UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health


Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health

Prof Rosalind Smyth

Prof Rosalind Smyth

Professor of Child Health and Director of the Institute of Child Health

Infection, Immunity & Inflammation Dept

UCL GOS Institute of Child Health

Joined UCL
1st Oct 2012

Research summary

Throughout my career, my passion has been to make a difference to the health of children.

1. Cystic Fibrosis (CF): I was appointed as CF research fellow in Cambridge in 1988, as part of a programme to investigate heart-lung transplantation as a therapy for CF. In Liverpool, in 1994, I was the first person to report a cluster of children with CF, who required surgery for colonic strictures(Lancet 1994;343:85-86), prompting a flurry of similar reports worldwide. I hypothesised that this devastating complication of colonic strictures were related to new pancreatic enzyme supplement and led to an epidemiological study, which confirmed the hypothesis( Lancet 1995;346:1247-51). Consequently this is no longer reported in the UK. I was the clinical lead in a study which provided, for the first time, molecular evidence of transmission of a highly resistant strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in a CF centre (Lancet 1996;346:639-642). From 1995-2008, I established, and was coordinating editor of, the Cochrane Cystic Fibrosis and Genetic Disorders Group, responsible for the activities of 100-150 reviewers across the world. One of current PhD students is an MRC Population Health Scientist Fellow, investigating the impact of health inequalities on outcomes in CF.

2. Immunopathology of respiratory virus (RSV) infections: My interest in viral/host responses in the airways began in Cambridge as a research fellow, investigating CMV immunopathology in transplant recipients. When I moved to Liverpool in 1990 I established a group, investigating the immunopathology of RSV bronchiolitis, which has, for the first time, delineated which chemokine and cytokine responses in the lung are important and their development during illness (J Infect Dis2005;191:1225). Studies on neutrophils, in the blood and the airways have made important discoveries (Thorax 2009;64:798;J Infect Dis 2011; 204: 451-458). For example, the novel finding that interleukin-9 is found in large quantities in the lungs and is produced by neutrophils (Lancet2004;363:1031). My group has now extended these studies to investigate the role of airway epithelial cells and is studying these responses in primary epithelial cell cultures from infants and young children (Thorax 2012; 67:42-48). With the onset of HINI pandemic, in 2009,  I worked with colleagues to develop the Mechanisms of Severe Acute Influenza Consortium (MOSAIC), which recruited the largest cohort of children and adults worldwide, hospitalised with HINI. (Nature 2012;doi:10.1038/nature10921)

3. Medicines for Children: As Director of the NIHR Medicines for Children Research Network (MCRN) from 2005-12. I am committed to providing the scientific underpinning, for the network, in paediatric pharmacology in the UK. I have been Chair of Paediatric Expert Advisory Group (PMEAG) of the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM) since 2002 and the paediatric member of CHM since 2009. I led an NIHR-funded programme investigating adverse drug reactions in children. With colleagues in Pharmacology in Liverpool, I led the development of academic training in paediatric pharmacology.

Teaching summary

I have overall responsibility for the teaching delivered at ICH. In Liverpool I was closely involved with the development of the MB ChB curriculum. I was a member of the Curriculum Review Board (2000-2) and then its chair (2002-4). I had specific responsibility for Integrated Clinical Academic Training, which included managing the interface between undergraduate and postgraduate medical education and structuring the postgraduate academic training programme. National roles include:

Member of Academy Medical Sciences Clinical Academic Training Committee (2006-)

Member of NIHR Dean for Training's Advisory Panel, representing Academy of Medical Sciences (2010-)

External examining:

1. Examiner in Paediatrics for University of London Gold Medal Vivas (2002-6)

2. Examiner in Paediatrics for University of Hong Kong March 2005

3. Examiner in Paediatrics for National University of Ireland (Galway) 2007-9

4. Examiner in Masters of Paediatrics Parts II and III, for University of Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) 2009.


Rosalind Smyth is Director of the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, Honorary Consultant Respiratory Paediatrician at Great Ormond Street Hospital and Non-Executive Director of Great Ormond Street Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Her current research interest  include clinical studies of viral/host interactions in RSV bronchiolitis, clinical trials and systematic reviews of treatments for childhood respiratory disease. Smyth previously served as Professor of Paediatric Medicine at The University of Liverpool UK and held the position of Director of the UK Medicines for Children Research Network, which supports a variety of paediatric research with children across all of England.

Additionally, Smyth has been involved in drug regulation in an advisory capacity and has chaired the Paediatric Expert Advisory Group of the Commission on Human Medicines (2002-2013) and served as a member of CHM (2009-2013). She graduated in medicine from Clare College, Cambridge and University of London and trained in paediatrics in London, Cambridge and Liverpool.