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National Asthma Council Australia announcement of 2021 Asthma and Airways Career Development Fellowship

29 Oct 2021

National Asthma Council Australia announcement of 2021 Asthma and Airways Career Development Fellowship.

Dr Rachel Foong has been announced as the recipient of the 2021 Asthma and Airways Career Development Fellowship, jointly funded by the National Asthma Council Australia and the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand.

Dr Foong is an NHMRC Early Career Fellow at the Telethon Kids Institute and Curtin University and was awarded the Fellowship to develop her research into personalised, machine learning based prediction of asthma in children.

“Asthma is the most common chronic lung disease of childhood and in Australia, about 10 per cent of children report having a doctor diagnosis of asthma. However, asthma diagnosis is difficult in young children. Therefore, there has been a worldwide effort to develop ways to identify asthma risk as early as possible to prevent disease.

“We also know that genes and the environment interact to affect asthma disease risk, and there is not much information as to which of these have the bigger contribution, or if they are equally important.

“My research will aim to answer the question if asthma in children can be predicted before it occurs based on individual family history and information on the early environment.

“As part of this, I am aiming to create personalised prediction scores for development of asthma by using machine learning, which will help in preventing and managing asthma,” said Dr Foong.

Dr Foong will use data from the Raine Study to develop the prediction scores. The Raine Study recruited over 2800 pregnant women in Perth, WA and asthma have been well-studied in this study at 5 to 6-years, 13 to 14-years and 22 to 23-years in children.

She added “Once prediction scores have been developed, we will validate the findings in international birth cohort studies to ensure these results are also applicable to all children and not only children in Australia.”

Dr Foong hopes a predictive model of asthma based on questionnaire data and family history may help doctors make decisions quickly in a cost-efficient way, ultimately improving diagnosis of asthma and enhance understanding on how asthma and allergies develop.

The aim of the Fellowship is to enable mid-career investigators to establish themselves as independent, self-directed researchers and foster the development of research in respiratory medicine in Australia and New Zealand. The fellowship is to the value of $60,000 for one year and is jointly funded by the National Asthma Council Australia and the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand.

The National Asthma Council Australia is pleased to contribute to Dr Foong’s research and proud to assist with the career development of an emerging respiratory expert. 

Supporting The Asthma and Airways Career Development Fellowship aligns perfectly with the National Asthma Council Australia’s commitment to build capacity and knowledge within the research and clinical community and mission to improve Australia’s capabilities to help people with asthma to breathe well by facilitating best-practice care.

It is also a way to give thanks for the generous support of many respiratory experts who provide their expertise in the development of the National Asthma Council Australia resources and educational programs.

For further information or an interview with Dr Rachel Foong, please contact:

Donna Le Page, Le Page PR Mobile: 0429 825 703 Emaildonna@lepage-pr.com.au



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