Prestigious Japanese documentary features Leicester researchers

‘NHK Special’ will focus on developments in genomics, visiting the University’s Genetic Epidemiology group.

Japanese broadcaster NHK will feature the University of Leicester in a documentary show ‘NHK Special’, which will focus on developments in genomics. The documentary will air on Sunday 5 May, with the show attracting audiences in Japan in excess of 10 million people.

A film crew from Tokyo visited the UK, Iceland and the US to film the documentary, with the University of Leicester being the only UK location chosen for filming.

The documentary covers the research of Leicester’s Genetic Epidemiology group at the interface of smoking, genetic risk and lung disease, as reported in a 2017 paper in Nature Genetics. The work discovered genetic differences that put some people at higher risk than others of developing chronic lung disease.

The group was also able to provide new findings from work which was then in press, published subsequently in Nature Genetics in March 2019.

Filming took place at both the main Leicester campus and at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Leicester Biomedical Research Centre’s respiratory theme, based at Glenfield Hospital.

Commenting on the work of the group, Professor Martin Tobin, Chair of the Leicester Precision Medicine Institute and a featured researcher in the documentary, said: “We are closer to understanding the genetic causes of this condition in people who have never smoked. People who smoke also appear to have a similar pattern of genetic risk factors, alongside the added risk of tobacco smoking. Our findings can help in developing new treatments that will benefit both groups.”