MRC Centre Fellows' Page


The MRC Centre is host to a range of talented fellows. Please see the below range of profiles to understand more about their background, and their specific part in the Centre profile. 


Fellow Name: Cai Samuel

Project title:

PEACE study: Personal Environment and Activity profiles to characterise Exacerbations in COPD patients from Beijing and Shenzhen, China

Description of project:

Dr Cai was trained in preventive medicine and was awarded a PhD in Environmental Epidemiology from Imperial College. He has a broad research interest in environmental epidemiology and respiratory health, in particular, the health effects of air pollution and noise, interplays of multiple environmental stressors and their modifiers on health, environmental lung diseases and exposure assessment approaches.

The Centre’s fellowship extends his air pollution research to China, where he is researching how personal exposure to air pollution impacts patients with chronic lung diseases in two Chinese megacities. In collaborations with the Chinese and UK research teams and Professor Frank Kelly’s Environmental Research Group at King’s College London, the project will follow 60 patients for three one-month periods across three seasons, collecting an extensive range of data including physical and biological measurements as well as near real-time high-resolution personal air pollution data using state-of-art air pollution sensor technology.  



Fellow Name: Pippa Douglas

Project title: “Biological air pollution (bioaerosol) from anthropogenic sources and associations with respiratory disease in nearby individuals”

Description of project:

Biological air pollution (bioaerosol) is emitted in elevated concentrations from anthropogenic sources such as composting facilities, which, in response to more sustainable waste management methods, have almost trebled in number over the last 10 years.  Bioaerosol exposure may be detrimental to human health, but research in this area is limited. Pippa will investigate whether there is an association of bioaerosol exposure from anthropogenic sources with respiratory disease, and whether this could be related to increased indoor exposures in homes located close to sources. Her work will include characterisation of the emissions from composting facilities and their dispersion patterns. Prior to her fellowship, Pippa worked in the Small Area Health Statistics Unit where she gained extensive experience in environmental epidemiology, exposure assessment, and handling large routine health data. Pippa is now based at the National Heart and Lung Institute (NHLI), and mentored by Prof. Debbie Jarvis. (145 words)



Fellow Name: Dr Oliver Robinson 

Project title: “Molecular signatures of development and aging”

Description of project:

Dr Oliver Robinson rejoined Imperial College in 2016 after completing a post-doctoral position at the Barcelona Institute of Global Health where he was scientific coordinator of the European FP7 HELIX project ( He received his PhD in Biomedical Research in 2013 from Imperial College for his work investigating the combined role of plant contaminants and the pesticide DDT in an outbreak of severe liver disease in rural Ethiopia. His research interests lie in the field of molecular and environmental epidemiology and environmental justice. He is interested in investigating the joint effects of multiple factors using multi-disciplinary and ‘omic’ approaches and is involved in two collaborative European projects EXPOsOMICS ( and LIFEPATH ( His fellowship research is entitled “Molecular signatures of development and aging”. His project examines the impact of environmental and social factors on molecular markers of child developmental outcomes and biological aging rate in adults.



Fellow Name: Dr Jessica laine

Project title: “omic mediators of exposure to air pollution and cardiovascular disease (CVD)”

Description of project:

Jessica Laine’s project is Causal Inference in the Exposome. This research is within EXPOsOMICS and LIFEPATH, European and pan European (respectively) consortia. To better infer causality from environmental exposures, and mediators of exposures and diseases she aims to identify ‘omic mediators of exposure to air pollution and cardiovascular disease (CVD). In this work, she aims to extrapolate how altering levels of exposure to air pollution influence biological intermediates and subsequently risk for CVD. To identify causal mechanisms underlying prenatal exposure to air pollution she is applying cross-omic methods and assessing pathway level perturbations. Lastly, she is investigating urban determinants of health by characterising the urban exposome using a multilevel approach. This work will determine what level of exposure assessment can be used to identify disease risks, by assessing and comparing a nested population with air pollution measures at both a macro level from land use regression models and from personal exposure monitoring. Beyond her efforts in causality to reduce the environmental disease burden, she is passionate about effective science communication and outreach, and promoting women in science."