ASI ITS Joint Research Bursary 2020

Dr. Laura Walsh announced as recipient of Asthma Research Bursary 2020

The Asthma Society of Ireland, the Irish Thoracic Society and Novartis today announced Dr. Laura Walsh as the winner of the 2020 Asthma Research Bursary worth €10,000.  Dr. Walsh is a second year Specialist Registrar in Respiratory Medicine in Cork University Hospital. Her project entitled; “A study to assess the impact of airway virus on asthma control in non-exacerbating patients,” will examine the lung virome to identify how viral colonisation contributes to asthma control and whether or not there is seasonal variation in the airway viral burden.

Describing her research project, Dr. Laura Walsh explained: “It is well known that asthma exacerbations are often triggered by viral infection[1]. It has also been postulated that recurrent exposure to viral infections such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in childhood increases the risk of later developing asthma particularly if there is a significant family history of asthma[2].

There is emerging evidence that anti-viral activity is altered in those with asthma, making those with asthma more susceptible to infection including superimposed bacterial infection and exacerbations[3].

Despite this, little is known about the lung virome and the role viruses plays in non-exacerbating asthmatics. This research project aims to examine the lung virome to identify how viral colonisation contributes to asthma control and whether or not there is seasonal variation in the airway viral burden.”

The bursary, which is a joint collaboration between the Asthma Society of Ireland, the Irish Thoracic Society and Novartis Ireland, will see the successful applicant(s) granted €10,000 to fund an asthma focused research project that aims to improve the lives of people with asthma and their families.

More information on the Asthma Research Bursary and the application form can be found on www.asthma.ie and www.irishthoracicsociety.com.

Emily Blennerhasset, interim CEO of the Asthma Society said: “We would like to wish the 2020 Asthma Research Bursary recipient, Dr. Laura Walsh, the best of luck with her research project and we are looking forward to seeing the findings of her research.

This bursary is an important initiative to help improve asthma care in Ireland and we are delighted to once again partner with the Irish Thoracic Society and Novartis Ireland to provide an Asthma Research Bursary for 2021.  We look forward to welcoming applications that will further improve our understanding of asthma as a condition.”

Dr Aidan O’Brien, President of the Irish Thoracic Society, said: “The Irish Thoracic Society is delighted to jointly open the call for applications for the Asthma Research Bursary 2021, in what will be the 10th year since the establishment of this important initiative.  In its role of administering the bursary the Irish Thoracic Society research review panel has noted the high standard of research applications submitted in each round of the bursary scheme and successful projects have contributed significantly to knowledge and the clinical care of people with asthma in Ireland.  We know that Dr Walsh’s project will be no exception.”

Audrey Derveloy, Managing Director, Novartis Ireland said: “Novartis are delighted to collaborate with the Asthma Society of Ireland and the Irish Thoracic Society to support the Asthma Research Bursary. This bursary facilitates crucial research in the area of asthma, ultimately improving outcomes for patients in the long-term. We are sure Dr Walsh’s research will be no exception to this, and wish all applicants for the 2021 bursary the very best of luck.”

Applications for the 2021 Asthma Research Bursary are due by 18-01-2021 and should be submitted by email to: info@irishthoracicsociety.com.

For more details of the ASI ITS Bursary Call for Applications, please click HERE.