UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health


Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health

Prof Eleanor Main

Prof Eleanor Main

Professor of Physiotherapy

Infection, Immunity & Inflammation Dept

UCL GOS Institute of Child Health

Joined UCL
1st Apr 2002

Research summary

Eleanor Main’s primary research interests at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health relate to clinical efficacy studies in physiotherapy.  Recent or ongoing areas of research engagement are detailed below. This research has resulted in substantive advances in the principles of assessment and management of children who require physiotherapy and has attracted over £3,2 million in project grant funding and resulted in over 100 peer reviewed publications.  Professor Main is regularly invited to present this research at international conferences, as well contribute to national and international advisory boards, international scientific committees, task forces and expert panels.  This research has also been instrumental in forwarding the research-led teaching on the UCL MSc, Diploma and Certificate in physiotherapy.   Eleanor is currently supervising 6 PhD students and has successfully supervised 4 PhD students and over 100 MSc project dissertations to completion.  

  1. 2017:  Project Fizzyo: Remote monitoring and gaming technology for improving physiotherapy adherence, prescription and prediction of clinical outcomes in children with cystic fibrosis (funded: Rosetrees Foundation).
  2. 2016: Physical Activity, Exercise, Sport and Recreation Promotion for Adolescents with CF (funded: CF Trust).
  3. 2014: Development of an intervention to increase physiotherapy adherence among young children with cystic fibrosis: A Medical Research Council complex intervention framework development and feasibility study (funded: CSO, Scotland) 
  4. 2012: A randomised controlled trial investigating the clinical and economic benefits of a new model of care for children with cystic fibrosis  (funded: GOSH Children's Charity) 
  5. 2010: Measuring normal and impaired walking in children using the GAITRite walkway. (funded: GOSH Children's Charity) 
  6. 2008: The longitudinal monitoring of lung structure and function in children with cystic fibrosis (funded: GOSH Children's Charity). 
  7. 2006: Safety and efficacy of emergency on-call respiratory physiotherapy services in the paediatric intensive care unit (funded: CSP Physiotherapy Research Foundation).

Teaching summary

Eleanor has been Programme Director for the Postgraduate Certificate, Diploma and MSc in  Physiotherapy at UCL since 2005. This is one of the largest and most successful postgraduatephysiotherapy programmes in the world, with over 80 postgraduate physiotherapystudents enrolled for the 2021/2022 academic year, and more than 100 additional Short course or Taster participants. There are currently 4 academic pathways for students (Cardiorespiratory, Paediatric, Neurophysiotherapy and Musculoskeletal), with 6 potential exit routes and a choice of over 28 modules within the programmes, with both clinical and non-clinical routes.  

In 2016 Eleanor was co-editor for the 5th Edition of a core international cardiorespiratory textbook for physiotherapists: Cardiorespiratory Physiotherapy: Adults and Paediatrics, published in 2016. This textbook has been translated into many languages and is widely distributed across Europe, Australia, Asia and the Middle East, Africa and North America.


University College London
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2001
King's College London
Other higher degree, Master of Science | 1996
University of South Africa, Pretoria
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts | 1991
University of the Witwatersrand
First Degree, Bachelor of Science (Honours) | 1988


Professor Eleanor Main has worked at Great Ormond Street Hospital and UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health for 29 years, in clinical physiotherapy, postgraduate education and research.

She qualified in South Africa (BSc Physiotherapy: University of the Witwatersrand, 1988), then completed a BA (English & Psychology, University of South Africa (UNISA) 1991), an MSc in research methods (Kings College London, 1995) and a PhD in paediatric respiratory physiology (UCL, 2001).

Her clinical background is primarily in paediatric respiratory care and neurophysiotherapy, predominantly undertaken at Red Cross Children's Hospital in Cape Town and Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital in London. She was appointed as Lecturer in Physiotherapy Research at UCL in 2001, Senior Lecturer in 2007 and Professor of Physiotherapy in 2015.  In 2011 she was awarded a Fellowship of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy for her ‘significant contribution to education, teaching and learning in cardiorespiratory and paediatric physiotherapy’.

She has been Programme Director for Postgraduate Physiotherapy at UCL since 2005 and has supervised 10 PhD students and over 100 MSc project dissertations to date. Eleanor’s primary research interests relate to outcome measures and clinical efficacy studies in physiotherapy. These have resulted in more than 130 peer-reviewed publications, and attracted over £3.2 million in grant funding, with substantive advances in the principles of assessment and management of children who require physiotherapy.