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Institute of Population Health Sciences (IPHS)

Translational Research

The Translational Research Unit is a cross-Centre grouping addressing pressing questions in respiratory health, infectious disease and long term conditions.


The TRU is led by Prof Chris Griffiths and Professor Adrian Martineau and consists of seven groups:


  • Infection and Immunity, led by Professor Adrian Martineau
  • Screening for infectious disease, led by Professor Adrian Martineau
  • Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research, led by Professor Griffiths
  • Domestic violence and abuse, led by Professor Chris Griffiths
  • Population Health and Genetics, led by Dr Sarah Finer
  • Developmental origins of adult disease, led by Professor Seif Shaheen
  • Air pollution and health, led by Professor Chris Griffiths
    • Screening for infectious disease, led by Professor Chris Griffiths
    • Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research, led by Professor Griffiths
    • Population Health and Genetics, led by Dr Sarah Finer
    • Developmental origins of adult disease , led by Professor Seif Shaheen
    • Air pollution and health, led by Professor Chris Griffiths
    • Domestic violence and abuse, led by Professor Chris Griffiths



The Infection and Immunity group conducts research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of respiratory infections including tuberculosis and acute respiratory infections. There is a strong translational focus to this research programme, which encompasses laboratory investigations (in collaboration with the Centre for Immunobiology, Blizard Institute [may want to add hyperlink]), observational epidemiology, clinical trials and meta-analysis. Our research takes place in the UK and internationally, with major studies on-going in Ethiopia, South Africa, Uganda, Mongolia and Pakistan. Support comes from the Medical Research Council, the National Institute of Health Research, the Wellcome Trust and the National Institutes of Health.


Key publications:


On-going studies

Infectious diseases - old and new - continue to threaten population health. Early identification and rapid engagement in care are critical to management and eradication. We test the effectiveness of screening and management systems.

In a series of large pragmatic cluster randomised trials and mixed methods designs, we show that screening in primary care – separately for each of TB, HIV (RHIVA), and HBV and HCV (HepFREE) - is feasible, acceptable and effective. Furthermore, screening is cost-effective and sustainable when implemented in real world settings.

Screening simultaneously for multiple infections in at-risk populations may increase effectiveness and impact. With colleagues in Leicester, we are testing multiple screening in recent migrants.


Key publications:








AUKCAR is a world-class grouping of 15 of the UK’s best asthma research groups. AUKCAR is jointly led by co-Directors Chris Griffiths and Aziz Sheikh (Usher Institute, Edinburgh University). The Centre is now in its second 5 years of funding from Asthma UK.


Our vision is: ‘zero tolerance for asthma attacks’. AUKCAR works closely with the MRC Asthma UK Centre in Allergic Mechanisms in Asthma in a unique translational partnership spanning basic science, to large scale community evaluation, to public health policy and health system change.


We lead the AUKCAR 21st Century Clinical Trials Methodology Group.

Key projects include: CHILL, IMP2ART, REAL HEALTH, and ARRISA.


Key publications:              

Domestic violence is a significant public health problem that requires a broad and integrated response across the wider health care system, including third sector organisations. Total health and societal costs are estimated by NSPCC to be £16bn.

We test interventions to improve the healthcare response to DVA. Identification and Referral to Improve Safety (IRIS) is an intervention programme, developed and tested using MRC Framework for Complex Interventions, to improve the primary care response to domestic violence. In a cluster randomised controlled trial within primary care practices in London and Bristol during 2008-2010, we showed that IRIS cost-effectively improved identification and referral.

In collaborative work with colleagues in NIHR CLAHRC West, within the NIHR CLAHRC North Thames programme we have shown:

  1. In a MRC Phase IV implementation study using interrupted time series design across 200 east London general practices, that IRIS is effective and sustainable when implemented across multiple boroughs in routine real-world care.
  2. That IRIS referrals fall when funding cuts interrupt service provision, for example, when the IRIS Advocate Educator is withdrawn.
  3. That IRIS can be adapted to work within a sexual health clinic.

With colleagues in NIHR ARC West and NIHR ARC Wessex we are exploring ways to support children exposed to DVA.

Key publications:

Seif’s programme of collaborative research aims to increase our understanding of how genes, lifestyle and environment act across the life course to cause asthma, impaired lung function and COPD, with a particular focus on the developmental origins of these disorders. The ultimate aim of his aetiological research is to identify causes which are amenable to intervention, so that preventive strategies can be devised to improve lung health.

There are three strands to Seif’s current programme of research into the developmental origins of respiratory health and disease:

  • Investigating the relation between childhood diet and respiratory outcomes in the ALSPAC birth cohort. (Funding: Rosetrees Trust and the Bloom Foundation)
  • Exploring the relation between lung development genes and comorbidities in UK Biobank
  • Follow-up of early life nutritional supplementation trials to measure respiratory outcomes.

Seif welcomes enquiries from potential postdocs.

Air pollution is the largest environmental threat to global health. We test the impact of interventions to improve air quality on health.

In the EXHALE programme, within the MRC Asthma UK Centre in Allergic Mechanisms in Asthma, and with colleagues at King’s College London , we showed London’s original Low Emission Zone, implemented between 2008 and 2012 led to small improvements in air quality. In London Primary School children, we found no improvements in respiratory health, and a significant inverse relationship between air quality and lung capacity.

With colleagues at Erasmus University, Netherlands, the Usher Institute, Edinburgh, and Kings College, London, we are examining the impact of the LEZ on birth outcomes across London.

In the CHILL study we examine whether London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone can prevent impaired lung growth in children.

The DEMIST study, led by Kings College London, examines air pollution exposures and mitigation strategies in occupational drivers.


Key publications:

Contact us

Translational Research Unit

Centre for Primary Care and Mental Health
Institute of Population Health Sciences
Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry
Yvonne Carter Building
58 Turner Street
London E1 2AB