Professor Michael Ussher is Professor of Behavioural Medicine in the Population Health Research Institute. His research focuses on three topics: smoking cessation, physical activity promotion and mindfulness-based interventions. His current research includes:
randomised trials of improved ways of helping pregnant smokers to quit and of helping the elderly to increase their exercise levels
national surveys and cohort studies of smoking behaviour
qualitative studies on the process of smoking cessation and of exercise adherence
laboratory studies of interventions for managing cigarette withdrawal symptoms and for managing chronic pain.
Professor Ussher is currently heading a £1.2 million NIHR-HTA funded trial (2009-2014). The LEAP (The London Exercise And Pregnant smokers) trial is looking at whether taking regular physical activity can improve the chances of women stopping smoking during their pregnancy. Read more about the trial on the LEAP website.
Professor Ussher joined St George's in 1999 as a Research Fellow and PhD student. On completion of his PhD (2001), Professor Ussher was appointed as a Lecturer. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2006, Reader in Health Psychology in 2010 and received his Chair in Behavioural Medicine in 2013. Professor Ussher has also been appointed Hamid Ghodse Foundation Chair in recognition of his research on smoking cessation.
Professor Ussher acts as a consultant for the Department of Health (DoH) on tobacco control and most recently has been the main academic advisor for the development and evaluation of the nationally disseminated ‘Quit Kit'. He is a member of the DoH funded UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, acting as co-lead for the Pregnancy and Smoking Research Theme.
Professor Ussher is a Senior Editor for the journal Addiction, is a member of the Tobacco Advisory Group of Cancer Research UK, and is on the National Assessment Panel for Athena Swan, which provides national awards related to gender equality among staff and students in higher education.
Ussher M, Lewis S, Aveyard P, Manyonda I, West R, Lewis B, Marcus B, Riaz M, Taylor A, Daley A, Coleman T (2015). Physical activity for smoking cessation in pregnancy: randomised controlled trial of. BMJ May 14;350:h2145.
Ussher MH, Taylor AH, Faulkner GE (2014) Exercise interventions for smoking cessation. Tobacco Addiction Module of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 8, Oxford, The Cochrane Collaboration, Update Software, CD002295.
Harris T, Kerry S, Victor CR, Ekelund U, Woodcock A, Iliffe S, Whincup PH, Beighton C, Ussher M, Limb ES, David L, Brewin D, Adams A, Rogers A, Cook DG (2015) A primary care nurse-delivered walking intervention in older adults: PACE (PedometerAccelerometer Consultation Evaluation)-Lift cluster randomised controlled trial. PLos medicine, 12:e1001783.
Ussher M, Spatz A, Copland C, Nicolaou A, Cargill A, Amini-Tabrizi N, McCracken L (2014) Immediate effects of a brief mindfulness-based body scan on patients with chronic pain. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 37, 127-34.
Ussher M,Brown J, Rajamanoharan A, West R (2014) How do factors prompting attempts to quit smoking relate to method of quitting and quit success? Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 47, 358-68.
Ussher M, Beard E, Abikoye G, Hajek P, West R (2013) Urge to smoke over 52 weeks of abstinence. Psychopharmacology, 226, 83-89.
Ussher M et al (2011) A randomised placebo-controlled trial of oral hydrocortisone for treating tobacco withdrawal symptoms. Psychopharmacology, 216, 43-51.
Ussher M et al (2011) Evaluation of a nationally disseminated self-help intervention for smoking cessation (Quit Kit). Tobacco Control,
Ussher MH, West R, McEwen A, Taylor A, Steptoe A (2003) Efficacy of exercise counselling as an aid to smoking cessation: a randomised controlled trial. Addiction, 98, 523-532.
Muhammad Riaz (Smoking cessation and pregnancy)
Ana Howarth (Mindfulness interventions for chronic pain)
Christine Goodair (Substance misuse)
Dr Tess Harris (St George’s, University of London)
Dr Steve Gillard (St George’s, University of London)
Professor Robert West (University College London)
Professor Paul Aveyard(Oxford University)
Professor Adrian Taylor(University of Exeter)
Professor Tim Coleman(Nottingham University)
Professor Christi Patten (Mayo Clinic, USA)
Professor Harry Prapavessis (University of Western Ontario, Canada)
Dr David Williams(Brown University, USA)
As Principal Investigator
Attitudes to electronic cigarettes: A qualitative study of women who are pregnant or have recently given birth.
Funder: CRUK, £64,000
Randomised controlled trial of a pedometer-based walking intervention with and without practice nurse support in primary care patients aged 45-74 years.
PI: Dr Tess Harris, St George’s, University of London
Funder: National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme
Feasibility of an exercise programme to reduce smoking during pregnancy among Māori.
PI: Dr Ralph Maddison, University of Auckland, New Zealand
Funder: Health Research Council of New Zealand
Efficacy of brisk walking as a smoking cessation treatment adjunct among women.
PI: Dr David Williams, Brown University, USA
Funder: National Cancer Institute (NCI), US National Institute of Health (NIH)
Supervised, vigorous, intensity exercise intervention for depressed female smokers.
PI: Professor Christi Patten
Funder: Mayo Clinic US
CaRe study of cardiac rehabilitation after abdominal aortic aneurysm repair
PI: Dr Peter Holt, St George's, University of London
Funder: British Heart Foundation
2015 - 2019
Enhanced discharge from inpatient to community mental health care (ENRICH): a programme of applied research to manualise, pilot and trial a Peer Worker intervention
PI: Dr Steve Gillard, St George's, University of London
Funder: NIHR, HTA
2015 - 2016
Enhancing use of nicotine replacement therapy for stopping smoking in pregnancy and minimising relapse to smoking afterwards
PI: Professor Tim Coleman, University of Nottingham
Funder: NIHR Research Capability Funding
2015 - 2017
A two arm feasibility trial of lifestyle information and Slimming World groups to promote weight management and positive lifestyle behaviour in postnatal women from an ethnically diverse inner city population.
PI: Professor Debra Bick, Kings College
Funder: NIHR Public Health Research Programme
2010 - 2017
Improving the effectiveness and reach of NHS support for smoking cessation in pregnancy
PI: Professor Tim Coleman, Nottingham University. Professor Ussher is the Lead Investigator on one of the work streams and a co-investigator on the other three work streams.
Funder: NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research
Professor Ussher’s teaching focusses on provided lectures on behavioural medicine to undergraduate medical students, including the topics related to smoking cessation, physical activity promotion, obesity and chronic illness. He superviesr of BSc research projects in behavioural medicine. He lectures on various masters courses and supervises two PhD students.