Blizard Institute - Barts and The London

Global Research Group for Child Health

NIHR Global Health Group Director: Professor Jonathan Grigg, j.grigg@qmul.ac.uk
Head of NIHR Global Health Group and Community Engagement: Dr Gioia Mosler, g.mosler@qmul.ac.uk.

The NIHR Global Health Group encompasses national and international research studies about paediatric health with a special focus on respiratory health. In addition the Group is expanding its scope to include a wider perspective around public health, for example to include research on air pollution exposure. The Group’s research is characterised by a common approach, which emphasises multidisciplinary and collaborative work, as well as a strong focus on community involvement throughout the course of each study. Furthermore, one of our aims for the Group is to create and use synergy effects between studies.

The coordinating centre of the Group is based within the Blizard Institute. Collaborators stem from universities across the globe, as well as partners from outside research, such as Centre of the Cell, science centre, and Tramshed - Greenwich and Lewisham Young People’s Theatre.

The Group’s development initiated with the UK-based School-based Asthma Project (SAP), which collected observational data on young people’s asthma management and developed a multi-faceted interdisciplinary approach to asthma self-management, the My Asthma in School (MAIS) Programme. The framework of this study laid the foundations for similar developments with a more global focus, which in turn allowed for the development of a wider group for global health research. 

Much of the group’s current focus is on studies taking place in six sub-Saharan African countries, through the NIHR-funded ACACIA (Achieving Control of Asthma in Children In Africa) project. ACACIA aims to assess asthma prevalence and control in young people in Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. The collection of observational data in schools is followed by the piloting of potential interventions aimed to improve life with asthma in these six countries, including an interactive theatre about awareness around asthma, and testing of Africa-specific technological solutions such as using adapted smart peak flow devices. 

The Global Health group is furthermore part of the respiratory meta-consortium developed by 12 projects within the NIHR global health funding stream, led by 10 UK research institutions. Research within the meta-consortium stretches across countries in South America, Africa, and Asia. The main focus of the meta-consortium is to produce heat maps of research activities within collaborating LMIC countries for various respiratory conditions, as well as recognition and development of synergy effects between projects and collaborative preparation of future grant applications. 

The Global Health group is additionally in conversation with collaborators in Benin, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Tanzania, discussing developments of potential future research for example around air pollution exposure, phenotyping of asthma, and creation of an asthma registry system.

Core team

Jonathan Grigg

Professor Jonathan Grigg

Professor of Paediatric Respiratory and Environmental Medicine
Director of the NIHR Global Health Group
Queen Mary University of London, UK

Gioia Mosler

Dr Gioia Mosler
Head of Global Health Group and Community Engagement
Queen Mary University of London, UK

Dr Mosler is the Programme and Research Manager for ACACIA. In addition, she has been working with the School-based Asthma Project and My Asthma in School Programme for five years, for which she organised data collections in schools, and developed a complex school-based multimedia intervention for young people with asthma. Dr Mosler has previously worked for the MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health at Imperial College London, where she worked for three EU 7th framework projects about air pollution, including ESCAPE (European Study of Cohorts for Air Pollution Effects). Dr Mosler completed her PhD (Micro-environmental Models of Human Exposure to Air Pollution) in Environmental Epidemiology as part of her work at Imperial College. She furthermore holds a BSc and MSc for Geography with a focus on Global Health and Population Geography from the University of Cologne, Germany. In addition to her work in research, Dr Mosler is passionate about advocating the communication of science to the public.

Victoria Oyenuga

Victoria Oyenuga
ACACIA PhD student
Specialist Clinical Physiologist
Queen Mary University of London, UK

Victoria Oyenuga is the UK lead for data capture, data analysis and FeNO training. As a Specialist Clinical Physiologist and the previous Paediatric Lung Function Lead for the Royal London Children’s Hospital, Whitechapel, she has extensive experience in the areas of Sleep and Respiratory Physiology in both adults and children.

Collaborators

Emmanuel Addo-Yobo

Professor Emmanuel Addo-Yobo
Associate Professor of Child Health
ACACIA Principle Investigator for Ghana
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)

Associate Professor of Child Health at the School of Medical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), and Honorary Consultant Paediatrician at the Child Health Directorate, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), Ghana.
He has conducted a series of large field studies as Principal Investigator or Co-investigator over many years on childhood asthma in Ghana in collaboration with the North-West Lung Centre, Manchester, United Kingdom (1993-95 and 2002-04) sponsored by the Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET) (1993-95) and the Welcome Trust (2002-04), from which a number of novel publications on childhood asthma epidemiology in West Africa emerged. He has been involved as Site Principal Investigator for USAID and WHO-sponsored international multi-centre collaborative research on treatment options for childhood pneumonia (Amoxicillin-Penicillin Pneumonia International Study (APPIS)) and common young infant infections in developing countries (Young Infant Study (YIS)).

Olayinka Olufunke Adeyeye

Olayinka Olufunke Adeyeye
Senior Lecturer
ACACIA Principle Investigator for Nigeria
Lagos State University College of Medicine, Nigeria

Dr Olayinka Olufunke Adeyeye is a Senior lecturer at the Lagos State University College of Medicine and Honorary Consultant Respiratory Physician at the Lagos State University Teaching hospital, both in Lagos Nigeria. She earned her her medical degree at the College of Medicine of the University of Lagos in 1991 and speciality training in Respiratory Medicine from the National Post Graduate Medical College of Nigeria. She obtained a MPH from the School of Post Graduate Studies of the University of Lagos as well as a masters in Clinical Education from University College London. She completed the level three PATS MECOR course in 2018. She is a member of the Nigerian Thoracic Society, Pan African Thoracic Society, American Thoracic Society, European Respiratory Society and International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease. She has published several papers on respiratory diseases in Nigeria and presently leads the ACACIA Study in Lagos Nigeria.

Fran Balkwill

Professor Fran Balkwill
Centre Lead, Centre for Cancer and Inflammation
ACACIA Co-Investigator
Queen Mary University of London, UK

Andy Carter

Andy Carter
Owner Carter Holmes Ltd, Collaboration Pro Ltd and founding Member of SCIEEH

Andy has been involved in delivering technology solutions to large and small organisations for over 35 years, designing and delivering multi-million pound projects in both the public and private sectors. Having always been interested in technology – even before the Sinclair ZX80 (Google it, you will be amazed) – he is fortunate in spending his time helping businesses and people get the best out of their technology. As a translator (turning business speak into IT speak and vice versa) and an optimiser (getting technology to work better for people and people to work better with technology) he spends most of his time with people. Andy strives to understand what is needed and understand where technology can help in their day-to-day work, and life.

Farida Fortune

Professor Farida Fortune
Head of Clinical and Diagnostic Oral Sciences
ACACIA Co-Investigator
Queen Mary University of London, UK

Jeremy James

Jeremy James
CEO and Artistic Director
Tramshed (formerly known as Greenwich & Lewisham Young People’s Theatre), UK

Jeremy has been artistic director of Tramshed for the last 15 years leading the company’s theatre produced and created for young people and often toured to school contexts. This work has dealt with and explored issues around youth violence and gangs, cultural identity, sexuality, migration, refugees and colonialisation. Their work currently explores issues around health and empowers young people to take responsibility for their own health and encourages their peers to support each other rather than pray upon perceived weakness. GLYPT is one of the leading Theatre in Education and young people’s theatre companies in the UK and has been working for and with young people for nearly 50 years. The company runs an extensive participatory programme and specifically uses the arts to build self-esteem and resilience in young people with mental health challenges and operates out of its base the Tramshed, an arts and community centre in South East London.

Refiloe Masekela

Professor Refiloe Masekela
Head of Department of Paediatrics and Child Health
ACACIA Principle Investigator for South Africa
University of KwaZulu Natal in Durban South Africa

Professor Refiloe Masekela is a Paediatric Pulmonologist and is the head of department of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of KwaZulu Natal in Durban South Africa. She obtained her medical degree at Witwatersrand University, and completed her specialist Paediatrics training at the University of Pretoria. She then completed her fellowship in Paediatric Pulmonology at the Catholic University in Leuven, Belgium and the University of Pretoria. Her research interests are bronchiectasis in children; both in HIV-infected children as well as in cystic fibrosis in non-Caucasians in Africa. She also has an interest in lung physiological testing. She is a proud PATS MECOR graduate. She is an executive member of the South African Thoracic Society and is the past chairperson of the South African National Asthma Education Programme. She is the secretary of the Pan African Thoracic Society and is on the scientific advisory committee of the South African Cystic Fibrosis Association.

H A Mujuru

Professor H A Mujuru
Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health
ACACIA Co-Principle Investigator for Zimbabwe
University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences, Harare, Zimbabwe

Rebecca Nantanda

Dr Rebecca Nantanda
Paediatrician and Senior Research Fellow
ACACIA Principle Investigator for Uganda
Makerere University Lung Institute (MLI), Uganda

Dr Rebecca Nantanda is a general Paediatrician and Senior Research Fellow at Makerere University Lung Institute (MLI). She is also the Acting Head of Department - Training and Education at MLI. She obtained her PhD on a sandwich programme between Makerere University and the University of Copenhagen, focusing on asthma and acute respiratory infections in children. She is currently involved in research focusing on lung heath in children and developing respiratory medicine training programmes. Her research largely focuses on asthma and pneumonia in children. She also serves as Honorary Lecturer in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Makerere College of Health Sciences. Rebecca is the current President of Uganda Paediatrics Association, and Executive Committee member for Uganda Thoracic Society. She is a reviewer for a number of journals and an Associate Editor for the International Journal of Public Health. She is currently the Clinical Post-Doctoral Research Associate-IMPALA program, LSTM.

Sarah Rylance

Dr Sarah Rylance
Consultant Paediatrician
ACACIA Principle Investigator for Malawi
Liverpool-Malawi-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research, Malawi/UK

Dr Sarah Rylance is a consultant paediatrician with an interest in respiratory paediatrics and global health, currently based in Blantyre, Malawi. Since graduating from Nottingham University Medical School in 2000, she has worked in Nottingham, Sheffield, and Liverpool in the UK, and spent several years working overseas in Tanzania and Malawi. She is an honorary consultant at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in the UK and Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Blantyre, Malawi. Sarah is currently a full-time PhD student on the MRC-Doctoral Training Partnership at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, under the auspices of IMPALA. She is currently running a randomised-controlled trial to assess the impact of an enhanced outpatient asthma care programme for children attending QECH in Blantyre. A key component of this programme is individualised asthma education for young people and their families, delivered by non-medically trained personnel.

Ismail Ticklay

Dr Ismail Ticklay
Senior Lecturer
ACACIA Principle Investigator for Zimbabwe
University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences, Harare, Zimbabwe

Dr Ismail Ticklay trained in Zambia at the University of Zambia (UNZA). He relocated to Zimbabwe in 1981. He did his Paediatric training at the University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences. He then joined the Ministry of Health as a Consultant Paediatrician until 2008. He moved over to University of Zimbabwe where he is presently a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health. He has been involved in research in Early Infant Male Circumcision (EIMC) through Ministry of Health and the Centre for Sexual Health, HIV, and AIDS Research Zimbabwe (CeSHHAR). He has also been participating in the Rota Virus Surveillance studies in Zimbabwe and is the focal person for Parirenyatwa Hospital. He is part of the ongoing Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine (TCV) and Adverse Event following Immunisation (AEFI) Active Surveillance. His interests are in Paediatric Palliative Care, and Non-communicable Diseases in children, particularly childhood diabetes and asthma.

Lindsay Zurba

Lindsay Zurba
Spirometry Training Services Africa CC/Lung Wellness Clinic/MMI Holdings, Durban, South Africa
Data Collection Lead for South Africa and Cross-Centre Spirometry Trainer
University of KwaZulu Natal in Durban South Africa

Lindsay qualified as a Professional Nurse (hons) in 1991 followed by Intensive Care Nursing (hons) in 1995. Lindsay circumstantially became involved in lung function testing in 1996. By 1999, three years later, she wrote and pioneered the first formal spirometry training course at the Durban Institute of Technology and has been teaching the subject since then throughout Africa. Lindsay holds degree modules in Spirometry, Asthma, COPD and Smoking Cessation. She has an Advanced Diploma in Social Media and an executive MBA. Lindsay currently works in Business Development in the Health Sector of MMI Holdings in South Africa, South Africa’s largest health insurance corporate, and manages the Occupational Health Training Academy, with training operations across Africa. She manages the Spirometry portfolio for the Pan African Thoracic Society (PATS) and the Society of Occupational Health Nurses of South Africa (SASOHN). She is an actively involved member of the European Respiratory Society Spirometry Committee.

Associative members

Rahel Argaw

Dr Rahel Argaw
Assistant Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health
Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

Dr Rahel Argaw is an assistant professor of paediatrics and child health at Addis Ababa University. Prior to her fellowship training, she served in Yekatit 12 Hospital Medical College, as a paediatrician and clinical director. In that role, she expanded the hospital clinical service by inaugurating a new hospital building with 400 beds in total. Afterwards, she became the first paediatric pulmonology and critical care physician in Ethiopia after completing her studies in AAU in collaboration with East Africa Training Initiative Program. Her special interest is to introduce and establish a pulmonology and critical care unit in Addis Ababa University School of Medicine with the intention to provide the best of care in the field and also encourage research activity revolving around childhood lung disease and paediatric intensive care.

Placeholder image for Baderinwa Abatan 

Dr Baderinwa Abatan
Consultant Clinician
Clinical Services Department of the Medical Research Council Unit, The Gambia at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Dr Baderinwa Abatan is a graduate of the University of Lagos and the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Nigeria. She is a paediatrician and a Fellow of the West Africa College of Physicians (Paediatrics). Her areas of special interest include paediatric respiratory diseases, paediatric cardiology and childhood nutrition.

Her research activities span the field of paediatric infectious diseases. Specifically, she has been involved in large studies such as the Pneumococcal Surveillance Project. She is a member of the Gambian chapter of the West Africa College of Physicians and the vice president of the Paediatric Association of The Gambia. She is also a member of the Medical Women’s Association of The Gambia.

She currently works as a consultant clinician with the Clinical Services Department of the Medical Research Council Unit, The Gambia at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Babatunde Awokola 

Dr Babatunde Awokola
Consultant Clinician
Clinical Services Department of the Medical Research Council Unit, The Gambia at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Dr Babatunde Awokola is a medical graduate of University of Ibadan, Nigeria and a qualified family physician with special interest in cardiorespiratory health and air pollution. He is a fellow of the American Thoracic Society, West African College of Physicians and the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria. He has been practicing as a physician for fourteen years. He is also an active member of the Pan African Thoracic Society, European Respiratory Society, American College of Chest Physicians and a research fellow with the International Society for Hypertension.

Babatunde’s research activities span the fields of respiratory non-communicable diseases (NCDs), respiratory infections, cardiovascular NCDs, and air pollution. Specifically, he has been involved in studies in COPD management, COPD co-morbidities, asthma management, hypertension treatment and ambient air pollution exposure measurements. He currently works as a Consultant Clinician with the Clinical Services Department of the Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Alongside this, he is working on a PhD thesis with Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine titled: “Non-communicable respiratory diseases and air pollution in sub-Saharan Africa”. This will involve a COPD/Asthma clinical characteristics descriptive study in Cameroon, Benin Republic and The Gambia and a long-term environmental ambient particulate matter measurement for 12 months in Burkina faso, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Sudan alongside the earlier mentioned three countries.

Bruce Kirenga

Dr Bruce Kirenga
Senior Lecturer for Pulmonary Medicine and Director
Makerere University Lung Institute, Uganda

Dr Bruce Kirenga is a Senior Lecturer (Pulmonology) and founding Director of the Makerere University Lung Institute. Bruce formally trained in internal medicine at Makerere University and completed specialty registrar training in Pulmonary Medicine at Mulago Hospital and proceeded to complete an additional year of clinical and research training in the Section of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Yale University, USA. Dr Kirenga also completed a two-year masters clinical research fellowship of the University of Amsterdam offered at the University of Rwanda, School of Public Health in Rwanda. Bruce's main interests are in clinical and epidemiological research in the areas of obstructive lung diseases and their determinants as well as tuberculosis. He is a mentor of several junior physicians in Pulmonary Medicine and Epidemiology.

Hervé Lawin

Dr Hervé Lawin
Consultant Occupational Safety and Environmental Health
University of Abomey Calavi, Republic of Benin

Dr Hervé Lawin is an occupational and environmental physician at the Ecohealth Chair on Air Pollution and Non Communicable Respiratory Diseases (NCD-R) of the University of Abomey Calavi in the Republic of Benin (West Africa). This Chair is implementing a programme that involves four west African countries on both indoor and outdoor air pollution under an International Development Research Center (IDRC, Canada) funding. Dr Lawin was also a MECOR graduate and has joined the PATS MECOR faculty three years ago. His PhD study is on the effect of occupational exposure to air pollution in commercial motorcyclists. He conducted the Burden of Lung Diseases (BOLD) study in Benin. His research interest is on air pollution, Asthma and COPD in both workers and the general population. He is also interested in air pollution biomarker validation and in translational research to reduce burden of NCD-R in Africa.

Benoit Nemery

Benoit Nemery, MD, PhD
Consultant Occupational Safety and Environmental Health
Department of Public Health and Primary Care Centre for Environment and Health, KU Leuven, Belgium

Ben Nemery is holder of degrees in medicine, occupational medicine and toxicology. He has been affiliated with the Medical Faculty of the KU Leuven since 1987. He founded the research unit of Lung Toxicology, a joint venture between the departments of Pneumology and of Occupational, Environmental and Insurance Medicine. His research involves experimental as well as clinical-epidemiological studies in the mechanisms of lung disease caused by occupational and environmental pollutants. Recently he has concentrated on occupational and environmental health in the South, especially Africa. He is co-author of over 300 publications in international biomedical journals and has contributions in more than 40 books. He is a member of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium and various other national and international scientific bodies, including the European Respiratory Society, where he held leadership positions. He became an Emeritus Professor on 1 October 2018, but has continued his teaching, clinical and research activities.

Bibie Said

Dr Bibie Said
Medical Doctor, Physician
Kibong’oto Infectious Disease Hospital, Kilimanjaro Tanzania

Bibie Said is a medical doctor working in a specialised hospital for Tuberculosis and Non-Communicable Lung diseases. She works as a physician in a study that characterises the spirometry and environmental exposure in a post-Tuberculosis cohort. Attending multi drug and susceptible tuberculosis patients with international standards as well as participating on ongoing clinical trials and research happening at the institute. Bibie has a special interest in non-communicable lung diseases and lung health across Africa through research and advocacy.

James Samwel Ngocho

Dr James Samwel Ngocho
Medical Doctor, Physician
Kilimanjaro Clincal Research Institute (KCRI), Tanzania

James is an Assistant Lecturer at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College in the department of Epidemiology and Applied Biostatistics. He has training in medicine and clinical research with interest in respiratory infectious diseases. He is currently looking at the aetiology of pneumonia among children in a low resource setting. Their research is examining the implementation of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in the prevention of pneumonia in children.

 

Professor Blandina Mmbaga
Director of Kilimanjaro Clinical Research Institute
Kilimanjaro Clinical Research Institute (KCRI), Tanzania

 

Dr Ronald Mbwasi
Medical Doctor, Physician
Kilimanjaro Clinical Research Institute (KCRI), Tanzania