Research has revolutionised the lives of people with asthma


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Meet our Researchers and Partners

Each year Asthma Australia needs your support to fund asthma research.  Hundreds of thousands of everyday Australians support their local Asthma Foundation through donations, raffles and sponsorships who in turn fund world leading research projects carefully vetted and selected to make a difference.

The National Asthma Research Program is currently supporting seven clinical, basic science and population health research projects with a total of $930,000.00.

These projects are:

Researcher Institution Project
Dr Maria Sukkar
University of Technology Sydney
Investigation of the HMGB1-RAGE axis in airway wall remodelling in asthma
Prof Stephen Stick
University of Western Australia
The asthmatic epithelium from childhood to adulthood
Dr Rebekah Moles
University of Sydney
Evaluating the impact of staff education on asthma knowledge and first-aid skills performance in childcare centres and primary schools. Watch an interview with Dr Moles here.
A/Prof Helen Reddel
Woolcock Institute of Medical Research
An investigation on the experiences and perceptions of people living with severe asthma
Dr Caroline Lodge University of Melbourne The relationship between breast milk oligosaccharides and micro biome with asthma and lung function in children up to 18 years. Watch an interview with Dr Lodge here
Dr Lorraine Smith University of Sydney  Development and testing of a personalised goal setting self management app for adolescents with asthma. Watch an interview with Dr Smith here
Mr Simon Forsyth  University of Queensland  Understanding asthma related mortality in ex-prisoners 
Prof Peter Gibson and Prof Phil Hasbro  Hunter Medical Research Institute University of Newcastle  To investigate ‘The pneumococcal vaccine Prevenar 13 as a new asthma therapy View a HMRI article on the project here.
Prof John Upham  Translation Research Institute University of Queensland  To investigate improving asthma through lifestyle interventions: how much exercise is best? Watch an interview with Prof Upham here.


Funding future research leaders in asthma and lung health

Asthma Foundations and the National Asthma Research Program also believe strongly in supporting up and coming and new asthma and linked condition researchers.  Many leading global researchers got their start with an Asthma Foundation scholarship or grant and we are proud to continue this tradition.We are proud to support several PhD Scholarships and travel grants valued at over $225,000.

Researcher Institution Project
Dr Helen Petsky  Queensland University of Technology  Inaugural Hudsons Coffee Early Career Fellowship in Asthma Research recipient. Watch an interview with Dr Petsky here.
Mr Matthew Morten
University Newcastle – Hunter Medical Research Institute
Investigating how better asthma management during pregnancy affects the antiviral host responses and reduces the risk for atopy and the degree of airways inflammation in offspring
Ms Meaghan Fitzpatrick
University of Melbourne
Investigating early life viral induced asthma. Watch an interview with Ms Fitzpatrick here.
Ms Melissa Mei Yin Cheung
University of Sydney
The development, testing and evaluation of a patient support and education program to improve asthma control and medication adherence


2016 Travel Awards

Researcher  Project Comments
Dr Jay Horvat For dissemination and development of his research on "identification of novel therapeutic targets for steroid-insensitive asthma"  Severe, steroid-resistant asthma is the major clinical problem in asthma therapy. Patients with severe forms of asthma experience more frequent exacerbations, are commonly admitted to hospital and have a much lower quality of life than patients with mild or moderate asthma. Patients with severe asthma often do not respond well to current treatments and there no effective therapies for these people. Therefore, improved therapies are required for patients with difficult-to-treat disease.

The major obstacle to achieving this is that there are several subtypes of severe asthma that are caused by different biological processes in the lungs. So identifying the precise factors that may be targeted with new therapies is difficult.

To address this issue we have taken the innovative approach of developing five unique experimental models of severe, steroid-resistant asthma. These models are characterised by distinctive immunological and inflammatory responses that represent the different subtypes of disease observed in patients with severe asthma. We then assessed the entire genomes of samples from these models and discovered several genes that are universally altered across all of these models.

We believe that the genes that we have identified hold the key to pinpointing the processes that drive severe, steroid-resistant asthma. We also believe that therapeutic strategies that target these processes will be broadly effective for treating patients with severe asthma.

I will use this prestigious Asthma Australia Mid-career Travel Award to attend the European Respiratory Society Annual Scientific Meeting in London to present and discuss my work in a forum that I otherwise would not have the privilege of participating in. Whilst in the UK and Europe, I will also visit the labs of key respiratory researchers in order to learn new techniques for investigating severe, steroid-resistant airways disease and foster collaborations. The feedback, experience and skills gained from attending this meeting and visiting key laboratories will help enhance the success and generation of high quality outcomes from this project.

A/Prof Vanessa McDonald  For diseemination and development of her research on "targeted management of airways diseases including asthma"  
Dr Hai Tran For dissemination and development of his research on the "innate immune mechanism , including inflammasomes, which activate and maintain chronic inflammation in asthma"  The working hypothesis for my study is that mechanism of severe asthma includes activation of inflammasomes. These are multi-protein complexes formed inside the cell upon sensing various noxious stimuli, from intruding pathogens to endogenous substances produced by cells in stress. Activated inflammasomes are responsible for release of potent cytokines such as IL-1beta which orchestrate inflammation.  I’m currently investigating whether this process in inflamed airway cells can be regulated by therapeutic compounds such as the macrolide azithromycin and its non-antibiotic derivatives, and Fingolimod (a prodrugs recently approved for treatment of multiple sclerosis).


Asthma Australia congratulates all grant recipients and scholarship holders and thanks the Asthma Foundations across Australia for their support.

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