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Prof Christopher O'Callaghan
UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health
Guilford Street
Prof Christopher O'Callaghan profile picture
  • Professor of Respiratory and Paediatric Medicine
  • Infection, Immunity & Inflammation Dept
  • UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
  • Faculty of Pop Health Sciences

Professor of Respiratory and Paediatric Medicine, Head of Respiratory, Critical Care and Anaesthesia section at the UCL Great Ormond Street Hospital Institute of Child Health. Fifty percent research and teaching and fifty percent clinical as a specialist in paediatric respiratory medicine.

  • Founder and joint CEO of the not for profit organisation 'World Medical Education'. www.worldmedicaleducation.org https://learning.worldmedicaleducation.org
  • Honorary Professor of Paediatrics, Beijing Children's Hospital & Capital Medical University and China's National Research for Respiratory Disease.  Visiting professor University of Hong Kong.
  • Advisor to the World Health Organisation on Multimedia Education: Maternal and Child Health and Deafness and Hearing Loss.
  • Translational Research & Enterprise BRC theme lead for the Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital BRC.
  • Council Member of the Global Paediatric Respiratory Alliance.

PFHEA            Principal Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy
PhD                  Doctor of Philosophy (Brain cilia) 
DM                   Doctorate of Medicine (Aerosol drug delivery) 
FRSB               Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology
FRCPCH         Fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
FRCP               Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians
BM, BS            Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (Nottingham University)
B.Med.Sci        Bachelor of Medical Sciences (Nottingham University)

Research Themes
Research Summary

Major interest is in basic science research and clinical research that translates directly into patient benefit. Founded the not for profit, 'World Medical Education', dedicated to the development and delivery of context specific video intense multimedia education to health workers worldwide. Head of the Respiratory, Critical Care & Anaestheisa section at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health.  Founded the UK national diagnostic service.

Currently leading projects on:
  • COVID-19 research: established a cat3 laboratory COVID-19 and research group with Drs Smith & Hands at ICH, evaluating the infection of ciliated epithelium with SAS-CoV-2 and drugs that may be used prophylactically to prevent infection. Also studying the aerosol spread of SARS-CoV-2 by children.
  • Development of a novel adherence system for asthma: holds the patent for this, that has been granted. The prototype has been developed and licensed by UCL.  The device is due to launch in 2021
  • Overcoming genetic nonsense mutations in Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD): this is in addition to ongoing research on the inflammatory effects of PCD in children and adults.
  • The earliest interactions of viruses, bacteria and pollutant particles with human ciliated epithelium: this research is uncovering new mechanisms related to initial interactions that trigger inflammation.
  • Providing video-based multimedia education and continuing education to health workers in resource poor countries in Africa and Asia

Research infrastructure
  • Runs two laboratories that are internationally recognised for research into ciliated epithelium and aerosol drug delivery. The UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health Laboratory focuses on infection of the ciliated respiratory epithelium and respiratory disease and the development of novel therapies to protect and restore epithelial function.
  • Developed novel methods that allow high content screening of novel therapies on ciliated epithelium grown from single biopsies from the respiratory tract of children and adults with both common and rare disease.  Established the 'Living Airway Biobank' of respiratory epithelium from children and adults with respiratory disease with Dr Smith.
  • Leads a diagnostic and research laboratory at the University of Leicester dedicated to diagnostic testing for Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia and research into diagnostic testing and therapeutic approaches to PCD.

Previous research:
  • Defined the movement of respiratory and brain cilia using high speed video microscopy and translated this into a diagnostic test that is used worldwide for Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia.
  • Discovered the effect of static charge on aerosol drug delivery.  This let to a patent being filed by Melbourne University  relating to static charge in spacer devices and how to negate this to improve asthma drug delivery.
  • Developed a small molecule with Prof Andrew, that blocks the pneumococcal toxin pneumolysin. This was funded by a Seeding Drug Discovery grant (£3.5m) from the Wellcome Trust.
  • Discovered a novel mechanism to reduce RSV replication in the ciliated respiratory epithelium. This led to a patent being filed by UCL.

Teaching Summary

Has a major interest in Global Education across paediatric and adult medicine.
  • Awarded the Principal Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy(PFHEA) in 2018 for international work focused on the production, delivery and assessment of multimedia education for health workers. 
  • Founder and joint CEO of the not for profit social enterprise, 'World Medical Education', www.worldmedicaleducation.org. World Medical Education is dedicated to video intense, context specific multimedia education of health workers worldwide with a particular focus on those working in the resource poor countries of Africa and South East Asia. The delivery platform can be seen at https://learning.worldmedicaleducation.org.
  •  Awarded the Imu-Ron Harden Innovation in Medical Education (IMU) prize in 2016.
  • Conference Prize for Innovation in Medical Education: Asia Pacific Medical Education Conference (2020) for the development of a system that provides video based continuing education for remotely working rural health workers in resource poor countries.
  • Developed a unique App/mobile phone/database system that will provide health workers in the remotest rural areas of the poorest countries access to video-based multimedia education, continuing video based education and assessment. The system works without Internet access.
  • Acts as an advisor to the World Health Organisation on video-based multimedia education: Maternal, Newborn & Child Health and Deafness and Hearing Loss.

Has published seventeen books/multimedia programs relating to medical education and respiratory disease including a recent project commissioned by the World Health Organisation to replace the traditional community health worker education across Africa on Malaria, Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (Caring for the Sick Child in the Community: a multimedia resource for Community Health Workers, WHO, UNICEF & World Medical Education. Williams C, Man R, O'Callaghan C: 2019: ISBN 978 92 4 154804: https://learning.worldmedicaleducation.org).

Aims of World Medical Eduction: www.worldmedicaleducation.org
  • To provide open access multimedia training to all health workers worldwide, whether they work in the remotest areas or in major hospitals.
  • To work with medical experts, health workers, patients, families and communities to ensure our educational programs are of the highest quality; and to research the clinical impact of programs developed.
  • To innovate and develop sustainable income streams to allow constant development and improvement of our educational programs through learner engagement, feedback and research.

About our group: Over the last 20 years the founders of World Medical Education have produced over 100 multimedia educational resources for health professionals and have been the recipients of awards for excellence in healthcare education on many occasions. Recent projects include: Ophthalmology, A Global Multimedia Guide, Clinical Skills in ENT, Minor Injuries in A&E and Clinical Examination for Students. We have brought this expertise together in a not-for-profit social enterprise to develop educational materials across the spectrum of medicine and surgery, providing a sustainable resource for health workers worldwide for generations to come.

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