News archive 2001
King's tackles health risks of air pollution10 Sep 2001, PR 23/01
King’s College London has created a new Chair in Environmental Health that will focus current research activity in the areas of air pollution and its impact on public health, and form one of Europe’s leading centres for research in this field.
The Chair will lead the new Air Pollution and Health Research Group (APHRG) that will be housed in state-of-the-art facilities in the newly refurbished Franklin-Wilkins Building at King’s Waterloo campus. This Group will comprise three existing areas of expertise drawn from across the College: the Lung Biology Group, the ERG-Air Group (the UK’s largest operator of regional air monitoring networks), and the Environmental Science Research Group.
Despite the wealth of information regarding the impact of air pollution on lung function, less is known about the underlying mechanism of tissue injury. It is also unclear why some people are particularly susceptible to the effects of air pollution. The new Group will investigate the effects of air pollution on health, specifically:
· Why 10%-15% of the population are particularly sensitive to air pollution and is the basis of this sensitivity genetic or nutritional. · Why ultra-fine particles in the air are particularly toxic. · Whether particles from different locations are equally toxic, or whether there are there some areas where particles are more dangerous. · How susceptible people can be helped to deal with air pollution.
Professor Frank J Kelly, an expert in the health impact of air pollution and current head of the Lung Biology Group, has been appointed to the Chair and will take up his new post in September 2001. Commenting on his appointment Professor Kelly said:
“The creation of this Chair offers an exciting opportunity to help forward our understanding of the health consequences of air pollution. Air pollution is largely invisible and therefore often ignored, yet its impact on public health is real, particularly for vulnerable sections of society such as infants and older people.”
Notes to Editors
Professor Frank J Kelly
Professor Kelly leads the Lung Biology Research Group at King’s where he combines his two main research interests: free radical biochemistry and diseases of the lung. He has published widely in these areas, including over 140 publications in peer-reviewed journals. Professor Kelly is Chairman of the British Association for Lung Research and President-elect of the European Society for Free Radical Research.
Lung Biology Group
This Group’s main area of research focuses on injuries to the lung caused by air pollution, and in particular how these differ in people with diseases such as asthma.
ERG-Air is the UK’s largest operator of regional air monitoring networks, collecting over 1 million data points every day. The Group uses the data to monitor current air quality in a given area and predict future levels of air pollution.
Environmental Science Research Group
Led by Dr Steven Smith in King’s renowned School of Health and Life Sciences, this Group has internationally recognised expertise in the chemical characterisation of particles in the air.
Notes to editors
King's College London
King's is one of the two oldest and largest colleges of the University of London with some 12,200 undergraduate students and over 4,500 postgraduates in ten schools of study. The College is among the country's top four higher education institutions for the number of highest-rated subject areas for research quality. It is in the top group of five universities for research earnings and has an annual turnover of £285 million and research income from grants and contracts in excess of £80 million (1999-2000).
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