University of Worcester
Prof. Roy Kennedy
Phone: +44 (0) 1905855255
Dr. Matthew Smith
Senior Research Assistant
Phone: +44 (0)1905 855169
Fax: +44 (0)1905 855234
The National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit (NPARU) is one of a number of research centres at the University of Worcester which has regional, national and international repute. The NPARU conducts research and consultancy on aerobiology (large organic particles in the air), both for the outdoor and indoor environments. For the outdoor environments, the work focuses' on the abundance and dispersal of pollen. It covers a wide range of aspects including distribution patterns in allergenic pollen, pollen monitoring, hay fever and asthma, testing filters and forensics. For the indoor environment the unit's work includes research on the reduction of house dust mite allergen, cat allergen and fungi and considers interactions with pollutants in the context of indoor air quality.
The unit has links with many other institutions as collaborators, both in the UK and overseas. Current research topics include analysis of cardio-vascular diseases and the changing spectrum of small airborne particles over the last three decades in South Wales, reduction of house dust mite by cleaning techniques, relationships between Asthma, COPD and weather variables, and trends in pollen seasons in relation to environmental changes across Europe.
The unit co-ordinates the National Pollen Network in Britain, a system of 20 pollen monitoring sites. The results are collated into a data bank and used by the unit to provide national forecasts for the media including TV, radio, web sites and newspapers. The NPARU has developed links with Industry through consultancy and sponsored research and has strong links with the Health Care and Pharmaceutical industries. Current research in the unit covers a wide range of topics. Projects include the development of prediction models for pollen forecasting both on short time and long time scales, analysis of pollen seasons over Europe in relation to recent fluctuations in climates and examination of the relationships between the severity of asthma, indoor mould and deprivation. Most of the research is sponsored through industry or through links with other organisations such as NHS Hospital trusts.
Previous research papers have included relationships between asthma episodes and thunderstorms with many collaborators including the Meteorological Office, St George's Hospital London, and the National Heart and Lung Institute, the roles of ozone concentrations and aeroallergens and asthma attacks (with St George's Hospital, London) and trends in pollen seasons in relation to climatic changes (with MAARA, and St Mary's Hospital, Paddington) and the establishment of Aerobiology Internet sites (with colleagues in Europe including the FISBAT Institute Bologna, Italy and the University of Cordoba, Spain.). Within the unit current projects include the influences of pollutants on pollen morphology and the origins of small particles bearing plant allergens.