UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health


Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health


Respiratory Medicine

Lead contact: Dr Paul Aurora (p.aurora@ucl.ac.uk)

pleth child wide

A child undergoing a lung function test to determine his lung volume when his muscles of respiration are relaxed.


Respiratory illness is the single most common cause of paediatric admission to NHS hospitals, accounting for 25% of neonatal deaths and 10% of all infant deaths.  One child in ten is affected by asthma, while cystic fibrosis (CF) is the most common lethal inherited condition in the United Kingdom.  

The paediatric respiratory service at GOSH encounters a large number of rare clinical conditions and research projects have been established to look in detail at the pathophysiology, clinical course, effective therapy and functional impairments in some of these conditions.  

In addition, our unit has an outstanding record for the development and validation of lung function tests for use in infants and young children, and the application of these measurements in epidemiological and clinical research studies, and the respiratory medicine service collaborates closely with this work. 

Finally, the hospital is home to many world class paediatric speciality services, and the respiratory unit collaborates closely with numerous research projects in other patient groups. In particular, collaborative research with the paediatric cardiothoracic transplant service is currently very active. Dr P Aurora is the academic lead for the department, but all senior staff are actively involved in the department's research programme.  


  • To increase the understanding of the pathophysiology of lung disease in children
  • To develop new therapeutic strategies for lung disease in children

Current and Recent Projects

  • Longitudinal monitoring of very young children diagnosed with CF, with the aim of developing new outcome measures for the detection of early lung disease, and then utilising these outcome measures in therapeutic trials. Much of this ground-breaking research is part of a London Cystic Fibrosis Collaboration (a pan-London initiative, which commenced in 1998 and co-ordinated through our unit and the the LCFC)
  • Longitudinal study of young children with asthma, and correlation of subtle physiological change with evidence of inflammation and structural change. The aim of this work is to develop a better understanding of the pathophysiology of early childhood asthma, with the aim of developing and refining new treatments. As with the CF work, this research is part of a developing multicentre collaboration, and co-ordinated through our unit.
  • Establishment of a national registry for children with rare 'Orphan' lung disease
  • A longitudinal study of the impact of viral infections following lung transplantation. This multicentre international study is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the US
  • A multicentre international study of the impact of paediatric lung transplantation on health related quality of life in CF. This study is also funded by the NIH.

Involvement in National and International Scientific and Professional Organisations 

Members of the department are active in a number of scientific and professional organisations, where they have responsibility for stimulating collaborative research, and developing agreed standards for both research and clinical practice. 

These organisations include the British Paediatric Respiratory Society (Dr C Wallis), the Association of Respiratory Technicians and Physiologists (Mrs E Fettes), the European Respiratory Society (Dr P Aurora), and The International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation (Dr P Aurora).