The Australia Cystic Fibrosis Research Trust (ACFRT) Post-Graduate Studentships

The 2015 ACFRT Post Graduate Studentships are awarded

The successful applicants are:

Dr Katherine Frayman - The Royal Childrens Hospital Mebourne

Project  title : Long term outcomes following early inflammation and infection in cystic fibrosis lung disease: twenty year follow up of a birth cohort with cystic fibrosis

Kathryn Frayman    

I am advanced trainee in paediatric respiratory medicine, with a particular interest in cystic fibrosis. I completed a Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (Hons) at Monash University in 2008 and a Bachelor of Medical Science (Hons) in 2005. My BMedSc involved exploring parents’ knowledge and attitudes towards the sexual and reproductive health education of their sons with CF.

I continued my paediatric training in Melbourne, and started my training in paediatric respiratory medicine at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, in 2012.I have been the Cystic Fibrosis Fellow, and more recently, the Clinical Research Fellow in the Department of Respiratory Medicine at RCH.

I am also a PhD candidate in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Melbourne and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. My PhD involves the follow up of a birth cohort of infants diagnosed with CF in Victoria, predominantly by newborn screening, from 1990-1995. It will explore the very long term impact of early lower airway inflammation and infection on the development of CF lung disease.

I have continued my research into the sexual and reproductive health education of young people with CF. In 2015, we published a proposed model of care in Lancet Respiratory Medicine, and together with Cystic Fibrosis Victoria, the Digital Clinic, the Centre for Excellence in Rural Sexual Health and the CF teams at RCH and Monash Children’s Hospital, created Spill, an online educational resource.

I am looking forward continuing to work with young people with CF and their families.

 Dr Samuel Montgomery - The Princess Margaret Hospital for Children Perth

Project title: The role of IL-1α and necrosis leading to neutrophilic inflammation in children with cystic fibrosis and infection in cystic fibrosis lung disease: twenty year follow up of a birth cohort with cystic fibrosis

Samuel Montgomery    

Samuel Montgomery is a PhD candidate at the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth, Western Australia. His project, titled “The role of IL-1α and necrosis leading to neutrophilic inflammation in children with cystic fibrosis”, is focused on understanding the basic mechanisms of airway inflammation caused by airway hypoxia or viral infection, with the view to develop a therapeutic treatment to alleviate exacerbations in children with CF.

Currently Samuel is working on optimising a number of assays to induce hypoxia in cells in the laboratory.  A number of experiments have been performed using a chemical that mimics hypoxia, however results obtained suggest that the chemical is unsuitable for planned experiments. As a result, an anaerobic workstation is required to expose cells to anaerobic atmospheric conditions, however grant applications for funding to purchase this equipment have been unsuccessful thus far, so an alternative has been located though collaboration with an external laboratory.

A novel assay capable of measuring the levels of different methods of cell death after exposure to hypoxia or viral infection was investigated. A fluorescent green marker was used to measure programmed cell death, however there were issues identified during optimisation with the marker staining cells non-specifically. Unprogrammed cell death was measured using a red fluorescent marker, and successful staining was achieved after optimisation. Due to issues with non-specific staining, an alternate method is being investigated using flow cytometry.

Training in methodologies required for future data analysis has been commenced, starting with a quantitative method for scoring computed tomography scans obtained from annual surveillance clinical visits. Analysis of preliminary clinical data from samples sent to collaborators has been commenced, and is being prepared for presentation at multiple upcoming local and national conferences. Preliminary has also been presented at a number of local conferences, garnering positive early feedback. A literature review manuscript discussing mechanisms of airway inflammation caused by airway hypoxia has been prepared and submitted for publication. 

The successful applicants will recieve $30,000 over three years

The award contributes 'Top Up' funding for those post graduate students who are graduates in medicine or science of a recognised tertiary institution normally of at least llA Honours standard, a medical degree or equivalent.

Please note: ACFRT research strategy is being redeveloped and further information will be available in the first half of 2016

All direct enquiries to Cystic Fibrosis Australia via phone (02) 9889 5171 or via cfa1@cfa.org.au