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UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health

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Prof Janet Stocks

Prof Janet Stocks

Emeritus Professor

UCL GOS Institute of Child Health

Faculty of Pop Health Sciences

Joined UCL
1st Jan 2015

Research summary

My research has focused primarily on lung growth and development and the impact of respiratory disease and early life exposures on such development.   I have played a major role in international initiatives to develop and validate suitable methods for assessing lung development in infants and young children, and appropriate interpretation of these results across all age groups to ensure that the effects of disease or treatment can be distinguished from changes due to normal growth and development. Significant research landmarks include:

a) Development and validation of a wide range of lung function tests for use in sleeping infants  from birth to 2 years of age

b) Application of these tests  in a wide range of clinical and epidemiological studies to elucidate factors influencing early lung development and the early origins of lung disease, such as maternal smoking during pregnancy, intra-uterine growth retardation and prematurity

c) Adaptation of lung function tests for preschool children, an age-group previously felt to be ‘un-testable’ 

d) Elucidation of the nature and magnitude of changes in lung function that occur in children born extremely preterm, as part of the EPICure study (www.epicure.ac.uk)

e) Establishment of the highly successful London Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Collaborative (LCFC) network in 1997, the most recent studies showing that while ~ 1/3 of infants with CF diagnosed by newborn screening (NBS) have functional lung abnormalities by 12 weeks of age, these improve or stabilise during the first year of life in many NBS infants. The original LCFC cohort of clinically diagnosed infants, recruited 1998-2000 is currently being followed up through adolescence, while the second LCFC cohort of NBS infants, recruited 2008-2010 is undergoing follow up at 3-5 years

f) Derivation of multi-ethnic ‘all-age’ growth charts for spirometry, which has revolutionised the way in which changes in lung function can be interpreted worldwide and across the entire life span (www.lungfunction.org)

g) Investigation of the extent to which differences in body physique (i.e size, proportions and composition) contribute to ethnic differences in lung function. This is being conducted as part of the Wellcome Trust funded ‘Size and Lung function In Children (SLIC) study (2010-2015) (www.ucl.ac.uk/slic).

Teaching summary

I have now retired but was regularly invited to lecture at national and international meetings. Throughout my career, I organised and contributed to numerous international postgraduate courses on developmental respiratory physiology and the assessment and application of pulmonary function testing in infants and young children throughout Europe, USA, Australia and Asia. I was responsible for organising and directing an international training course on lung function testing in early life, as an integral part of the  European Training Syllabus in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine, and edited the first text book on Infant Lung Function Testing.  A comprehensive manual of infant lung function of testing using commercial equipment that is currently available has been published recently.

ACADEMIC SUPERVISION:  Over the past 20 years I have supervised 23 higher degree students, many of whom now hold senior positions world-wide. Additional research training has been provided for numerous international clinical research fellows, for whom collaborative grants or scholarships have been awarded to work under my supervision. Teaching Activities within UCL include lecturing on various courses organised by both academic and clinical departments (Physiotherapy, ECMO, PICU, anaesthetic) holding of regular journal clubs and contributing to a Pan London course on Paediatric lung disease (Lung in Childhood - monthly seminars at ICH) and monthly respiratory physiology tutorials

Publications