Current PhD students

Our current PhD students form a vibrant and active group - though they are based at various locations around the UK. Each of our PhD students are undertaking a unique project in the field of applied asthma research, and have supervisors from at least two member institutions.

Affiliate students have been formally adopted by the Centre.  They must be based in one of our member institutions, and be working on a study that aligns with our programmes of work and/or platforms.  Benefits of being an affiliated PhD student include access to the post-graduate training scheme.

Our PhD students

Salina Ahmed

Developing and piloting asthma self-management interventions for South Asians

UK born South Asians have distinct asthma experiences compared to other ethnicities including poorer asthma outcomes, higher hospital admissions, risk of rehospitalisation and higher death rates. One important approach in addressing this inequality is to identify and implement culturally relevant and effective asthma self-management interventions, which is explicitly recommended in asthma clinical guidelines. Yet, implementation of self-management in routine clinical care is typically poor.

Mohammad Al Sallakh

Creating and utilising a Wales Asthma Observatory to support health policy, health service planning and clinical research

  • The project aims to develop an observatory for asthma in Wales using linked health data as a platform to support health policy, service planning and clinical research.

Asthma is one of the commonest life-long diseases in Wales and can severely affect the quality of life. However, its adverse outcomes and costs are largely avoidable.

Karim el Ferkh

Burden of asthma co-morbidity in the UK: secondary analyses of national databases from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

Affecting almost 300 million people in the world, asthma is typically a life-long heterogeneous disease, hence effective control and management remain the goals of treatment.

Io Chi-Yan Hui

Developing, refining and piloting an integrated IT application to support asthma self-management

This is a collaboration research project between the University of Edinburgh and Queen Mary, University of London. It aims to develop, refine and pilot an integrated information technology (IT) application to support self-management for asthma patients. By using the uMotif platform, IT application will be developed for use on both Apple and Android mobile operation system in the end devices (e.g. smart phone/ tablet).

Tracy Jackson

The impact of incentives on implementation of asthma self-management: a mixed methods assessment

In 2008 The Northern Ireland (NI) healthcare service introduced Directed Enhanced Service (DES) which provided financial incentives to general practices for implementing asthma self-management. This project aims to use routine data to evaluate the impact of the financial incentives on provision of Personalised Asthma Action Plan (PAAPs) and health outcomes, and to use qualitative methods to explore how changes were achieved.

Lee Koh

Monitoring air pollution exposure and its impact on asthma management in children – a feasibility study.

Despite efforts of controlling air pollution emissions, the target levels are routinely exceeded in the UK. While the government is urgently required to address this issue, children are currently being exposed to high levels of air pollution, which in turn is impairing their respiratory health.

Shauna McKibben

Feasibility and impact of implementing electronic flagging alerts of bronchodilator overuse in primary care.

People with asthma who rely on their bronchodilator (quick reliever) and not the preventive inhaler, which tackles the root cause of asthma often have poor control of their disease. Many studies confirm that they are at increased risk of asthma attacks, hospital admission and even death.

Ann McMurray

Parent and patient perspectives of fatal and near fatal asthma, a qualitative study.

According to the National Review of Asthma Deaths (NRAD) report a substantial proportion of asthma deaths are neither identifiable by clinical algorithms nor by patient understanding of personal risk: 58% of patients who die from asthma were classed as mild/moderate asthma and 43% had not had primary care contact for review of asthma in the previous year.

Christina Pearce

Adherence in Children with problematic Severe Asthma

This PhD studentship aims to investigate factors related to non-adherence in children with problematic severe asthma (PSA), where asthma continues to be severe despite high levels of prescription medications.

Using the Medical Research Council (MRC) framework for intervention development the PhD will:

Adam Peel

The utility of biomarkers in the management of acute asthma: a feasibility study

Existing ways of assessing asthma (such as peak flow meters) tell us about lung function and how well people are breathing but they don’t actually tell us how inflamed their airways are nor what the most appropriate treatment is. Every time a person exhales, they breathe out water vapour and various gases; dissolved in the water vapour are different substances that come from the lining of the airways.

Aryelly Rodriguez

Are anonymised databases truly anonymous?

Funders, regulators and publishers are increasingly requesting that clinical researchers share their research data with others, once the primary analysis has been completed. Existing data could be used to expand medical and scientific knowledge by:

Christos Stefanidis

Vitamin D in the treatment of asthma: a Cochrane review and feasibility studies for trials of vitamin D supplementation in children

Acute exacerbations are recognized as the major cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with asthma. Viral upper respiratory infections are the most common precipitants, but interventions to prevent these are lacking.

Eleftheria Vasileiou

Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness in Asthma

This research project is going to evaluate the influenza vaccine programme for people with asthma by measuring vaccine uptake and effectiveness in people with asthma. As part of a programme of work already funded by the Department of Health, information has been extracted about influenza vaccination and other relevant health information from primary care, linked to information on swabs collected to detect influenza and subsequently linked information to hospital and death records.

Charles Winn

The x4a trial: eXercise for Asthma

Asthma and obesity have both increased dramatically in recent years and are two of the commonest long-lasting problems to affect children. It is important to target asthma and obesity by developing effective novel exercise and educational programmes tailored especially to improve asthma outcomes. The study offers a real chance to improve outcomes for children with asthma in a relatively short timeframe. The work should also frame professional practice and guide school policy relating to asthma, physical activity and exercise.

Affiliated PhD students

Mohammad Romel Bhuia

Prevalence and Disease Burden of Asthma: Global, Regional and National Estimates and Projections

There are varying estimates of asthma prevalence and burden in the published literature, and these have major limitations in terms of the analytical approach used and reproducibility. This PhD project aims to:

Christina-Jane Crossman-Barnes

Economic evaluation of a primary care at-risk asthma register

Asthma exacerbations can be life threatening and lead to accident and emergency (A&E) attendances or hospital admissions. Quality of life deteriorates when experiencing such events and due to the sporadic nature of asthma exacerbations, this is not always captured. The aim of this PhD is to estimate the loss in quality of life associated with an asthma exacerbation that leads to an A&E attendance or admission.

Luke Daines

Deriving and validating a clinical prediction rule for the diagnosis of asthma

Asthma is common in the UK, causing considerable illness, healthcare usage, and public expense. Accurate diagnosis is essential for good asthma management. Yet, uncertainty about the best way to diagnose asthma can lead to missed diagnoses and under-treatment, or over-diagnosis leading to unnecessary treatment and healthcare costs.

This project aims to make it easier for doctors and nurses to identify and interpret the important information gathered from a patient suspected of having asthma.

Elsie Horne

Harnessing routinely collected data to improve prediction of asthma attacks

Asthma attacks are very common, can cause lasting damage to health, and are potentially life-threatening. It has been estimated that two in three deaths that happen as a result of an asthma attack could have been prevented. Alerting healthcare professionals and patients when they are at high risk of having an asthma attack could allow steps to be taken to reduce the risk.

Caroline Katzer

The development of a Perceptions and Practicalities intervention (PAPI) to support adherence to maintenance treatment in adult asthma patients

This PhD studentship is part of a larger research project at the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (NIHR CLAHRC) North Thames that aims to increase medication adherence to essential treatment for asthma.

Marissa Mes

The pharmacist as a channel for the delivery of a theory-based intervention to support medication adherence in asthma patients

This PhD studentship is part of a larger research project at the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (NIHR CLAHRC) North Thames that aims to increase medication adherence to essential treatment for asthma.

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