NIHR Fellow welcomes old school to Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit


Dr Usmani welcomes Paddington Academy pupils

Dr Omar Usmani welcomes Paddington Academy students to the Respiratory BRU.

Dr Usmani, NIHR Career Development Fellow, invited his former sixth form college, Paddington Academy, formerly North Westminster Community School, for an afternoon of interactive clinical activities and advice about careers in the NHS and in research.

Held at the NIHR Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit, 16 and 17 yr old students were given the opportunity to try their hands on clinical equipment used for diagnosing patients with lung disease at Royal Brompton Hospital including spirometry and pulse oximetry.

The importance and impact of medical research in the NHS was also discussed and Dr Usmani talked about his NIHR funded research through Imperial College London on improving inhaled drug delivery to patients with lung disease.

As well as hands on demonstrations, pupils were also given a flavour of the type of careers that exist within hospitals. Staff who took part included a PhD fellow (Dr Will McNulty), a senior research nurse (Ms Sally Meah), a medical physicist (Dr Martyn Biddiscombe) and a PhD scientist (Ms Natasha Madge). All answered questions in a Q&A session about their job roles, education, career pathways and their individual contributions to medical research.

Dr Usmani, who was a pupil at the school himself, remarked on why it’s so important to connect with schools “Working with schools helps generate interest and excitement among young people in research. We hope that by showing them the potential that research has to change lives, they as individuals will take part by seizing on the vast array of career opportunities available”

Philip Ellis, Career Academy co-ordinator at Paddington Academy (and former Biology teacher when Omar was a pupil) said “Opportunities like today give our learners a unique and invaluable opportunity to talk to and learn from people who are at the forefront of their specialisms in a fascinating and rapidly changing field of medicine and medical research. Everyone on the team who spoke to the students, inspired many of them and gave them much to think about and reflect upon. The students loved their visit and could talk about nothing else on the journey back to school. They also really enjoyed having their own lung function thoroughly investigated”

If you would like to find out more about how your school can get involved please email

(First published by Peter Lloyd at:


Ruth O'Donnell

Ruth O'Donnell
National Heart & Lung Institute

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