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Blizard Institute - Barts and The London

Professor Seif Shaheen, MA MRCP MSc PhD FFPH


Clinical Professor of Respiratory Epidemiology

Telephone: 020 7882 2480


Seif Shaheen is Clinical Professor of Respiratory Epidemiology in the Centre for Primary Care and Public Health, and is affiliated to the MRC and Asthma UK Centre in Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma ( and the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research (

He read medical sciences at St John’s College, Cambridge and qualified in medicine at Guy’s Hospital London. After training in general medicine he joined the MRC Environmental Epidemiology Unit in Southampton as a Wellcome Trust Training Fellow in Clinical Epidemiology. He completed an MSc at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a PhD under the guidance of David Barker FRS, which nurtured his interest in the early life origins of respiratory disease.  After a period of research in West Africa he joined Peter Burney’s group, most recently at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, where he was an Asthma UK Senior Research Fellow.

Other Responsibilities:

Associate Editor, Thorax

Chair elect of European Respiratory Society Group 06.04 (Genes and environment)

Public Engagement Activities:



Seif’s programme of collaborative epidemiological research is focused on understanding how environmental exposures such as diet and analgesic use, across the life course, influence the development and severity of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). He is particularly interested in the role of the prenatal environment and has expertise in genetic and nutritional epidemiology. The broad aim of his aetiological research is, through observational epidemiology and randomised controlled trials, to identify causes of asthma and COPD which are amenable to intervention, in order to devise strategies for primary and secondary prevention.

In 2000 Seif discovered a link between frequent paracetamol use and asthma in adults and subsequently a relation with prenatal exposure; these associations have since been confirmed in many epidemiological studies, and his research into this link continues. In his study of the early life determinants of childhood asthma and atopy, Seif has been using various methodological approaches to try to strengthen causal inference, including exploring gene-environment interactions; using Mendelian randomisation, negative parental controls and sibling control analysis; and following up prenatal nutrient supplementation trial cohorts. 

Seif welcomes enquiries from prospective PhD students and postdocs interested in training in respiratory epidemiology, especially if interested in life course influences on respiratory health. European funding opportunities for postdocs include:



Undergraduate: PBL tutor; OSCE examining

Postgraduate: Epidemiology and statistics module (MSc and BSc programmes)

Topics for PhD students and postdocs (enquires welcome): Environmental and genetic influences across the life course on asthma and COPD with a focus on:

  • Diet and nutrition
  • Analgesic use

For more information on specific potential projects:


Research Interests:

Current research projects:
  • Investigating the influence of maternal diet in pregnancy on childhood respiratory and atopic outcomes (funded by ERS Long-term Fellowship for Dr Annabelle Bedard)
  • Understanding the link between analgesic use across the life course and asthma


Peer Reviewed Papers 

Chapters and Commentaries In Books


View all Seif Shaheen's Research Publications at: