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Prof Graham Roberts


NIHR BRC Theme Co-lead for Respiratory and Allergy
Professor and Honorary Consultant Paediatrician

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Professor Roberts is Professor and Honorary Consultant Paediatrician in Paediatric Allergy and Respiratory at the University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton.

His research focusses on asthma and wheeze pathogenesis and prevention, what makes asthma severe and ways to improve the management of asthma, as well as food allergy pathogenesis and prevention.

Landmark publications:

Alviani C, Roberts G, Mitchell F, Martin J, Zolkipli Z, Michaelis LJ, Vijayanand P, Kurukulaaratchy R, Arshad SH. Primary prevention of asthma in high-risk children using HDM SLIT: Assessment at age 6 years. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2020; 145: 1711-3.

Roberts G, Fontanella S, Selby A, Howard R, Filippi S, Hedlin G, Nordlund B, Howarth P, Hashimoto S, Brinkman P, Fleming LJ, Murray C, Bush A, Frey U, Singer F, Schoos A-M, van Aalderen W, Djukanovic R, Chung KF, Sterk PJ, Custovic A on behalf of the U-BIOPRED Consortium. Connectivity patterns between multiple allergen specific IgE antibodies and their association with severe asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol, 2020; 146: 821-830.

Roberts G, Vazquez‐Ortiz M, Knibb R, Khaleva E, Alviani C, Angier E, Blumchen K, Comberiati P, Duca B, DunnGalvin A, Garriga‐Baraut T. EAACI Guidelines on the effective transition of adolescents and young adults with allergy and asthma. Allergy. 2020;75: 2734-52.

Du Toit G, Sayre PH*, Roberts G*, Sever ML, Lawson K, Bahnson HT, Brough HA, Santos AF, Harris KM, Radulovic S, Basting M, Turcanu V, Plaut M, Lack G, for the Immune Tolerance Network LEAP-On Study Team. Effect of Avoidance on Peanut Allergy after Early Peanut Consumption. N Engl J Med 2016; 374:1435-1443.

Du Toit G, Roberts G, Sayre PH, Bahnson HT, Radulovic S, Santos AF, Brough HA, Phippard D, Basting M, Feeney M, Turcanu V, Sever ML, Lorenzo MG, Plaut M, Lack G, for the LEAP Study Team. Randomized Trial of Peanut Consumption in Infants at Risk for Peanut Allergy. N Engl J Med 2015; 372: 803-813.

Khaleva E, Rattu A, Brightling C, et al. Development of Core Outcome Measures sets for paediatric and adult Severe Asthma (COMSA). The European Respiratory Journal. 2022 Oct:2200606. DOI: 10.1183/13993003.00606-2022. PMID: 36229046.

Major grants:

NIHR – BREATHE4T study (PB-PG-0817-20038) – principle investigator (2019-21 - £247,376)

European Union Innovative Medicine Initiative 2 - Taxonomy, Treatment, Targets and Remission (3TR) consortium - Identification of the Molecular Mechanisms of non-response to Treatments, Relapses and Remission in Autoimmune, Inflammatory, and Allergic Conditions (EU project 831434) - lead for Southampton - Alarcón Riquelme (PI) (01/10/19-30/09/26 - 80,000,000 euros).

National Institute of Health Research - EME - Treating severe paediatric asthma; an open label randomised controlled trial comparing mepolizumab and omalizumab (TREAT trial) (17/60/51) - co-investigator - Segal (PI) (01/12/2019-30/05/2024 - £1,955,077)

National Institute of Health Research – EME - A randomised controlled trial assessing Desensitisation to cow's milk, following partially or extensively hydrolysed formulae feeding REgimens, in children with Allergy to cow's Milk (DREAM) (EME 17/60/44) - co-investigator - Papadopoulos (PI) (01/12/2019-30/11/2023- £1,742,727)

National Institute of Health Research – EME - Oral bacterial lysate to prevent persistent wheeze in infants after severe bronchiolitis; a randomised placebo controlled trial (BLIPA; Bacterial Lysate in Preventing Asthma) (NIHR128778) - co-investigator - Grigg (PI) (01/01/2021 to: 30/06/2025- £ 2,990,196)

US NIH - Epigenome-wide association study of childhood asthma (5 R01 AI121426-03) – follow up of MAPS and ITEC cohorts at 6 years based in Southampton and Isle of Wight – co-investigator (2017-2022 - $2,451,887)

Food Standard Agency - Patterns and prevalence of adult food allergy (FS101174) – co-investigator (2018-21 - £1,800,000)

Wellcome Trust - Pulmonary epithelial barrier and immunological functions at birth and in early life - key determinants of the development of asthma? (108818/Z/15/B) – co-investigator (2016-2021 - £4,529,268)

National Institute of Health Research - RfPB High - Flow humidified oxygen as an early intervention in children with Acute Severe Asthma. A feasibility study (HiFlo ASA) (PB-PG-1217-20024) - co-investigator - Seddon (PI) (01/12/2019-30/05/2021 - £233,673)

NIH - LEAP Trio study (FY16ITN185/MAAWAUR) - St Thomas’s - co-investigator follow up to the LEAP study (2016-21 - $4,314,220).

EAT-On study – St Thomas’s - co-investigator with Gideon Lack and George DuToit on a follow up to the EAT study funded by Action Medical Research (2018-21, £200,000).

Impact example: 

The United Kingdom has an epidemic of peanut allergy. We used epidemiological and experimental data to derive a hypothesis that peanut allergy was associated with peanuts being excluded from the diet in early childhood preventing the development of tolerance. 

In the LEAP randomised controlled trial we demonstrated that peanut allergy can be almost completely prevented by introducing peanuts into the infant diet. This has led to early weaning advice being changed so that peanut is now recommended as part of weaning in infancy. We are not extending this work to see if we can prevent other allergies with a similar approach.

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