How air pollution affects our respiratory system and Quality Improvement reporting in health care services could be improved

At the University's final Doctoral Inaugural lectures for this academic year, two research graduates from the College of Life Sciences will be discussing their research on issues pertaining to public health on Thursday 14 June.

Dr Shane Hussey, of the Department of Genetics and Genome Biology, is one of the researchers behind the ground-breaking interdisciplinary study into how air pollution affects our health- more specifically, the bacteria living in our respiratory tracts. During the lecture, Shane will be sharing his research for the project.

The University of Leicester study provided the first evidence to show that bacteria are directly affected by Particulate Matter (PM). Also known as particle pollution, PM is a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets that get into the air.

Shane’s research, part of which was published in the journal Environmental Microbiology in 2017, found that black carbon, a major component of PM, altered biofilms, or the bacterial communities which form on surfaces, changing the way these biofilms formed, their structures, the composition of the matrix surrounding the bacteria, and their functioning.

Shane said: "I feel very lucky to have been involved in such an important project which is helping us understand the seriousness of how air pollution affects our health."

Joining Shane will be Dr Emma Jones, who did her PhD in Health Sciences at the University, and is currently a Clinical Lecturer at the University of Warwick. Emma’s research systematically examined poor reporting of Quality Improvement (QI) research. QI involves analysing how care is delivered and then making changes which lead to better system performance and better quality and safety for patients.

QI interventions are an important way of reducing the incidence of adverse events and improving overall system functioning in surgery.

Emma’s research was the first to systematically examine the completeness of QI reporting in the surgical literature and to ask why reporting QI in the surgical literature is so hard.

Emma said: “My PhD focused on the problem that when QI research in surgery is published, it is often written up so poorly that people in other hospitals can’t understand what they need to do to repeat any success.

“I have dedicated my career to making lasting improvements in quality and safety for surgical patients. By drawing more attention to the problems of reporting and understanding how to raise the standard of reporting, more patients could benefit from surgical QI research.”

Professor Dave Lambert, Doctoral College Director, added: “These talks are a clear demonstration of the immense value of doctoral research – here are two researchers, who have undertaken ground-breaking studies with important health relevant implications.”

Commencing at 5pm, the lectures will be held in the George Davies Centre, Lecture Theatre 2, with a reception following the event.

All University staff, students and members of the public are invited to attend the Doctoral Inaugural Lectures. Entry is free, but seats must be booked in advance.