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Bright Nwaru
Photo: Malin Arnesson

Bright Nwaru Group

Research group
Active research
Project period
2017 - ongoing
Project owner
University of Gothenburg

Short description

Bright Nwaru, PhD, Associate Senior Lecturer in Molecular Medicine.

About Bright Nwaru Group

Bright Nwaru, PhD, Associate Senior Lecturer in Molecular Medicine oriented towards respiratory diseases, investigates the distribution, risk factors, and causes of allergy and asthma in the population and seeks to advance potential preventive approaches for these conditions.

Dr Nwaru is an epidemiologist and much of his research until date has focused on understanding the role of early life environmental, behavioral, and genetic factors and interactions between these in the development of allergy and asthma in children. Within this context, using international birth cohorts, his research demonstrated the importance of prenatal and early life diet in the development of childhood allergy and asthma.

One of his current research programs focuses on deciphering the role of sex steroid hormones in asthma in women. Although endogenous and exogenous sex steroids have been suspected to largely explain observed gender-related differences in asthma for many decades, a putative answer has so far been elusive. By assembling cross-country population cohorts and using a combination of epidemiological and mechanistic approaches, his group collaborates with national and international experts in the field to provide a definitive answer on the role of sex steroids in asthma in women. The research also seeks to understand whether sex steroid-based therapy can be developed for the management of asthma in women. 

Part of the group’s research program is to understand the potential mechanisms and predictors of asthma-COPD overlap disease phenotype. The group also capitalizes on the various population routine data (generated from clinical encounters, administrative and social care, and behavioral data) to better understand the network of factors influencing allergy and asthma in the population. Dr Nwaru is a strong proponent of evidence-base science and in collaboration with national and international colleagues continuously undertakes important evidence syntheses to aid understanding of scientific findings and healthcare decisions. Nwaru is an adjunct professor of epidemiology at the University of Tampere, Finland, and an honorary fellow at the University of Edinburgh, UK.

International Collaborations

Internationally, Dr Nwaru collaborates with colleagues from the University of Edinburgh, Kings College London, and from the Universities of Helsinki and Tampere. Nationally he collaborates with colleagues from the University of Gothenburg and Karolinska Institute.

Bright Nwaru
Photo: Malin Arnesson

Contact Information

Bright Nwaru
+46 31 786 6718

Department of Internal Medicine at Institute of Medicine 
Room number: 2526 
Postal Address: Box 424, 40530 Göteborg 
Visiting Address: Medicinaregatan 1F, Krefting Research Centre , 41390 Göteborg


Full publication list:

Selected publications:

McCleary N,* Nwaru BI,* Nurmatov UB, Critchley H, Sheikh A. Endogenous and exogenous sex steroid hormones in asthma and allergy in females: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Allergy Clin Immunol. In press.
*Joint first authors

Nwaru BI, Friedman C, Halamka J, Sheikh A. Can learning health systems help organisations deliver personalised care? BMC Med 2017; 25:177.

Devine RE, McCleary N, Sheikh A, Nwaru BI. Acid-suppressive medications during pregnancy and risk of asthma and allergy in children: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2017; 139(6):1985-1988.e12

Nwaru BI, Virtanen SM. Allergenic Food Introduction and Childhood Risk of Allergic or Autoimmune Disease. JAMA 2017; 317(1):86.

Mukherjee M, Stoddart A, Gupta RP, Nwaru BI, Farr A, Heaven M, Fitzsimmons D, Bandyopadhyay A, Aftab C, Simpson CR, Lyons RA, Fischbacher C, Dibben C, Shields MD, Phillips CJ, Strachan DP, Davies GA, McKinstry B, Sheikh A. The epidemiology, healthcare and societal burden and costs of asthma in the UK and its member nations: analyses of standalone and linked national databases. BMC Med 2016; 14:113.

Virtanen SM, Takkinen HM, Nwaru BI, Kaila M, Ahonen S, Nevalainen J, Niinistö S, Siljander H, Sinmell O, Ilonen J, Hyöty H, Veijola R, Knip M. Microbial exposure in infancy and subsequent appearance of type 1 diabetes mellitus-associated autoantibodies: a cohort study. JAMA Pediatr 2014; 168(8): 755-63.

Nwaru BI, Takkinen HM, Kaila M, Erkkola M, Ahonen S, Pekkanen J, Simell O, Veijola R, Ilonen J, Hyöty H, Knip M, Virtanen SM. Food diversity in infancy and the risk of childhood asthma and allergies. J Allergy Clin Immnol 2014; 133(4): 1084-91.

Nwaru BI, Hickstein L, Panesar SS, Muraro A, Werfel T, Cardona V, Dubois AE, Halken S, Hoffmann-Sommergruber K, Poulsen LK, Roberts G, Van Ree R, Vlieg-Boerstra BJ, Sheikh A; EAACI Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Guidelines Group. The epidemiology of food allergy in Europe: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Allergy 2014; 69(1): 62-75.

Nwaru BI, Takkinen HM, Niemelä O, Kaila M, Erkkola M, Ahonen S, Haapala AM, Kenward MG, Pekkanen J, Lahesmaa R, Kere J, Simell O, Veijola R, Ilonen J, Hyöty H, Knip M, Virtanen SM. Timing of infant feeding in relation to childhood asthma and allergic diseases. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2013; 131(1):78-86.

Erkkola M, Kaila M, Nwaru BI, Kronberg-Kippilä C, Ahonen S, Nevalainen J, Veijola R, Pekkanen J, Ilonen J, Simell O, Knip M, Virtanen SM. Maternal vitamin D intake during pregnancy is inversely associared wit asthma and allergic rhinitis in 5-year-old children. Clin Exp Allergy 2009; 39(6): 875-82.

News and Media

ScienceDaily | "Heartburn pills in pregnancy may be linked to childhood asthma"

Mirror | "Pregnant women warned: Heartburn medication increases asthma risk for your baby"

New York Times | "Heartburn Drugs in Pregnancy Tied to Asthma in Babies"

DailyMail | "Pregnant women who take heartburn medication are more likely to give birth to children with asthma"

Chicago Tribune | "Are heartburn drugs during pregnancy linked to asthma in kids?"

The Telegraph | "Heartburn drugs for pregnant mothers linked to baby asthma"

The Sun | "Kids born to mums on heartburn medication are ‘a THIRD more likely to get asthma’"

The Times | "Heartburn drugs in pregnancy linked to child’s asthma risk"

The Scotsman | "Asthma link to mother’s heartburn medication"

The Guardian | "Pregnant women who take heartburn medication are more likely to give birth to children with asthma"

Medpage Today | "Allergies Linked To Delaying Solid Foods"

Diethics | "The Perfect Time for Introducing Your Baby to Solid Foods"

Reuters | "Starting some solid foods late boosts allergy risk"

ScienceDaily | "Asthma care costs UK at least £1.1 billion each year, study shows"

Mirror "Asthma is costing the NHS at least £1.1BILLION every year"

Express | "REVEALED: Asthma 'costs NHS at least £1.1 BILLION' each year"

Independent | "Asthma charity calls for big changes to curb rocketing NHS costs"

The Sun | "Asthma costs NHS £1.1BILLION while three Brits die from the condition every day"