Our media spokespeople and medical advisers

Our media spokespeople and medical advisers are senior clinicians who specialise in lung disease and respiratory care.

Dr Nicholas Hopkinson, our medical director

Nick is our medical director, reader in respiratory medicine at Imperial College and consultant physician at Royal Brompton Hospital.

He qualified in medicine at Cambridge and the London Hospital Medical College and went on to train in respiratory and general internal medicine at St George’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals. He is responsible for an advanced COPD clinical service, with research interests including lung volume reduction, pulmonary rehabilitation and tobacco control. He has published more than one hundred and eighty papers.

Specialist areas for interview

  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • smoking

Dr Noel Baxter

Noel is an NHS GP in south London. He is the local respiratory champion, providing peer support to GP and primary care nurse colleagues and working with specialist respiratory colleagues.

He is chair of the Primary Care Respiratory Society and a member of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence clinical guideline group for asthma management.

Specialist areas for interview
  • tobacco dependency
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • breathlessness

Professor James Chalmers

Professor James Chalmers

James is the British Lung Foundation Chair of Respiratory Research at the University of Dundee, Scotland and an honorary consultant physician at Ninewells Hospital.

His clinical and research interests are in difficult airways diseases and respiratory infections like bronchiectasis, COPD and pneumonia.

He chairs the European Bronchiectasis Registry and the Respiratory Infections Group of the European Respiratory Society. He also chaired the bronchiectasis taskforce that developed the European bronchiectasis guidelines in 2017. His research focuses on the development of new treatments for lung disease by targeting the microbiome and lung inflammation both in early stage translational research and in clinical trials.

Specialist areas for interview
  • bronchiectasis
  • lung infections and pneumonia
  • non-tuberculous Mycobacterial infections
  • clinical trials

Dr Francis Gilchrist

Francis is a senior lecturer at Keele University and a consultant respiratory paediatrician at Royal Stoke University Hospital.

He graduated with honours from the University of Manchester in 2002. He undertook his core paediatric training in the North West Deanery before moving to the West Midlands to complete his paediatric respiratory training at Royal Stoke University Hospital and Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

His PhD thesis was undertaken on use of breath analysis to detect Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infections in children with cystic fibrosis.

Specialist areas for interview
  • paediatric respiratory medicine
  • asthma
  • chronic lung infections in children
  • cystic fibrosis
  • paediatric flexible bronchoscopy

Professor Jonathan Grigg

Jonathan is professor of paediatric respiratory and environmental medicine at Queen Mary University of London.

He is the leading UK paediatrician in the effects of air pollution. His research has identified the mechanisms whereby inhalation of particles increases vulnerability to bacterial infection. These studies have informed the public on the risks of air pollution, and influenced national policy.

He was a lead author of the Royal College of Physicians’ report on the long-term effects of air pollution, and a founder member of Doctors against Diesel. He has also led major independent and industry trials of new and existing asthma therapies, mainly focused on preschool children.

Specialist areas for interview
  • air pollution – paediatrics

Professor Toby Maher

Toby is the British Lung Foundation Chair in Respiratory Research and National Institute for Health Research Clinician Scientist. He is Professor of Interstitial Lung Disease, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College and London Consultant Respiratory Physician, Royal Brompton Hospital.

He is also an honorary consultant physician at the Royal Brompton Hospital. He runs a specialist clinical service for interstitial lung disease and sarcoidosis, and oversees an active research programme.

His research interests include biomarker discovery, clinical trials in interstitial lung disease and the role of inflammatory cells and senescence in the pathogenesis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Specialist areas for interview
  • idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
  • sarcoidosis
  • interstitial lung disease

Dr Irem Patel

Irem is consultant integrated respiratory physician at Kings Health Partners and honorary senior lecturer at Kings College London.

She leads the multidisciplinary integrated respiratory team, working across two acute hospitals and the community, delivering chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, oxygen, pulmonary rehabilitation and supported discharge services in Lambeth and Southwark.

She is co-lead for the London Clinical Oxygen Network. Irem is committed to the principles of value and collaborative care, and to bringing specialist care closer to the patient.

Specialist areas for interview
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • pulmonary rehabilitation
  • oxygen
  • integrated care
  • treating tobacco dependence

Debbie Roots

Debbie leads the respiratory services, including a multidisciplinary integrated team, at Homerton University Hospital.​

She developed an interest in respiratory care in the late 1990s. She was a member of the London Respiratory Network before it was disbanded and co-chaired the London Clinical Oxygen Network. She sits on the conference committee for the Primary Care Respiratory Society and is the ILD lead for the Association of Respiratory Nurses. She is a Queen’s nurse.

Specialist areas for interview
  • respiratory nursing
  • inhaler technique
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • interstitial lung disease
  • asthma
  • oxygen
  • integrated teams
  • service development

Dr Richard E K Russell

Richard is a consultant at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust and is the clinical director of the West Hampshire Integrated Respiratory Service, looking after chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma for 2.5 million people.

He also is a senior clinical researcher at the University of Oxford and is active in COPD and asthma research. He completed a PhD during his time at the Royal Brompton Hospital. His research focused on the basic mechanisms of COPD and disease progression in a population of smokers in primary care.   

Specialist areas for interview:  

  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: pathology, basic science, treatment and organisation of care 
  • asthma: guidelines, inhaler devices, diagnosis and treatment

Professor Stephen Spiro

Stephen Spiro is a professor of respiratory medicine.

He was head of department at University College London Hospitals until retiring from the NHS in December 2008. He is an honorary consultant physician at University College London Hospitals and the Royal Brompton Hospital.

He helped form the London Lung Cancer Group, which has run clinical trials for more than 30 years. He has also undertaken research into respiratory physiology, sleep disordered breathing and screening in people with a high risk of lung cancer.

He still teaches undergraduates at University College London Hospitals, and is chair of Rennie Grove Hospice Care. Stephen is trustee and vice chair of the British Lung Foundation.

Specialist areas for interview
  • lung cancer
  • physiology of lungs

Scientific advisers

Professor Frank Kelly

Professor Frank Kelly holds the chair in Environmental Health at King's, where he is Director of the Environmental Research Group, Director of the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit on Environmental Hazards and Deputy Director of the MRC-PHE Centre for Environment & Health.

Professor Sir David King

Professor Sir David King is the Director of Research at the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge. He was the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Special Representative for Climate Change from 2013 to 2017. Before this, he was the Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment at the University of Oxford.