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2024 Asthma and Airways Career Development Fellowship

15 Apr 2024

Associate Professor Rachel Peters has been announced as the recipient of the 2024 Asthma and Airways Career Development Fellowship, jointly funded by the National Asthma Council Australia and the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand.

She plans to use the Fellowship to develop an innovative asthma risk prediction tool for children that extends beyond traditional asthma predictors by integrating comprehensive data on food allergies.

Associate Professor Peters said that this will be the first prediction model to integrate food allergy, a key driver of adverse respiratory outcomes.

“Development of an asthma prediction model that integrates food allergy is of critical importance to help identify young children at high risk of developing asthma, especially with the high prevalence of food allergy in Australia.

“I am delighted that the 2024 Asthma and Airways Career Development Fellowship will allow me to develop and validate a novel prediction model for asthma risk in children,” she said.

Associate Professor Peters is the Principal Investigator of HealthNuts* and EarlyNuts*, two population-based longitudinal studies of food allergy and asthma recruited with identical methods and is ideally placed to establish a new paradigm for more precise asthma risk assessment.

“The HealthNuts study showed that infants with food allergy, even if their food allergy resolves, are four times more likely to have asthma at six years of age, compared to children who never had food allergy.

“My aim is to develop a prediction model that will greatly assist clinicians to provide early asthma diagnoses and management and promote prevention strategies in high-risk children,” she said.

National Asthma Council Australia CEO Rhonda Cleveland said they were pleased to contribute to Associate Professor Peters’s research and proud to assist with the career development of an emerging respiratory expert.

“Supporting the Asthma and Airways Career Development Fellowship aligns with the National Asthma Council Australia’s commitment to build capacity and knowledge within the research and clinical community and to drive best practice in asthma care using evidence based guidelines and collaborative partnerships.

“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,” she said.

 Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand CEO, Vincent So said that "The Asthma and Airways Career Development Fellowship underscores the commitment of TSANZ and the National Asthma Council Australia to cultivate excellence in respiratory research and improve health outcomes for communities across Australia and New Zealand,". He added that "We are thrilled to support Associate Professor Peters in her endeavours, confident that her work will significantly advance our understanding of asthma and allergies in children."

Associate Professor Rachel Peters – further background

Associate Professor Peters is an accomplished epidemiologist and recognised as an emerging expert in allergic and respiratory diseases. As Head of the Epidemiology Program of the Population Allergy research group at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, she leads a growing research program on the causes and consequences of childhood allergic disease. Her research continues to inform the global understanding of the causes and impacts of childhood food allergy.

*HealthNuts is a longitudinal study of childhood food allergy and asthma that recruited over 5000 infants between 2007-11 and has followed them up at multiple time points until adolescence. It has achieved impressive participation of ~80% in questionnaires and ~60% in clinical assessment, including objective measures of food allergy and lung function. Validation of the asthma prediction model will be performed in the EarlyNuts cohort. EarlyNuts replicated HealthNuts methods and sampling frame on a sample of n=1933 infants recruited between 2017-19. The age 6 follow-up is underway.

The aim of the Asthma and Airways Career Development 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 jointly funded by the National Asthma Council Australia and the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand and is to the value of $60,000 for one year.

For further information or an interview with Associate Professor Rachel Peters please contact:

Donna Le Page, Le Page PR Mobile: 0429 825 703

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