Genomics of asthma mortality due to thunderstorm asthma

Research Opportunity
PhD students, Honours students
Number of Honour Places Available
Department / Centre
Royal Melbourne Hospital
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Prof Jo Douglass 0383445479 Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Vanessa Bryant Personal web page

Summary Thunderstorm asthma is a global phenomenon with Melbourne Australia having the most frequent reports and severe episodes. The episode on 21st November 2016 was the most severe ever recorded and included 10 asthma fatalities. We have (following ethics approval and informed consent from families) obtained samples from 9 of those who died on that night. This project is to explore the genomics of thunderstorm asthma fatalities.

Project Details

The 2016 thunderstorm asthma epidemic in Melbourne Australia was the most severe ever recorded with over 10,000 emergency presentations with asthma and 10 associated asthma fatalities.

We have conducted the Thunderstorm Asthma In Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis (TAISAR) study which has demonstrated risk factors for thunderstorm asthma in those with seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever).  This study has established a data and biobank of samples to support further work in elucidating mechanisms of asthma and allergy.

We have also, with ethics approval and family consent, obtained samples from 9 of the 10 individuals who died from asthma that night. This group of samples will undergo DNA extraction, whole genome sequencing and methylation studies. Analysis of this data is likely to provide information regarding asthma mortality genomic markers.

Our study seeks to further study clinical and genomic risk factor for thunderstorm asthma death by analysing these samples, using appropriate controls from the TAISAR cohort.  This would be an ideal project for a PhD scholar and would be conducted under joint supervision of Dr Vanessa Bryant, WEHI as well as Prof Jo Douglass.

Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

Research Opportunities

PhD students, Honours students
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.

Department / Centre


Research Node

Royal Melbourne Hospital

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