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, 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.

About Bright Nwaru Group

Bright Nwaru, PhD, 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

Group members

Muwada Bashir, MD, MSc

PhD student
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Muwada is a graduate of school of medicine in her home country, Sudan. She did her master’s degree in public health and economics at the Gothenburg University, after which she joined Bright’s group as a PhD student in 2019. Her project focuses on social trajectories of airways diseases, such as asthma and COPD. She also undertakes computational phenotyping of asthma to identify different disease phenotypes that can enhanced targeted treatment options. She is also interested in the application of reproducibility in the analyses of population and clinical data.    

Muwada Bashir
Muwada Bashir

Rani Basna, PhD

Data scientist
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Rani Basna, Mathematician, Data scientists and Machine learning researcher. He is currently a computational scientist, and researcher at Krefting Research Centre, University of Gothenburg. His main research interest is the Biological and epidemiological application of Machine learning methods in addition to algorithm development. Other research areas of interest are Causal machine learning, and Functional data analysis. Specifically, he is currently investigating many lines of application of machine learning and statistical learning to obstructive airway disease data. This includes Deep Clustering, Deep Learning, and Probabilistic Graphical Models such as Bayesian Network analysis. Rani has had experience working as a Data scientist in the marketing industry for around two years. 

Rani Basna
Rani Basna

Hannu Kankaanranta, MD, PhD

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Hannu is a professor of asthma and allergy research. He is a specialist in respiratory medicine, allergology and clinical pharmacology and drug therapy with >20 years of experience in clinical respiratory medicine. He has expertise and interest in basic and clinical science in respiratory medicine, inflammation, multimorbidity and pharmacology. Hannu was the previous head of the Department of Respiratory Medicine at Seinäjoki Central Hospital in Tampere, Finland, as well as the Principal investigator of the SAAS-study – a study with the longest published non-selected cohort of adult-onset asthma.

Hannu Kankaanranta
Hannu Kankaanranta

Daniil Lisik, MD

PhD Student
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After graduating from the University of Gothenburg with a Master's degree of Science in Medicine, Daniil Lisik joined Bright Nwaru's group as a PhD student in August 2021, focusing on computational phenotype discovery and prediction in obstructive airway diseaseas and COVID-19. His interests encompass machine learning, epidemiology and allergology. In parallell with his PhD studies, he is currently undertaking research in external groups regarding sibship size effects on asthma, as well as the epidemiology of food allergy in Europe, also led by Bright.

Daniil Lisik
Daniil Lisik

Saliha Selin Ozuygur Ermis, MD

PhD Student
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Selin finished medical school with an honours degree at Ege University, Izmir, Turkey. She completed her residency training in the respiratory medicine department of Dokuz Eylul University, Izmir in August 2021, after which she joined Bright Nwaru’ s group as a PhD student. Her research interests are clinical and immunologic aspects of allergic diseases and asthma. Her main research focus is to identify the sensitization patterns of individuals to furry animal allergens and their clinical implications on asthma and rhinitis.

Saliha Selin Ozuygur Ermis
Saliha Selin Ozuygur Ermis

Guo-Qiang Zhang, MD

PhD Student
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After graduating from Chongqing Medical University with a Master’s Degree of Medicine, Guo-Qiang joined Bright Nwaru’s group as a PhD student in December 2018, focusing on sex hormones and women’s health (asthma). His interests encompass evidence syntheses including systematic review and umbrella review, epidemiology and asthma. He is also passionate about Open Science and research reproducibility. He is currently undertaking research on female sex hormones and asthma in women based on the West Sweden Asthma Study (WSAS) cohorts.

Guo-Qiang Zhang
Guo-Qiang Zhang


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"