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Current projects

Introduction

We have particular expertise in design and analysis of occupational and environmental epidemiological surveys

In addition to our specific research projects, we provide assistance with:

  • statistical design
  • data management
  • analysis
  • presentation of results
  • dissemination of findings

GRENFELL FIREFIGHTERS STUDY 

We are undertaking a study of firefighters from the London Fire Brigade who attended the fire at Grenfell Tower in 2017. The study is designed to look at the medium and long term risks associated with firefighting, with a particular emphasis on cardiorespiratory health and cancer. Recruitment began in late 2019.


UNDERSTANDING THE AETIOLOGY OF CHRONIC HYPERSENSITVITY PNEUMONITIS (CHP)

Jo Feary and Paul Cullinan are developing a protocol for a multi-centre, case-control study of the aetiology of CHP; at present 50% or more of cases have no identified cause.  The focus will be on mould exposures but other exposures, and genetic determinants, will also be considered.

Jo Feary is currently conducting pilot work which includes ‘fungome’ analyses of bronchoalveolar lavage samples for patients with CHP.


IDIOPATHIC PULMONARY FIBROSIS JOB EXPOSURE STUDY (IPFJES)

IPFJES is a UK based multi-centre case-control study that aims to find out if job exposures are an under-recognized cause of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). 

Men with IPF and hospital controls are being interviewed to collect information about previous job exposures; blood is drawn to investigate genetic susceptibility.

The study is supervised by Prof Paul Cullinan and funded by a Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Training Fellowship awarded to Dr Carl Reynolds.  See http://ipfjes.org/ for further information. 


INDIVIDUALLY VENTILATED CAGES IN LABORATORY ANIMAL FACILITIES AND THE PREVENTION OF LABORATORY ANIMAL ALLERGY: A PROOF OF CONCEPT STUDY

The SPIRAL (Safe Practice in Reducing Allergy in Laboratories) study is funded by an NIHR post-doctoral fellowship for Dr Johanna Feary.  The project is designed to determine if the introduction of individual ventilated cages has resulted in a significant reduction in the risk of laboratory animal allergy. We have recruited some of the largest and most prestigious research institutions in and around London with whom we have a close clinical and /or academic relationship. The study started in 2014 and recruitment (n=750) finished in 2017.  Analyses are ongoing.


THE INFLUENCE OF AGRICULTURAL EXPOSURES ON RESPIRATORY HEALTH WITH A SPECIFIC FOCUS ON LOW- AND MIDDLE-INCOME COUNTRIES

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. While smoking is the main cause of the disease, the first findings of the multinational BOLD study found that low income countries with a low smoking prevalence are prone to higher than expected "COPD" mortality. As farming is a common occupation in developing countries and has been associated with chronic lung disease, farming exposures, particularly to pesticides, could be an important cause of chronic lung disease in these countries.

To test the relationship between chronic lung disease and agricultural exposures with a specific focus on low- and middle-income settings, this PhD project will:

  • undertake a systematic review of the association between pesticide exposure and lung function
  • develop a new instrument for assessing risks to respiratory health in farming settings
  • analyse occupational effects on lung function in the BOLD study
  • conduct a cross-sectional survey of farming communities in north Thailand in the remaining 18 to 24 months.

MULTITEX RCT

The MultiTex RCT study (Multifaceted intervention package for protection against cotton dust exposure among textile workers – a cluster randomized controlled trial), run by Asaad Nafees, aims to determine the effectiveness of an intervention package for reducing cotton dust levels in textile mills and improving the respiratory health of workers.

Measurements for cotton dust level will be taken, in addition to interviews and spirometry for approximately 1700 workers across 28 textile mills in Karachi, Pakistan. Baseline assessment will be followed by the implementation of the intervention in the intervention arm; comprising occupational health training of workers and managers and strategies for reducing dust exposure, including wet mopping and provision of facemasks. Key outcome measures including dust levels and lung function will be assessed at each follow-up over a period of 2 years.    


ADVANCE

ADVANCE (ArmeD SerVices TrAuma RehabilitatioN OutComE) is a 20-year study investigating the long-term medical and psychosocial outcomes of UK battlefield casualties from Iraq or Afghanistan (2003-2014).  The study also supports these injured men during and after their transition into civilian life.  

The study is mainly based at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC). The DMRC relocated in 2018 to Stanford Hall, Leicestershire from its previous site at Headley Court near Epsom. 

ADVANCE receives financial support from Help for Heroes, the MOD and HM Treasury (via the LIBOR Fund). 

The principal Investigators are as follows:

  • Gp Capt Alex Bennett – MSK disease & rehabilitation: Stanford Hall
  • Lt Col (rtd.) Christopher Boos – CVD: Bournemouth University
  • Prof Paul Cullinan – respiratory disease & epidemiology: Imperial College London
  • Prof Anthony Bull – bioengineering: Imperial College London
  • Prof Nicola Fear - mental health & epidemiology: King’s College London

Further details can be found on the ADVANCE Study website.