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Phone
Alison Hey-Cunningham +61 2 9515 6651    

Email
alison.hey-cunningham@sydney.edu.au

Address
Centre of Research Excellence in Pulmonary Fibrosis
Respiratory Medicine and Sleep Unit
Level 11, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Camperdown NSW 2050

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Dr Christina Begka - Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr Christina Begka completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Ioannina in Greece. She performed her Masters in Medical Biology in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Subsequently, she completed her PhD in the Immunology and Cancer at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, where as part of her studies she was trained as a specialist in murine endoscopic and diagnostic procedures. Immediately after her PhD, Dr. Begka joined the Respiratory Immunology Group at Monash University on the Alfred Hospital precinct. Building upon her endoscopy expertise, Dr. Begka has established cutting-edge bronchoscopic methods for simulating fibrotic diseases (silicosis and IPF models) in mice that faithfully recapitulate human disease pathophysiology. Her current research in silicosis is supported by a 3-year Fellowship from the Dust Disease Board, iCare of NSW. Dr. Begka is also part of an NHMRC funded team that established a multi-omics analysis pipeline (lipidome, metabolome, gene expression) of broncho-alveolar lavage fluid from lung transplantation recipients at the Alfred Hospital, which is currently being employed to characterise the lung environment of these patients with a view to predicting lung allograft health trajectories.


Dr Chris Brereton – Clinician 

Chris has recently completed his training as a respiratory physician at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney. He has recently returned from a 3 year clinical research fellowship in Southampton, UK where he delivered clinical trials for novel treatments in interstitial lung disease. He is also undertaking a translational science-based PhD with the University of Southampton, investigating the causes and biomechanical effects of changes to collagen cross-linking in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. He aims to bridge the divide between translational research and clinical medicine in order to increase our understanding of the mechanisms driving pulmonary fibrosis and deliver better treatment options for patients


 

Dr Alexandra Brown - Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr Alexandra Brown is based in the School of Biomedical Science and Pharmacy at the University of Newcastle where she is investigating the role and therapeutic targeting of iron metabolism in IPF/fibrosis as well as other respiratory diseases. She completed her undergraduate degree (and received the University Medal) and PhD in immunology and microbiology at the University of Newcastle.


Dr Britt Clynick - Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr Clynick completed a Bachelor of Science with first class Honours in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Western Australia, where she continued on in the department to complete her PhD in 2018 in the field of Cancer Genomics. Subsequently, she worked for the Institute of Respiratory Health at the Harry Perkins Research Institute in Perth, with a main research focus on interstitial lung disease, particularly in the molecular processes underlying idiopathic lung fibrosis. Britt is now doing a postgraduate medical degree at UWA.


Dr Sheetal Deshpande

Dr Sheetal Deshpande completed her FRACP training in Respiratory and Sleep in 2020. She is now undertaking a Fellowship in Interstitial Lung Disease at the Alfred Hospital as well as a Masters through Monash University to develop a Telehealth model of care for patients with interstitial lung disease. She aims to improve the diagnostic process as well as access to specialist care for patients with interstitial lung disease.


Dr Leona Dowman - Postdoctoral Fellow

Leona is a senior exercise physiologist in the pulmonary rehabilitation program at Austin Health in Melbourne. She completed her PhD in ‘Therapeutic interventions in interstitial lung disease. Exercise training and supplemental oxygen’ through the La Trobe University, Melbourne. For her PhD she led a multi‐site randomised controlled trial which defined the benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation for ILD across disease subgroups, published in 2017 in Thorax.

Leona currently holds a postdoctoral position Monash University, under Prof Anne Holland. Her main role is to develop and conduct the first randomised controlled trial, across four Australian centres, comparing the  clinical benefits of a high intensity interval training protocol to the standard continuous exercise training method used in pulmonary rehabilitation in people with fibrotic interstitial lung disease.

Dr Mariana Hoffman Barbosa - Postdoctoral Fellow

Mariana is doctor in rehabilitation science from Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais and KU Leuven. During her PhD she worked with inspiratory muscle training for patients with advanced lung diseases and on the waiting list for lung transplantation. She completed her master in Adapted Physical Activity in KU Leuven, Belgium and her PhD in Cardiorespiratory Rehabilitation in the Einstein Hospital in São Paulo. She is a respiratory physiotherapist and has been working providing pulmonary rehabilitation, in private practice, to patients with lung fibrosis and COPD.

She is  currently a research fellow at Monash University (postdoctoral position) under Prof Anne Holland. She is the clinical trial manager of the PFOX trial. The PFOX trial will investigate the effects of ambulatory oxygen therapy during exercise to patients with fibrotic interstitial lung disease across 4 Australian centres and 2 Swedish centres.


Dr Jade Jaffar - Postdoctoral Fellow

2018 recipient of the Lung Foundation Australia/Lizotte Family Research Award for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) Research.

Dr Jaffar established the Alfred Lung Fibrosis Biobank (ALF Bank) in collaboration with Prof Glen Westall. Since 2015, the ALF Bank has functioned as a biorepository of clinical lung samples from patients with pulmonary fibrosis and donor lungs which are not suitable for use in transplantation. Dr Jaffar runs the experimental laboratory arm of Prof Westall's research platform, which involves pre-clinical drug development with a variety of academic and industry partners. Dr Jaffar is a fellow of the American Thoracic Society and member of the CREATE Program Advisory Committee. Dr Jaffar's career and research interests include: Interstitial lung disease; the extracellular matrix; pulmonary fibrosis and therapy/biomarker development.

Dr Adelle Jee - Clinician and Postdoctoral Fellow

Recipient of the Lung Foundation Australia's David Wilson PhD Scholarship.

After completing her FRACP in Respiratory and Sleep Medicine in 2015, Dr Adelle Jee commenced her career in clinical research with a PhD at the University of Sydney and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. Dr Jee’s project aimed to characterise patients who fit proposed criteria for "Idiopathic Pneumonia with Autoimmune Features" (IPAF) and investigate the role of traditional and novel diagnostic techniques for connective tissue disease associated interstitial lung disease (CTD-ILD).

Dr Jee’s motivation to pursue clinical research was shaped by her real-life experience and many unanswered questions faced when managing patients with ILD. Although her main research focus is on interstitial lung disease, particularly of an idiopathic and autoimmune aetiology, she also has interests in the clinical management of patients with general respiratory and sleep disorders. 


Dr Gang Liu - Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr Gang Liu obtained his PhD in Prof Phil Hansbro's lab at Hunter Medical Research Institute and the University of Newcastle (UoN) in 2016. His PhD study is on extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins regulate tissue remodelling and fibrosis in lung disorders, in particular idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) using experimental in vivo and ex vivo models. He received Lung Foundation Australia/Lizotte Family Research Award for IPF 2016 on ECM in IPF study during his PhD. He did his first postdoctoral training at the same group on mast cells regulate inflammation and airway/lung remodelling in lung fibrosis. He then started his postdoctoral research fellow position from 2017-2019 on tissue remodelling during gut-lung axis at UoN.

Dr Liu started his lecturer position at UTS in late 2019 and joined the Centre for Inflammation at UTS/Centenary Institute as a postdoctoral research fellow to lead the fibrosis research program. His current research is to understand the mechanism of ECM proteins regulating lung fibrosis and inflammation in IPF and identify novel therapeutic options for IPF.


Dr Monica Lu - Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr Wenying Lu (a.k.a. Monica) is a Postdoctoral Researcher and Laboratory Manager with the Respiratory Translational Research Group at the University of Tasmania, Launceston. Her current research interests involve microbial pathogenesis in IPF and LAM, including implications for COVID-19.  Dr Lu is also actively investigating the role of epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) and endothelial to mesenchymal transition (EndMT) in patients with IPF and LAM. She is very enthusiastic to enhance her understanding on ILDs.

Dr Lu was awarded with her PhD degree in 2017 from the School of Pharmacy, University of Tasmania, examining the biological and behavioural markers of smoking reduction. Dr Lu is also manager of the Tasmanian Respiratory Tissue Bank, and Coordinator of the Tasmanian Lung Cancer Registry. Her other research interests involve understanding the pathogenesis of COPD, lung cancer, and asthma and COPD overlap (ACO).  She is also investigating the effects of electronic cigarettes/vaping on human lung cellular changes.


Dr Sionne Lucas

Sionne completed a Bachelor of Medical Science at Flinders University, Adelaide, in 2014. She then moved to the Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania, where she studied the genetics of an eye disease, keratoconus. Based on this research, she was awarded a Bachelor of Medical Research with First Class Honours in 2015 and a PhD in 2019.  

Dr Lucas is currently a postdoctoral fellow, coordinating for the Genetics Research in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (GRIPF) Study. Her research aims to identify the genetic cause of IPF in families and individuals with familial ILD. Her role spans all phases of the study, including coordinating patient recruitment, bioinformatic analyses and laboratory experiments to determine the functional impact of identified genetic variants. To date, this work has identified potentially disease-causing variants in nine Australian families, including novel variants in TERT, RTEL1 and SFTPA2. Furthermore, Dr Lucas’s work has identified potentially disease-causing variants in four novel IPF genes.


Dr Paris Papagianis

Paris is a junior post-doctoral research scientist working with A/Prof Jane Bourke. Paris' research expertise is in lung cell biology and respiratory function. Paris completed her PhD at Monash University/University of WA exploring the efficacy of steroidal and cell therapies for ventilation-induced lung injury in preterm lambs as a model of preterm birth care. Paris then completed post-doc at RMIT working on understanding the cellular diversity of stromal cells in the lung and their roles in tissue repair and fibrosis. Paris' research at RMIT profiled temporal changes in the stromal landscape of the lungs after lung injury; where she pioneered unique flow cytometry sorting strategies, stem cell cell assays and lung organoid cultures. Paris' new post-doc appointment with A/Prof Bourke involves developing highly translatable human lung tissue models of fibrosis and silicosis disease to examine disease pathogenesis and novel therapeutics.


 

Dr Ashleigh Philp - Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr Philp is an Early Career Research Officer and the recent recipient of the Graham Painton Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship at St Vincent’s Clinical School, UNSW Medicine. Her research includes identifying novel therapeutic targets in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and to improve lung allograft patient outcome and identify therapeutic strategies to prevent chronic lung allograft dysfunction. She gained her PhD in 2017 from the Centre of Inflammation and Ageing at the University of Birmingham, UK, examining the role of adipose secreted cytokines in driving the pathological changes in osteoarthritis. She has received expert training in inflammation research and how systemic changes in cellular stress lead to alterations in fibrosis, utilising proteomics, metabolomics and Next Generation sequencing.


Dr Jyotika Prasad - Clinician and Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr Jyotika Prasad is a Respiratory and Sleep physician at the Alfred and Royal Melbourne hospital who has now completed her doctoral studies through Monash University. Dr Prasad's research interests include physiology of disease progression in IPF and LAM as well as understanding and improving diagnostic processes for patients with interstitial lung disease.


Dr Dino Tan - Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr Dino Tan is a post-doctoral researcher within the Centre for Respiratory Health, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Western Australia, based at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research. He manages the Stem Cell Unit, Institute for Respiratory Health with A/Prof Yuben Moodley and has an appointment as a Research Officer in the Cell and Tissue Therapies WA in Royal Perth Hospital. He completed his PhD in 2011 in the area of HIV immunology.

Dr Tan has a background in cellular and molecular immunology, respiratory and stem cell research. His current research focus is on the characterization of biomarkers and mechanisms of IPF and COPD pathogenesis while seeking new strategies through cellular (e.g. mesenchymal stromal cells) and immune-based therapies to treat lung disease and the associated chronic inflammation.


Hayley Barnes

Dr Hayley Barnes - Clinician and PhD Student

Hayley Barnes completed her FRACP training in 2018 and is now working as a Respiratory and Sleep Physician. She is currently undertaking her PhD in Improving Clinical and Biological Approaches to Improving Diagnostic Confidence of Chronic Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis through the Alfred Hospital and the University of California, San Francisco. She has also completed degrees in Biomedical Science, Masters of Public Health, and has been working for the Cochrane Collaboration for over 10 years.

She is passionate about good quality research for ILD, is an Editor of the Cochrane Pain and Palliative Care Review Group, and a tutor in statistics and epidemiology at Monash University. She is supported by an NHMRC scholarship and has previously received the LFA/Cochrane Airways Scholarship. 


Dr Ingrid Cox - Clinician and PhD Student

Ingrid is currently a PhD student at the Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania researching idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in Australia. After completing her medical degree in Cuba, she worked as a physician at the national public hospital in St. Lucia for seven years after which she worked with the local Ministry of Health in public health and policy in the field of HIV. Ingrid has since then worked with regional governmental agencies in the Caribbean (Caribbean Public Health Agency and CARICOM Secretariat) in the area of public health policy and planning, taking a break in 2014 to complete a Master’s Degree in Health Economics and Policy at the University of Adelaide. Ingrid’s research during her PhD will focus on the epidemiological profile of IPF in Australia, quality of life of persons living with IPF and the economic burden with the aim of developing a disease simulation model to predict patient outcomes and evaluate the cost-effectiveness of interventions for IPF


 

Ms Archana Gaikwad - PhD Student

Archana Gaikwad is a PhD student at University of Tasmania, Launceston campus. Her doctoral research investigates role of endothelial to mesenchymal transition (EndoMT) in pulmonary hypertension and interstitial fibrosis in IPF. She had been awarded with Lung Foundation Australia/ David Wilson CREATE PhD scholarship in IPF research 2019. Before starting her doctorate, had the experience of over 10 years in global companies including GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Becton, Dickinson (BD) Medical. She has worked with global organisation such as World Health Organization (WHO), FIND- TB organisation, Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) and regulatory agencies across the world. She also has expertise in managing each aspects of the clinical trials (Phase I- IV) for newly developed therapeutic treatments and diagnostics. She holds a postgraduate certificate in clinical trial management from National University of Singapore and a master’s degree in microbiology from India.


Dr Laura Glenn – Clinician and PhD Student 

Dr Laura Glenn is a Respiratory Consultant at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and is also commenced a PhD in 2020 within the RPAH Interstitial Lung Diseases Unit. Her research focuses on the use of novel diagnostic tests in interstitial lung disease, investigating previously unidentified or poorly understood pathobiologic pathways and biomarkers in interstitial lung diseases such as IPF, which will have implications for diagnosis, prognostication and treatment of ILD. S he hopes that it will contribute to more easily accessible, accurate and safe diagnostic pathways for patients with ILD.

Her long term goal is to become a Respiratory Physician in a teaching hospital, contributing to education and clinical research with a particular focus on interstitial lung disease and bronchiectasis.


Ms Giulia Iacono - PhD Student

Giulia Iacono received her Bachelor of Science with first class Honours in Respiratory Immunology at Monash University in Melbourne in 2019, during which she developed a strong interest in the epithelial and immunological processes that underlie the development of pulmonary fibrosis. She is currently undertaking her PhD under the co-supervision of Prof Ben Marsland at the Central Clinical School, Monash University, and Prof Glen Westall, from the Alfred Hospital. Using a multidisciplinary approach, including bioinformatics on bronchoalveolar lavage from lung transplant patients, in vitro air-liquid interface mammalian cell cultures, and an in vivo mini bronchoscopy technique in a fibrosis mouse model, her research investigates the pulmonary microbiome during inflammation and fibrosis, with a focus on elucidating fundamental host-microbe interactions and metabolites underpinning respiratory health and disease.


Ms Joanna Lee – PhD Student

Joanna is a researcher with translational research experience in various disciplines. In recent years, she has been working with Prof Anne Holland and her team at Alfred Health in Melbourne. She has spent some time working on projects that mainly involve individuals living with pulmonary fibrosis and their caregivers. In 2020, she commenced a PhD at Monash University under Prof Holland's supervision. Her project focuses on self management in pulmonary fibrosis.


Mr Roger Li - PhD Student

Roger Li is a PhD student at the Institute for Respiratory Health, Perth. He commenced his PhD with the University of Western Australia in 2021 after completing a First Class Honours in Biomedical Science in 2020. He is seeking to understand the effects of antifibrotic drug therapy in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and identify predictive circulatory biomarkers.


Dr John Mackintosh - Clinician and PhD Student

Dr John Mackintosh (BSc, MBBS(Hons), FRACP) is a recently qualified Respiratory and Lung Transplant Physician at The Prince Charles Hospital, Brisbane. In 2018, John completed a clinical fellowship in interstitial lung disease at the prestigious Royal Brompton Hospital, London. John has developed a keen interest in familial pulmonary fibrosis and the genetics of interstitial lung disease. He is a strong advocate for patients with interstitial lung disease and is passionate about the multi-disciplinary approach to these patients. He has recently been part of a collaboration who were awarded funding through the Medical Research Future Fund to conduct a clinical trial of danazol in people with pulmonary fibrosis related to telomere shortening.


Dr Jennifer Mann - Clinician and PhD Student

Dr Jennifer Mann is a Respiratory and Sleep Physician with a special interest in symptom management in interstitial lung disease. Having attained her FRACP in early 2019, she undertook a 12-month clinical fellowship in interstitial lung disease at The Royal Brompton Hospital in London. Her undergraduate studies included a Bachelor of Pharmacy and Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery at the University of Queensland. She commenced a PhD in 2020 on Cough in Interstitial Lung Disease with the Institute for Breathing and Sleep and the University of Melbourne.  


Dr Matthew Parker - Clinician and PhD Student

Dr Matthew Parker is a rheumatologist with a special interest in connective tissue and autoimmune diseases. He completed his FRACP in 2017 with a fellowship in Manchester, UK, funded by the Leanne Stafford Award, researching idiopathic inflammatory myopathies. He works at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and is a Clinical Lecturer at The University of Sydney.

He considers that an early accurate diagnosis of CTD-ILD is of paramount importance in delivering appropriate management and is planning to complete a PhD studying the pulmonary manifestations of connective-tissue diseases.


Ms Debra Sandford – Clinical Psychologist and PhD Student

Debra Sandford holds an affiliate appointment as a senior clinical psychologist research fellow at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and runs a private clinical psychology practice in the Ashford Specialist Centre. Debra returned to The University of Adelaide to undertake a PhD in the Disciplines of Psychiatry and Respiratory Medicine. Her research topic for her PhD investigates the psychological impact of IPF on the patient and their caregivers before and after a psychologically based 6-week group intervention. The aim of the intervention programme is to improve patient and caregiver perceptions on their health-related quality of life.

Debra’s motivation to research this topic and to develop a programme to increase psychological well-being, came about after an IPF patient referred to her private psychology clinic related the significant impact this disease had on his and his wife’s mental health. Currently, there are 3 hospitals, The Royal Adelaide Hospital in South Australia, The Austin and The Royal Melbourne Hospitals in Melbourne, Victoria involved with recruiting participants for this research.


Ms Claudia Sim - PhD Student

Claudia completed a BSc Honours degree with High Distinction on a silicosis-related project under the supervision of A/Prof Jane Bourke in the Respiratory Pharmacology Laboratory at Monash University. During her time there, she developed a research interest in pathophysiologies that underlie fibrotic lung diseases like silicosis, and potential treatments that may attenuate or reverse lung fibrosis. She worked as a research assistant for a year and commenced her PhD in the same laboratory in 2021, focused on identifying and characterising novel treatments for Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and silicosis. 


Dr Alan Teoh - Clinician and PhD Student

Dr Alan Teoh is a respiratory and sleep physician at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital where he is involved in the ILD clinic. He also holds a postgraduate Fellow position at Westmead Hospital and co-runs the ILD service there. Alan is undertaking a PhD at the University of Sydney and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. His research is focused on IPF but includes other forms of ILD.

Dr Teoh completed his Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery at the University of Tasmania. He completed his BPT training at RPA hospital and continued his respiratory advanced training at Westmead Hospital. He has a special interest in interstitial lung diseases, particularly idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.


 

Dr Claire Thomson - Clinician and PhD Student


Dr Qiang Zheng - PhD Student

Dr Qiang Zheng completed his Master’s Degree of general surgery (including gastric cancer, colon cancer and rectal cancer) and received 3-year standardised training for surgical residents at the First Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University. Then, he worked as an anaesthetist for six months. Currently, he is undertaking his PhD at the Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania, focussing on the epidemiology, health and economic burden of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in Australia.