Clinical Academic Training

Epidemiology and Public Health - Public Health Medicine/Respiratory Medicine/Cardiology

Air pollution and public health

  • Anna Hansell
  • Jon Gulliver

The WHO estimates that air pollution kills 7 million people per year worldwide. Air pollution is implicated in development and severity of common diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD)[1, 2], with emerging evidence on diabetes and dementia[3]. This project will explore contributions of air pollution to comorbidity, e.g. are links with cognitive function in part mediated by air-pollution-associated cardiovascular disease?

This University is internationally-recognised in air pollution exposure assessment and epidemiology through its Centre for Environmental Health and Sustainability (CEHS) and a National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Health Protection Research Unit in Environmental Exposures and Health, with ‘big data’ expertise in our HDR-UK BREATHE hub.  The Genetic Epidemiology group at the University of Leicester has particular expertise in respiratory disease, multimorbidity, longitudinal cohorts and causal inference. Our combined teams have conducted some of the largest studies to date on air pollution, lung health and CVD and are integrating new air pollution data in UK Biobank as part of the national core studies.

The ACF would join a multidisciplinary team of environmental and genetic epidemiologists and exposure scientists to learn about observational epidemiology and conduct statistical analyses using ‘big data’ from UK Biobank. They would receive bespoke training in biostatics, healthcare data analysis, geographical information systems and environmental exposure assessment, with opportunities to develop policy implications linking with the HPRU. Our team have a strong track record in supervising ACFs and PhD students, leading to high impact publications.

  • Cai Y, Hodgson S, Blangiardo M, Gulliver J, Morley D, Fecht D, Vienneau D, de Hoogh K, Key T, Hveem K et al: Road traffic noise, air pollution and incident cardiovascular disease: A joint analysis of the HUNT, EPIC-Oxford and UK Biobank cohorts. Environ Int 2018, 114:191-201.
  • Doiron D, de Hoogh K, Probst-Hensch N, Fortier I, Cai Y, De Matteis S, Hansell AL: Air pollution, lung function and COPD: results from the population-based UK Biobank study. Eur Respir J 2019, 54(1):1802140.
  • Peters R, Ee N, Peters J, Booth A, Mudway I, Anstey KJ: Air Pollution and Dementia: A Systematic Review. J Alzheimers Dis 2019, 70(s1):S145-s163.

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