Colt Research Day

The Foundation makes grants to students taking higher degrees in subjects related to occupational and environmental health through selected universities and colleges, and grants to students account for between one-quarter and one-third of the Foundation’s annual grants. The Foundation also supports the MSc in Human & Applied Physiology at King's College London.

Each year a Colt Research Day is held to which current students, and occasionally former students, are invited to give a presentation of their work and outline their plans for the future. This gives them the chance to meet the other students and some of the Trustees and present their work to a friendly and supportive audience, which will include a small number of invited guests with a particular interest in the world of occupational health research.

Colt Research Day in 2016 was held on Thursday 14th January at The Gordon Museum at the GKT Campus near London Bridge Station and presentations were heard from all the Colt Foundation current PhD students, one of the recently completed MSc students from King's College London, and two researchers who are engaged on Colt Foundation funded projects.

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday 24th January 2017, and if anyone would like further information or an invitation to attend, please contact Jackie Douglas at The Colt Foundation.

Workplace Health 2016: 13th and 14th October 2016

Workplace Health is an annual two-day seminar from The At Work Partnership in association with the journal Occupational Health [at Work], providing an in-depth clinical and management update on some of the major issues in occupational health today. It is an excellent forum for discussion on a wide range of occupational health concerns. The 2015 seminar included a Colt Foundation keynote lecture from Professor Mike Kelly on ‘Public Health at work – why should employers be bothered’, and a second Colt Foundation keynote lecture from Professor Neil Greenberg on ‘If mental health treatment works, why are common mental health problems so common?’

Workplace Health 2016 took place on 13th and 14th October 2016 and Colt Foundation keynote lectures were given by Professor Rob Briner from the University of Bath on ‘Employee Engagement: implications for OH’, and by Professor Jim Horne from Leicester University on ‘Sleep, Health and Work’.

Workplace Health 2017 will take place on 10th and 11th October 2017, details to be added.

PhD Fellowships 2017

PhD Fellowships are awarded annually. The advertisement for the 2017 PhD Fellowships was sent out, and posted on the website under 'Students', in July 2016 and the closing date for receipt of applications was 1st September 2016. Interviews took place on 17th November 2016.  One candidate was selected for a Fellowship, Ms Audrey Buelo from the University of Edinburgh, who plans to study ‘An exploratory analysis of NHS shift workers’ health behaviours’, starting in 2017.

Professor David Denison

The Trustees were sad to report the death of Professor David Denison in 2014. David was the founding Scientific Adviser to the Trustees, and his support and advice have been invaluable over many years. The Foundation held a meeting to celebrate his life and achievements at the Royal Society of Medicine in London on Monday 20th April 2015, attended by 130 of David’s family, friends and professional colleagues. 

Presentations on different aspects of David’s life and career were heard from:

  • Dame Margaret Turner Warwick - introduction
  • Dr Tom Smith – Aerospace research
  • Professor Michael Bagshaw – Aerospace safety
  • Professor Peter Robbins – Human physiology at altitude
  • Mark Glover – Human diving safety
  • Professor Bob Schroter and Julian Knowles QC – Scientific advance and legal implications of the Billie-Jo Jenkins case
  • Professor Jerry Kooyman – Marine mammal lung structure, mechanics, bends and ventilation
  • Professor Andy Bush + Mike Morgan – David’s years at the Brompton
  • Jerome O’Hea – David and the Colt Foundation
  • Alice Porter – David as I knew him
  • Sir Philip Otton – David as an expert
  • Marie Noelle Cavallaro – David - our father

Publication in Thorax January 2013

The Colt Foundation awarded a Fellowship to Dr Rebecca Ghosh to assist with some of the costs of her PhD, and is delighted that the main results of her PhD were published in Thorax in January 2013.
The details are as follows:

Asthma and occupation in the 1958 birth cohort

Authors: Ghosh, RE.123; Cullinan, P2; Fishwick, D4; Hoyle, J5; Warburton, CJ.6, Strachan, DP7;
Butland, BK7; Jarvis, D1;
Corresponding author: Ghosh, RE. , MRC-HPA Centre for Environment
and Health, Imperial College London, St. Mary’s Campus, London, W2 1PG. Tel: 0207 594 3305

  1. Respiratory Epidemiology and Public Health Group, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London and MRC-HPA Centre for Environment and Health, Imperial College, London
  2. Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, National Heart and Lung Institute, London, UK
  3. Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Imperial College, London, UK and MRC-HPA Centre for Environment and Health, Imperial College, London
  4. Centre for Workplace Health, Sheffield
  5. North Manchester General Hospital
  6. Aintree Chest Centre, University Hospital Aintree, Liverpool
  7. Division of Population Health Sciences and Education, St George's, University of London


Objective: To examine the association of adult onset asthma with lifetime exposure to occupations and occupational exposures.
Methods: We generated lifetime occupational histories for 9488 members of the British 1958 birth cohort up to age 42 years. Blind to asthma status, jobs were coded to the International Standard Classification of Occupations 1988 and an Asthma Specific Job Exposure Matrix (ASJEM). Associations of jobs and ASJEM exposures with adult onset asthma were assessed in logistic regression models adjusting for sex, smoking, social class at birth and childhood hayfever, with adjustment for multiple testing using the Simes procedure.


Of the 7406 cohort members with no asthma or wheezy bronchitis in childhood, 639 (9%) reported asthma by age 42 years. There was an increased risk of adult onset asthma in cleaning occupations and occupations with exposure to cleaning/disinfecting products (OR 1.67, 95%CI 1.26-2.22). Asthma was associated with occupations and exposures previously identified as risk for asthma (e.g.: farmers 4.26 95%CI 2.06-8.80: printing workers 3.04 95%CI 1.49-6.18: flour exposure 2.12 95%CI 1.17-3.85: enzyme exposure 2.32 95%CI 1.22-4.42) and in addition with potentially novel occupations ‘protective services workers’ (1.90 95%CI 1.05-3.43) and `doorkeepers, watchpersons’ (2.59 95%CI 1.37-4.87). Associations were not modified by sex, smoking or atopy and were significant after correction for multiple testing. Conclusions: Approximately 16% (95% CI 3.6%-27.0%) of adult onset asthma in this
nationally representative British birth cohort was associated with known asthmagenic occupational exposures, with the majority of this most likely due to high risk occupational agents.

This was reported in The Telegraph in January 2013.