36

Singer M, Coluzzi F, O’Brien A, Clapp LH. Reversal of life-threatening, drug-related potassium-channel syndrome by glibenclamide. Lancet 2005; 365:1873-75

Harvey S, Harrison DA, Singer M et al on behalf of the PAC-Man Study Collaboration. Assessment of the clinical effectiveness of pulmonary artery catheters in management of patients in intensive care (PAC-Man): a randomised controlled trial. Lancet 2005; 366: 472-7

Cepeda JA, Whitehouse T, Cooper B, Hails J, Jones K, Kwaku F, Taylor L, Hayman S, Cookson B, Shaw S, Kibbler C, Singer M, Bellingan G, Wilson APR. Isolation of patients in single rooms or cohorts to reduce spread of MRSA in intensive-care units: prospective two-centre study. Lancet 2005; 365:295-304

Singer M, De Santis V, Vitale D, Jeffcoate W. Multiorgan failure is an adaptive, endocrine-mediated, metabolic response to overwhelming systemic inflammation. Lancet 2004; 364:545-8

McKendry M, McGloin H, Saberi D, Caudwell L, Brady AR, Singer M. Randomised controlled trial assessing the impact of a nurse delivered, flow monitored protocol for optimisation of circulatory status after cardiac surgery. BMJ 2004; 329:258 

O’Brien AJ, Clapp L, Singer M. Terlipressin therapy for norepinephrine-resistant septic shock Lancet 2002; 359: 1209-10

Brealey D, Brand M, Hargreaves I, Heales S, Land J, Smolenski R, Davies NA, Cooper CE, Singer M. Association between mitochondrial dysfunction and severity and outcome of septic shock. Lancet 2002; 360: 219-23

Sinclair S, James S, Singer M. Intraoperative intravascular volume optimisation and length of hospital stay after repair of proximal femoral fracture: randomised controlled trial. BMJ 1997; 315: 909-12

Carr C, Ling K, Boulos P, Singer M. Immediate postoperative enteral feeding is safe and effective in patients undergoing gastrointestinal resection.  BMJ 1996;312:869-71

Screaton GR, Singer M, Cairns HS, Thrasher A, Sarner M, Cohen SL. Hyperpyrexia and rhabdomyolysis after MDMA ("ecstasy") abuse. Lancet 1992; 339:677-8

Evans JWH, Singer M, Chapple CR, Macartney N, Walker JM, Milroy EJG. Haemodynamic evidence for cardiac stress during transurethral prostatectomy. BMJ 1992; 304: 666-71

Birley HDL, Mabey DCW, Singer M. Raised intracranial pressure in malaria. Lancet 1991; 337: 1284

Singer M, Bennett ED. Optimisation of positive end-expiratory pressure for maximal delivery of oxygen to tissues by using oesophageal Doppler ultrasonography. BMJ 1989;298: 1350-3

Millar AB, Foley NM, Singer M, Johnson NMcI, Meager A, Rook GAW. Tumour necrosis factor in bronchopulmonary secretions of patients with adult respiratory distress syndrome. Lancet 1989; ii: 712-14