PhD top-up scholarships supporting our emerging asthma research (Yaqin Alziyadat)

Yaqin Alziyadat Yaqin Alziyadat

The University of Western Australia

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.

Yaqin is currently undertaking her PhD at The University of Western Australia, after completing her honours in 2021. Yaqin’s research area is in basic and discovery science – using cells in laboratories to test theories and explore new questions.

Yaqin hopes her PhD project will provide new knowledge to support the development of therapies that reduce or prevent acute viral respiratory infections in children.

Project Status: In progress

Grant Type: PhD grant


Why was funding this research important?

Children under the age of 5 are known to be particularly vulnerable to acute viral respiratory infections. This can lead to hospital presentations and persistent wheeze, increasing the likelihood that children develop asthma later in childhood.

Oral and inhaled corticosteroids are used for managing asthma and viral-induced wheeze, however, they are not effective in young children. Given the impact of acute viral respiratory infections on children’s early development, it is important to find new strategies to reduce or prevent the viral respiratory infection itself.

Yaqin’s PhD project will focus on ‘OM-85.’ This is an ‘immunomodulating agent’ – something which can start or stop the body’s immune system functions.

OM-85 has already been shown to decrease the number of repeated respiratory tract infections. However, for people experiencing acute viral respiratory infections with wheeze, the immunomodulation responses are not yet well understood.

Yaqin will investigate if and how OM-85 reduces the severity of acute viral respiratory infections in children. This knowledge will help develop new therapies that reduce or prevent these infections.

“This scholarship from Asthma Australia has allowed me to return to and focus on full-time study. It will allow me to give more time and focus on contributing to the global vision of improving lung health in children.” – Yaqin Alziyadat

Yaqin is supervised by Associate Professor Ingrid Laing, Prof Peter Le Souef, A/Prof Anthony Kicic and Dr Thomas Iosifidis.