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Wolfson Institute of Population Health

Professor Seif Shaheen, MB BS MA MRCP MSc PhD FFPH


Professor of Respiratory Epidemiology

Telephone: 020 7882 2480


I read medical sciences at St John’s College, Cambridge and qualified in medicine at Guy’s Hospital London in 1984. After training in general medicine I joined the MRC Environmental Epidemiology Unit in Southampton and was awarded a Wellcome Trust Training Fellowship in Clinical Epidemiology in 1990. I completed an MSc in Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and a PhD under the guidance of David Barker FRS, who nurtured my interest in the early life origins of respiratory disease.  After undertaking research in West Africa, I joined Peter Burney’s group as a Lecturer in 1995, before becoming Senior Lecturer and Asthma UK Senior Research Fellow. In 2010 I moved from the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, to take up my current appointment at Queen Mary. I am no longer clinically active.

I am currently affiliated as Professor of Respiratory Epidemiology to the Centre for Prevention, Detection and Diagnosis in the Wolfson Institute of Population Health. I have expertise in respiratory, genetic and nutritional epidemiology. In addition to undergraduate teaching and mentoring I contribute to the Epidemiology and Statistics module of the MSc/BSc in Global Health.

Research Group Members: Dr Mohammad Talaei (postdoc).

Public Engagement activities include a stop motion animation about famous epidemiologists.



Research Interests:

My programme of collaborative, aetiological research aims to increase 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 is to identify modifiable risk factors to inform preventive intervention strategies to improve lung health.

My current programme of research includes:

  • 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. (Funding: Barts Charity).
  • Follow-up of early life nutritional supplementation trials to measure respiratory outcomes.
  • Investigating risk factors for COVID-19 in the COVIDENCE UK cohort (Funding: Barts Charity).

I welcome enquiries from potential PhD students (self-funded) and postdoctoral researchers.





PhD supervisor to:

Hayley Holt. Funding: Barts Charity. Project title: Longitudinal population-based observational study of coronavirus disease in the UK population.

Giulia Vivaldi. Funding: COVIDENCE funding consortium. Project title: The future of COVID-19: an assessment of the lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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