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2018 Award Winners

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Top lung health bodies raise much needed funds but more investment needed

(Adelaide, Monday, 26th March 2018): Investment in lung disease research has received a much needed boost over the weekend with a pledge of over $2 million announced at the Respiratory Research Excellence Awards at the Australia and New Zealand Annual Scientific Meeting for Leaders in Lung Health & Respiratory Science (TSANZSRS18) in Adelaide.

“This is a great day for the 1 in 4 Australians with lung disease. It is only through investment in research that we can make progress and achieve the breakthroughs that revolutionise disease outcomes,” said Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ) President Professor Allan Glanville.

The money comes from non-governmental sources including private donations, sponsorship and leveraged financing and is the result of fundraising efforts from four national lung health organisations: The Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ), Lung Foundation Australia, Cystic Fibrosis Australia and the National Asthma Council. The investment is being dispersed through more than 40 individual awards.

“These awards are of immense to importance to the thoracic fraternity,” said Lung Foundation Australia Chairman Professor Christine Jenkins. “When we reward people for research proposals and grant applications we are upskilling our organisations to do more research and to build our capacity to understand the causes and best management of lung disease.”

However the organisations behind the drive warn that although this achievement deserves celebrating, lung disease research is still grossly underfunded when compared to other diseases. Far more investment is required they say.

“Lung disease contributes more than 10 per cent to the overall health burden in Australia[i] and has a major impact both in terms of healthcare utilisation and lost quality of life for patients and carers. Yet it receives only 5.5 per cent of Federal Government funding. This needs to change,” said Professor Glanville.

“Lung disease has to attract the same level of research funding enjoyed by other disease areas such as breast, prostate, and heart disease. We are immensely grateful for the contribution of donors, sponsors and institutions, but fundraising alone is not the way to manage diseases affecting a quarter of Australians. We can and must do better,” said Professor Jenkins.

  • At least 1 in 4 Australians have lung disease.
  • 1 in 7 deaths in Australia are caused by lung disease.
  • 2.3 million Australians have asthma.
  • 11,270 Australians are diagnosed each year with lung cancer.
  • Although respiratory illnesses affect 29 per cent of Australians and costs the health system an estimated $4.5 billion per year, research in this area receives little funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) – Australia’s lead health research funding body.
  • Respiratory conditions are amongst the most commonly managed problems in general practice.
  • COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is the third leading cause of death in Australia and the third greatest burden of disease for Australians. More than 200,000 days are lost to COPD-caused disability each year.
  • The current direct health cost of COPD is $930M, with up to $8.8B in total cumulative health care costs, and this is forecast to worsen with the aging population.
  • The World Health Organisation has projected total deaths from COPD to increase by more than 30 per cent in the next 10 years unless urgent action is taken.



The Inaugural Respiratory Research Excellence Awards are a joint initiative of the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ), Lung Foundation Australia, Cystic Fibrosis Australia and the National Asthma Council. They consist of over 40 individual awards, with funds made up of a combination of sponsorship, donations and leveraged funding. The Awards serve to focus research on much needed areas, and support some of Australia’s greatest minds in lung disease research, with the ultimate aim of improving the lives of people affected by lung diseases.

  • Asthma & Allergy (supported by Asthma Australia) presented to Meina Li
  • Asthma & Allergy (supported by National Asthma Council) presented to Stephanie Byrne
  • Pulmonary Physiology and Sleep, John Reid Prize (supported by Lung Foundation Australia) presented to David Chapman
  • David Serisier Memorial Award for Translational Research in Bronchiectasis (supported by Lung Foundation Australia) presented to Narelle Cox
  • Cystic Fibrosis (supported by Cystic Fibrosis Australia) presented by Bernadette Prentice
  • Lung Cancer (supported by Maurice Blackburn) presented to Carolyn Peddle-McIntyre
  • Occ Env Lung Disease / Population Health (supported by Maurice Blackburn) presented to Edward Harris
  • Palliative Care and Symptom Support (supported by Maurice Blackburn) presented to Lauren Ross
  • Interventional Pulmonology and Bronchoscopy (supported by Carroll & O’Dea) presented to David Langton
  • Cell, Immunology and Molecular Biology (supported by TSANZ) presented to Su-Ling Loo
  • Evidence-based Medicine and Practice (supported by TSANZ) presented to Anthony Byrne
  • Peter van Asperen Paediatric (supported by TSANZ) presented to Himanish Panda
  • Physiotherapy (supported by TSANZ) presented to Benjamin Tarrant
  • Respiratory Infectious Diseases (supported by TSANZ) presented to Natalia Popowicz
  • Tobacco (supported by TSANZ) presented to Emily Chivers
  • Orphan Lung Diseases, Lung Transplant, Interstitial Lung Disease and Pulmonary Vascular Disease (OLIV) (supported by Boehringer Ingelheim) presented to Rebecca Harper
  • Primary Care (Supported by Boehringer Ingelheim) presented to Jenifer Liang
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (supported by Boehringer Ingelheim) presented to Ross Vlahos
  • Respiratory Nurses (supported by Boehringer Ingelheim) presented to Vinita Swami​​​​
  • TSANZ Best Poster (supported by Boehringer Ingelheim) presented to Hayley Rice, Kylie Hill, Robin Fowler, Carol Watson, Grant Waterer and Meg Harold

PhD scholarship facilitates research in earlier lung cancer diagnosis

A Lung Foundation Australia Research Award from 2016/17 is allowing Dr Atiqur Rahmant from the University of Newcastle to investigate the early biomarkers of lung cancer. With earlier diagnosis and treatment, patient outcomes could dramatically improve. As a result of the exciting developments of this world-class research, the University of Newcastle has brought in an additional three researchers.


Lung health experts from across Australia gathered in Adelaide from March 23-27 to attend the Annual Scientific Meetings of The Australia and New Zealand Society of Respiratory Science (ANZRS) and The Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ).

To arrange an interview pleased contact Petrana Lorenz, or, Call+61 405 158 636


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