The Division of Asthma, Allergy & Lung Biology has three main research aims:
- To elucidate the basic mechanisms that underlie the causes and effects of airway inflammation;
- To understand mechanisms of anti-inflammatory drug action;
- To find ways to improve hospital care for very ill patients, including those with respiratory failure.
Our research programmes range from basic science to clinical research and include studies that will elucidate the molecular and physiological mechanisms of inflammation; research to identify and test new therapeutic approaches to treating allergies, inflammation and cancer; and clinical trials to test new allergy prevention strategies.
We have a critical research mass within the Division that creates unique synergies and offers opportunities for researchers to work closely and productively while preserving scientific independence. The close interface between our clinical and lab-based research is one of the keys to our success. We share knowledge, equipment, reagents and human materials (such as biopsy material, cell lines and clones) to maximise the potential of our resources and help translate advances in our understanding of allergic and respiratory diseases into healthcare benefits for patients as rapidly as possible.
Our research strategy is to understand the molecular, immunological and physiological mechanisms of asthma, allergy and related respiratory diseases, including COPD and lung cancer; to identify new therapeutic targets; to test new treatment strategies and to find ways to improve hospital care for adults and children with severe lung diseases including respiratory failure.
Students each work on individual projects, within established teams of researchers, supervised by the principal investigator of the group and with laboratory supervision on a day-to-day basis. Students are expected to submit their thesis within four years of the start of their studies and to achieve this will need to work at least 09.00-17.00 on a daily basis.
Graduate research students work alongside basic science and clinical researchers of all levels and training backgrounds. Projects span basic and clinical science topics allied to respiratory diseases including asthma, rhinitis and chronic obstructive airways disease and are offered at Guy's Hospital, St Thomas' Hospital and Denmark Hill campuses. The division is also part of the MRC and Asthma UK Centre in Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma (in conjunction with Imperial College), so students can benefit from the synergy created by the collaboration in this area of science between two outstanding Colleges in London. The Centre is the only MRC Centre in asthma and allergy in the UK.
All students have two supervisors and a Higher Degree Co-ordinator. Registration is for MPhil initially and upgrade to PhD occurs at nine months following completion of an 8,000-word report, oral presentation and viva-voce. We run an active programme of external seminar speakers and technology-orientated weekly journal clubs to supplement the core training provided by PhD projects and the generic/transferable skills from the Graduate School. Students also regularly present their goals and findings to a broad interdepartmental audience at research-inprogress meetings as well as externally at national and international meetings.
Aside from generic laboratory and transferable skills tuition, we offer a multidisciplinary training (both theoretical and practical) in basic and clinical scientific disciplines (biology, biochemistry, chemistry, structural biology, bioinformatics and translational research) as applied to the specific clinical research fields of asthma and immunology.
Head of group/division
Professor Tariq Sethi
King's College London
Expected to be three years FT or up to six years PT. Registration normally October, although students may commence at any time.
Guy's Campus, St Thomas' Campus or Denmark Hill Campus, dependent upon where supervisor is based.
Eighty five per cent of AALB non-clinical PhD graduates continue in postdoctoral positions in the UK and overseas (eg Toronto Children's Hospital; Harvard; University of Sydney; Leiden University Medical Centre; Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory); others joined industry and one became a science teacher. Seventy five per cent of clinical postgraduate trainees have become NHS consultants in teaching hospitals with a research interest or continued in academic medicine (four are professors at universities overseas).
Year of entry 2013