Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

Professor Mike Thomas MB, BS, MRCP, FRCP, PhD

Professor of Primary Care Research

Professor Mike Thomas's photo

Professor Mike Thomas is Professor of Primary Care Research within Medicine at the University of Southampton.

Research focus in primary care respiratory medicine, particularly asthma care.


MB, BS London, 1982
MRCP London, 1986
FRCP London 2002
PhD Aberdeen 2010

Academic and Clinical Positions:
Honorary and advisory positions
Guideline and National/International Advisory Work

Research interests

  • Asthma
  • COPD
  • Respiratory infections
  • Rhinosinusitis
  • Allergy

PhD supervision

Jeanne Trill

Current research grants held:

  • NIHR ‘Heath Technology Assessment’ grant 13/34/70 - At-Risk Registers Integrated into primary care to Stop Asthma crises in the UK (ARRISA-UK): A pragmatic cluster randomised trial with nested economic and process evaluations examining the effects of integrating at-risk asthma registers into primary care with internet-based training and support. £1,460,000. 2014-18. Co-applicant and local Prinicipal Investigator.
  • NIHR ‘Heath Technology Assessment’. Study of the effectiveness of breathing training exercises taught by a physiotherapist by either instructional videos / DVDs / internet download or by face to face sessions in the management of Asthma in adults (BREATHE study). Chief Investigator and grant holder. Collaboration between Aberdeen and Southampton Universities. 2011-2015. £1,260,120
    Please visit the study webpage for further details.
  • NIHR HTA progamme. Project 10/143/01- The clinical and cost-effectiveness of temporarily quadrupling the dose of inhaled steroid to prevent asthma exacerbations: a pragmatic, randomized, normal-care controlled clinical trial. 2013-1017: £1.87 million. Co-applicant, leader T Harrison, Nottingham
  • UK Department of Health ‘Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership’ (HQIP). National Audit of Asthma Deaths. Co-applicant, co-grant holder and member of steering committee of collaborative national project, lead by Dr J Potter, RCP London Audit lead. 2010-13 £550,000
  • NHS NIHR Research for Patient Benefit Programme. Predicting steroid response using exhaled nitric oxide. 2010-2012. £187,432. Co-grant holder with Dr D Shaw, Prof I Pavord and Dr T Harrison.
  • GlaxoSmithKline Ltd. Asthma Phenotypes in Europe (AMPHORE) study, 2010-2012. Euros 1,000,000. Chief Investigator and chairman of independent trial steering committee, of a pan-European prospective observational study of 1000 subjects.
  • Can a goal-focussed intervention delivered in Scottish community pharmacies improve outcomes for people with intermittent allergic rhinitis? A pilot randomised controlled trial. Co-applicant on application to CSO (Chief Scientist’s Office, Scotland), team lead by Dr T Porteus and Prof C Bond, Aberdeen. £154,000. 2012-14
  • UK Department of Health Policy Research Programme (PR-R3-0212-21002), Risk factors and carriage rates of multiresistant gram negative bacteria including Extended-Spectrum Beta-Lactamase and Carbapenemase Producing Coliforms (ESBLPCs), in different sections of the asymptomatic healthy general population and validation of a innovative molecular test to detect them using bowel cancer faecal occult test (FOBt) screening cards. Co-grant holder with Dr C McNulty, £200K. 2012-2014


Please visit the Primary Care  website.


Research group

Primary Care, Population Sciences and Medical Education

Affiliate research group

Primary Care Research group

Research project(s)

BREATHE (Breathing Retraining for Asthma Trial of Home Exercise)

Although effective medicinal treatment exists for asthma, many people continue to have distressing symptoms and impaired quality of life. People with asthma have expressed interest in non-drug asthma treatments, particularly in breathing exercises. Several recent studies have shown benefits from a short course of breathing exercises taught by a respiratory physiotherapist for people with asthma who remained symptomatic despite usual treatment. We believe that many NHS patients could potentially benefit from these exercises, but unfortunately, there is currently not enough access to suitable trained physiotherapists able to provide such a service. We propose to provide the same breathing training programme that we have previously shown to be effective when taught 'face-to-face' by a physiotherapist in the form of a DVD, or internet download. Patients will use this in their own home at times convenient to them, in addition to their standard treatment (e.g. with inhalers). We will find out whether this type of instruction is better than the 'usual care' that is currently provided, and whether it is as good as the 'face to face' physiotherapist instruction (which is more expensive and less convenient for patients).


The aim is to investigate the relationship between bronchoconstriction-induced cognitive dysfunction , physiological and psychological markers and perceptions of breathlessness in people with asthma


The DIPSS (Integrating Digital Interventions into Patient Self-Management Support) project has received funding of £2 million from the NIHR to examine patient digital self-management with healthcare professional support in primary care. Our aim is to develop digital behaviour change interventions for asthma and hypertension self-management, which will be examined in feasibility studies and full RCT (hypertension only). Issues surrounding the feasibility, acceptability, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of digital intervention delivery will be explored with patients and healthcare professionals for each condition.

MACRO - Defining best management for adults with chronic rhinosinusitis


Our aim is to provide mindfulness training to patents attending the ‘difficult asthma’ clinic in Southampton, who also have scores on a screening questionnaire indicating significant anxiety levels. We want to see if the course can be delivered (and is acceptable) to these people and to provide information to support a subsequent larger, randomised controlled study.

MOMA Investigating the feasibility of a mobile mindfulness-based digital intervention for patients with asthma

Mindfulness is a type of meditation-based therapy that’s been used to treat a range of health conditions, including anxiety and depression. Currently, few studies have explored how mindfulness can help chronic health conditions like asthma.

SNIFSII - Saline Nasal Irrigation For acute Sinusitis II

Acute sinus infections are one of the commonest infections managed in primary care, Currently GPs prescribe antibiotics to most  patients presenting with sinusitis, the highest of any of the common acute infections presenting in adults, at over 90%.

Chinese Herbal medicine to aid AnTibiotic use reduction in exacerbation of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (CHAT COPD)

BREATHE4T (Breathing REtraining for Asthma Trial of Home Exercises for Teenagers)


  • Chief Medical Officer, Asthma UK (2007 – present)
  • Research Chairman, International Primary Care Respiratory Group (2011-)
  • Member of National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) Quality Standard Topic Expert Group (TEG) for asthma, 2012-
  • Member of Cardiovascular, Diabetes, Renal, Respiratory and Allergy Expert Advisory Group (CFRRA EAG), CSM (Commission on Human Medicines, UK Department of Health) and Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) (2005 – present)
  • Member of Department of Health Asthma Strategy Group (2009-present)
  • Member of the UK Department of Health Clinical Group on Home Oxygen delivery (2009-present)
  • Member of Independent Primary Care Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) Advisory Committee – Respiratory (NICE) (2010- present)
  • Member of Department of Health National Asthma Deaths Audit Steering Group (2010- present)
  • Member of Department of Health Asthma Improvements Grants steering committee (2010- present)
  • Web editor IPCRG (International Primary Care Respiratory Group) (2004 – present)
  • Asthma publications editor, PCRS (Primary Care Respiratory Society), (2011- )
  • Task Force Member, Joint European Respiratory Society/ American Thoracic Society Task Force in Asthma Clinical Outcomes (2006 – 10)
  • Professional Education Advisor, Education for Health (Open University, UK) 2009 onwards
  • National Electronic Library of Health –Infectious Diseases advisory panel member (2003 – 2007)

National and International Committee Membership:

  • International Primary Care Respiratory Group Research Committee (2004 – present)
  • General Practice Airways Group Committee (2000-2007) and Research Committee (2003 – present)
  • Respiratory and Allergy Committee Member, Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) (2007 – present)
  • Respiratory Expert Advisory Group for NHS General Practice Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF)

Co-supervision of Masters Student

Dr. Ali Hossain (Amir) Esteki
Imperial College
'The quality of allergy advice for patients on injectable adrenalin in the primary care setting'

Co-supervision of PhD student 

Nguyen Nhu Vinh
University of Medicine & Pharmacy, Hong Kong
'Use of exhaled nitric oxide variation in predicting acute exacerbations of asthma'


Sort via:TypeorYear


Book Chapter

  • Holgate, S. T., & Thomas, M. (2016). Asthma. In R. E. O'Hehir, S. T. Holgate, & A. Sheikh (Eds.), Middleton's Allergy Essentials (pp. 151-204). Amsterdam, NL: Elsevier.




March 2016

Professor Mike Thomas featured on BBC's radio 4 Inside Health programme last night, discussing the over-diagnosing and under treatment of asthma. Link to the Inside Health web page here or download the podcast.

November 2014

SPCR study pivotal in leveraging further funding for COPD and co-morbidities, news story from the SPCR (Nov 2014).


July 2014 

Professor Mike Thomas contributes to this report 'Does innovative research for allergy and respiratory diseases in the European Union benefit patients?'  from the EFA event at the European Parliament 17 June 2014.



6 June 2014

Professor Mike Thomas contributes to National Review of Asthma Deaths (NRAD). Read our story here.

11th February 2014

Professor Mike Thomas, has spoken in an interview with the Daily Mail about the Government not giving people with asthma the same right to free prescriptions as those with other long-term conditions, such as diabetes and epilepsy.


October 2013

An interview with Professor Mike Thomas on the BBC radio 4 programme Inside Health is available to listen to via this link.

Professor Mike Thomas
University of Southampton Primary Medical Care Aldermoor Health Centre Aldermoor Close Southampton SO16 5ST

Room Number: 9590 AHC/121/S2

Share this profile Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings