PhD scholarships


Katrina Lambert

Title: Early Life Risk Factors of Allergic Respiratory Disease: Investigating changing climatic conditions as a potential early life risk factor on the development of allergic respiratory disease in young adults

Asthma is the most common long-term chronic condition diagnosed in childhood and we still do not fully understand what causes it. Recently, Erbas et al. (2013) showed that birth during the peak grass pollen season and actual exposure to high levels during the first 6 months of life increased risk of allergic disease (asthma and hay fever) in children at age 6 years. Low serum vitamin D levels at birth have been shown to be early life risk factors for the development of asthma and allergies (Weiss and Litonjua 2011). Other potential factors and how they interact with established exposures have yet to be investigated in detail.
In Australian, Asthma affects 11.4% of boys and 7.2% of girls between 0-14 (ABS 2012).
We know very little of the role of air pollution, grass pollen, vitamin D, changing climatic conditions such as heatwaves, bushfires and periods of extreme thunderstorm activity as early life exposures – at birth and subsequent childhood years and how other factors interact with them on the development of asthma and hay fever from infant to young adult.
This research aims to evaluate changing climatic conditions as a potential early life risk factor on the development of allergic respiratory disease in Australian children.
This research will utilize a longitudinal study design with data from birth and up to age 18 years available from the Childhood Asthma Prevention Study (CAPS).
Findings from this study may provide evidence that supports the hypothesis that there is a critical window at birth and infancy and continual exposure over the childhood years affect and shape the long term development of asthma and allergies.

Supervisor: Bircan Erbas


Jenna MacNab

Title:

Supervisor: Christine Bigby