Our strategy and structure

The NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre aims to improve nutritional and respiratory health, generating the next generation of improved and individually personalised treatments.

Stategy: Concentrating and sharing our strengths 

Our strategy embodies the principle that working together is both effective (reduced cost and time to delivery) and provides intellectual synergies for the benefit of our patients and the public.

We are building on NIHR BRC and BRU programmes in nutrition and respiratory health stretching back to 2008. We have worked closely together since then to optimise the use of resources and create joint research opportunities.

In consolidating the integrated scientific excellence of these two entities, we have added multi-disciplinary expertise from across our hospital-university partnership. That expertise is concentrated in three areas already interwoven with nurition and respiratory research; Data, Microbial and Behavioural Sciences. 

Working with local, national and international collaborators, our integrated BRC, consisting of over 600 research staff, will use these resources to deliver clinical benefits, utilising the UHS/UoS joint facilities for experimental medicine.

Structure: 600 researchers, five themes

The centre of over 600 researchers draws together the patients, staff, trainees, facilities and equipment needed to study health, disease and new treatments.

It does so through two main research themes and three cross-cutting or common themes:

Main themes

  • Lifecourse Nutrition, Lifestyle and Health
  • Respiratory and Critical Care

Cross cutting themes

  • Data science
  • Microbial science
  • Behavioural sciences

Main themes: Nutrition and Respiratory health

The centre has two main, linked  themes: 1) Lifecourse Nutrition, Lifestyle and Health, and 2) Respiratory and Critical Care.

Lifecourse Nutrition, Lifestyle and Health

The Lifecourse Nutrition, Lifestyle and Health theme addresses major challenges to our nation's health including childhood obesity, liver disease and alcohol-related illness, cancer linked to obesity and healthy, independent ageing. Work in this Theme examines these issues at three stages of life: 1) from before pregnancy to adolescence; 2) adulthood; and 3) older age.

Visit our nutrition pages

Respiratory and Critical Care

The Respiratory and Critical Care Theme addresses common problems that affect millions of people like asthma, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, tackles rare lung diseases for which therapies are limited, and will discover new ways of improving critical care. Work on these topics involves three stages of care, from better prevention of disease, through earlier and more accurate diagnoses, to developing treatments personalised to each individual including managing end-of-life care with dignity.

Visit our respiratory and critical care pages

Cross-cutting themes

Three important areas of research are common to our nutrition and respiratory themes:

  • Data science: Using large amounts of clinical and research data to improve treatments and health
  • Microbial science: Fighting microbial infections and overcoming antibiotic resistant bacteria
  • Behavioural science: Supporting people in healthy behaviours and choices

Data science

With patient agreement we are making the most of patient information available in the NHS system and from research studies. We aim to help doctors make better, faster decisions on individuals’ treatment through new approaches to combining and analysing data from, for example, admissions to hospital, scans, genetic and biochemical results.

Visit our data science pages

Microbial science

A  growing number of bacteria and fungi resistant to antibiotic drugs threaten to make currently treatable infections and routine surgery lethal. We’re combining genetic techniques to identify new drugs with an approach exploring use of  ‘good’ bacteria in the gut and upper airways to fight infection and improve health.

To do this we’ve brought together experts in engineering, microbiology and physical sciences, and initiated groundbreaking studies of infectious diseases.

Visit our microbial science pages

Behavioural science

Supporting people in making choices that improve their health, and that of their families, is critical to wellbeing and our productivity as a nation.

Through a new Centre for Participatory Medicine, we are combining digital, educational and face-to-face methods of offering support into new ways of improving control of respiratory diseases and reducing obesity and malnutrition.

Visit our behavioural science pages