Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research

Wako Golicha Wako

Project: Asthma sufferers' Personal Exposure to Air Pollution and Pollens and Risk Perception in Urban environment

PhD overview

PhD Title: Asthma sufferers' Personal Exposure to Air Pollution and Pollens and Risk Perception in Urban environment

Funded by: The University of Edinburgh

Supervisors: Professor Ruth Jepson, Dr Tom Clemens, Dr Hajar Hajmohammadi

Based at: University of Edinburgh


Headshot of Wako Golicha Wako
Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research PhD student, Wako Golicha Wako

Exposure to air pollution and/or pollens exacerbates asthma and its severity. Reducing exposure to these factors may lessen the severity of asthma symptoms, the frequency of asthma attacks, and the risk of death from asthma. It is possible to inform personal decision making about how to avoid potentially unsafe situations by enabling adults living with asthma learn the amount of concentration of these harmful factors in their immediate environment. Wearable sensor technologies can measure day to day personal exposure to these threats at high level of spatial and temporal resolution. These wearable devices could be used to map air quality in ones’ surrounding environment every second or few seconds, which is very useful for people living with asthma. Aside from exposure avoidance, what adults with asthma perceive as undesirable or good in their environment may influence their self-protective behaviours. I will use small personal sensor technology to investigate patterns of exposure to air pollution and pollen at the personal level for adults with asthma. My aim is to understand when and where people with asthma are exposed to poor air quality, as well as whether there is a link between subjectively perceived air quality and objective air quality measures.

About me

I completed BSc in public health in 2012 and MPH in public health in 2015, both from Hawassa University in Ethiopia. Before starting my PhD at the University of Edinburgh in September 2022, I worked as an academic and research member of staff in Ethiopian universities for several years. I have experience of conducting quantitative and qualitative research in  various areas of public health. My research interests involve cardiorespiratory health and environmental risk factors.