Environmental Research Group
Who's Who in ERG? - Professor Frank Kelly
Professor Frank J Kelly
Professor of Environmental Health;
Director, Analytical & Environmental Sciences Division;
Director, Environmental Research Group;
Deputy Director of the MRC-HPA Centre for Environment and Health
Environmental Research Group
King's College London
150 Stamford Street
Tel: 020 7848 4004
Fax: 020 7848 3891
Breathing is obviously an essential activity – but depending on your location (a busy road or industrial location) every breath
has the potential to introduce dangerous gases and airborne particles to your lungs.
Prof Kelly's research focuses on how the lung defends itself from these challenges and why, for some of us,
these defences sometimes fail.
Much of his current work examines the oxidant mechanisms underlying air pollution-induced lung injury.
Prof Kelly is trying to understand how pollutants such as ozone, nitrogen dioxide and tiny traffic-related particles
interact with the lung and initiate injury.
As well as conducting studies in healthy volunteers he is particularly interested in how these
events differ between healthy subjects and those with pre-existing airways disease such as asthma.
The primary focus of these studies relates to the events occurring within the respiratory tract lining fluid
(RTLF) compartment of the lung. This thin layer of fluid, which lines the surface of the lung, represents the
first and maybe most important line of defence against inspired pollutants. Prof Kelly suspects that oxidant/antioxidant
events occurring in the RTLF are pivotal to understanding the impact of air pollution on the lung. Since many respiratory
diseases involve inflammation, RTLF antioxidants have also the potential to defend the lung against free radicals released
by invading white blood cells.
In collaboration with clinical colleagues at the University of Umea in Sweden, Prof Kelly utilises bronchoscopy and
bronchoalveolar lavage procedures to investigate the nature of oxidant/antioxidant interactions occurring in the RTLF compartment.
in combination with cell culture and in vitro approaches, have allowed Prof Kelly and colleagues to develop an understanding of
the time-course of events in the airways following oxidative challenge.
These findings have led them to realise the need to obtain a better understanding of how diet and genotype interact to determine
an individual's complement of RTLF antioxidants. Prof Kelly and colleagues have obtained data on the antioxidant defence network
within RTLF of healthy individuals and are investigating how diet and genetic background can influence this.
In addition to these chamber-based volunteer studies, Prof Kelly and colleagues are taking advantage of the
natural experiments that are taking place in London following the introduction of traffic management schemes such as
the Congestion Charging Scheme (CCS) and the Low Emission Zone (LEZ). Both schemes have the potential to influence
vehicle emissions and thus air quality in London. With colleagues in Imperial College, St George's and the
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Prof Kelly is determining if this is the case and if they can demonstrate a
health benefit of these traffic intervention schemes.
Tonne C, Beevers S, Kelly FJ, Jarup L, Wilkinson P, Armstrong B. An approach for estimating the health effects of
changes over time in air pollution: an illustration
using cardio-respiratory hospital admissions in London. Occup Environ Med 2010 (in press)
Godri J Krystal, Duggan Sean T, Fuller Gary W, Baker Tim, Green David, Kelly FJ,
Mudway Ian S. PM oxidative potential from waste
transfer station activity. Environmental Health Perspectives 118: 493-98, 2010
Kelly FJ Traffic-Related Air Pollution: A critical Review of the literature on Emissions,
Exposure, and Health Effects. HEI Special Report 17: 2010
Kelly FJ et al (HEI Consortium) An assessment of the impact of the Congestion Charging Scheme
on air quality in London – Part 1:
Emissions modeling and analysis of air pollution measurements. Health Effects Institute (in press) 2010
Kelly FJ et al (HEI Consortium) An assessment of the impact of the Congestion Charging
Scheme on air quality in London – Part 11:
Analysis of particulate filters for oxidative potential. Health Effects Institute (in press) 2010
Kelly FJ et al (HEI Consortium) The LEZ baseline Study. Health Effects Institute (in press) 2010.
Professor Frank Kelly's full publications list (pdf, 172 KB)
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