PhD top-up scholarships supporting our emerging asthma research (Paige Dent)

Paige Dent Paige Dent

University of Newcastle

Asthma Australia is proud to support the careers of our future asthma researchers! One of the ways we do this is through PhD top-up scholarships to support researchers during their studies.

Paige is currently undertaking her PhD at the University of Newcastle, after completing her honours year in 2022. For the last two years, Paige has also worked as a behaviour therapist with young children with neurodevelopmental conditions, which has led her to this research project.

In her PhD, Paige hopes to explore the link between childhood asthma and neurodevelopmental outcomes, which is currently not well known. This new knowledge from Paige’s PhD might help lead to earlier detection of neurodevelopmental differences in children with or at risk of asthma, and a better understanding of the role of inflammation in disease process.

Project Status: In progress

Grant Type: PhD grant


Why was funding this research important?

There is a high prevalence of both asthma (11% of the population) and neurodevelopmental conditions (10% of children) in Australia. Asthma is the leading cause of burden of disease for children. Neurodevelopmental disorders impact children’s schooling through missing school days due to symptoms and management and difficulties in school learning and environment.

Paige’s PhD project will include two key components:

  1. Reviewing all the existing evidence on children who have asthma and neurodevelopmental conditions (a systematic review)
  2. Using the Breathing for Life Trial birth cohort participants to examine:
    1. The neurodevelopmental traits in pre-school aged children,
    2. The respiratory symptoms and the development of asthma from infancy to preschool age, and
    3. The links and mechanisms of the relationship between asthma and neurodevelopment in children.

“This scholarship from Asthma Australia has given the opportunity to expand my psychology studies, skills and experience into the area of asthma research. On a personal level, as a person with asthma myself, it is important to me to be actively contributing to research about how asthma impacts society and what we can do to improve the outcomes.” – Paige Dent

Paige Dent is supervised by Associate Professor Vanessa Murphy and Dr Olivia Whalen