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Occupational lung diseaseĀ 

Dr Johanna Feary

Senior clinical research fellow in occupational lung disease and severe asthma 
Dr Johanna Feary


Dr Johanna Feary graduated in medicine from the University of Nottingham. After completing training in the West Midlands, she moved down to London and completed her specialist respiratory training in and around the capital, including at Royal Brompton Hospital. 

She has a master's degree in epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Her PhD thesis, awarded by the University of Nottingham, was in the field of asthma epidemiology, specifically the association between environmental exposures and asthma and atopy. 

Area of expertise 

Dr Feary is currently working as a senior clinical research fellow in the department of occupational lung disease and holds an honorary post at Imperial College London. She also contributes to the asthma service at Royal Brompton Hospital, which specialises in the investigation and treatment of patients with difficult-to-control asthma. 

Her areas of expertise include:

Occupational lung disease, with duties such as:

  • Taking part in weekly multidisciplinary meetings and clinics
  • Seeing patients for initial and follow up appointments about a range of occupational respiratory diseases
  • Investigating cases to make diagnosis
  • Working on management strategies with possible collaboration with the patient’s workplace.
  • Supervising inpatient bronchial provocation challenges (a specialist way of diagnosing occupational asthma and upper airway dysfunction syndromes)
  • Attending workplace visits
  • Contributing to clinical reviews across patient experience in terms of respiratory medicine

Asthma, with duties such as:

  • Hosting weekly severe asthma clinics
  • Arranging and interpreting diagnostic tests
  • Implementing new treatment plans
  • Working on patient selection to refer for novel biological therapies

Dr Feary was invited to help establish the Asthma and Allergy Care Group at Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust. This has expanded her understanding of the work of the Trust, in particular the Respiratory division.

She holds a high level of management in the team, coordinating multidisciplinary meetings with staff across all functions, regularly chairing these meetings. She also works with stakeholders to help improve the running of the clinics to ensure that they are as productive as possible and have the best patient experience possible.

Research interests

Dr Feary’s current research activity focuses on laboratory animal workers, evaluating the contemporary risks of developing laboratory animal allergy (LAA - a form of occupational asthma). This is a four year NIHR funded post-doctoral fellowship investigating the contemporary risks of working with laboratory mice. Through this study, Dr Feary introduced individually ventilated cages, which has resulted in lower level of aeroallergens and shown reduction in LAA to mice.

As part of the busiest occupational lung disease service in the UK, Dr Feary has been proactive in improving services for patients referred by Occupational Health and secondary care. The team carried out a real-time audit on the number of referrals received, identifying an administrative error by temporary staff. This highlighted that services can be audited and improved with small but important interventions. In her role, Dr Feary provides both professional and pastoral support to junior and senior colleagues in her team, leading by example such as teaching non-clinical members of a journal club and being an active member of the team in all aspects of work.

Dr Feary enjoys investigating connections between people’s jobs and how specific exposure can lead to development of respiratory disease in certain individuals. Occupational lung disease lends itself to practical research (often with the aim of primary prevention of disease) and is very relevant to clinical care.This is especially important when considering the implications for people’s future employment and the need to avoid further exposure.

She has a longstanding interest in asthma and have been contributing to the severe asthma service at the Brompton for four years. Asthma is a chronic disease from which avoidable deaths occur every day in the UK. A key factor in preventing these tragic outcomes is by improving patient-focused care. She believes that individuals with asthma should be comprehensively assessed using objective investigations and managed appropriately with a view to reducing deaths, improving quality of life and preventing unnecessary use of (and the significant side effects of) long-term oral corticosteroids.

Teaching and conferences

Dr Feary has collaborated with other occupational lung disease services elsewhere in the country via GORDS (Group of Occupational Respiratory Disease Specialists), helping to increase the profile of occupational lung diseases in the UK. She helps by commenting on relevant guidelines (such as screening for silicosis) and collaborating clinically on patient cases.

She has spoken at many internal, regional and national courses and study days on her specialist subject areas, including:

• MSc in Allergy course (University of Southampton) 2017
• 'Health and Wellbeing at Work' conference, NEC, Birmingham (national conference) 2017
• Regional training days for Specialist Registrars in Respiratory Medicine in East Midlands, London and KSS and Oxford Deaneries 2017
• National training day for Occupational Medicine trainees 2016
• BTS short course on Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2016
• Association of Service Physicians update (for military personnel) 2016
• Department of Work and Pensions CPD training 2016
• Occupational Lung Disease: Keeping Up To Date 2015, 2016 (internal course)
• Occupational Asthma for Occupational Health Professionals 2016, 2017 (internal course)
• Introduction to lung function testing 2016, 2017 (internal course)

She has also travelled internationally to speak at conferences, including Toronto, Finland and Denmark. 


Dr Feary has been associate editor of Clinical Medicine journal, regularly reviews articles for journals such as Thorax, Clinical and Experimental Allergy and also looks at grant applications for the National Institute for Health Research (2015, 2017).

Her other publication credits include:

  • Feary J, Pinnock H, Cullinan P. Occupational asthma, British Medical Journal
  • Feary J, Cullinan P. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol, Laboratory animal allergy: a new world
  • Feary J, Cannon J, Tarzi M, Wincell S, Welch J, Cullinan P. Occupational asthma from a horticultural nematode, Steinernema feltiae, Lancet Respir Med
  • Finney L, Feary J, Leonardi-Bee J, Gordon S, Mortimer K. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in sub Saharan Africa: A systematic review, IJTLD
  • Feary J, Britton J, Leonardi-Bee J. Atopy and Current Intestinal Parasite Infection; a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis, Allergy
  • Feary J, Rodrigues LC, Smith CJ, Hubbard RB, Gibson JE. Prevalence of major co-morbidities in people with COPD and incidence of myocardial infarction and stroke: a comprehensive using data from primary care, Thorax


Royal Brompton

Sydney Street,
London SW3 6NP
Tel: +44 (0)20 7352 8121


Occupational lung disease team location:


Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Emmanuel Kaye Building, 1B Manresa Road, London, SW3 6LR


Contact details:


Tel: 020 7351 8341

Fax: 020 7351 8336

Email via Claire Bryson (clinical administrator)