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Funding boost for asthma and long Covid research

Southampton researchers have been celebrated by the British Medical Association (BMA) Foundation.

Dr Anna Freeman and Dr Ahilanandan Dushianthan from the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) have won research grants from the BMA Foundation.

They were two of four successes for researchers at the University of Southampton. They received their awards at BMA House in London last week.

Treating difficult asthma

Dr Anna Freeman received the James Trust grant for research into asthma.

Her team are working with patients to develop a lifestyle intervention for difficult asthma. This could help address multimorbidity.

Dr Freeman is an Associate Professor and Anniversary Fellow at the University of Southampton. She is also part of the NIHR Southampton BRC’s Respiratory and Allergy theme. She said:

“I am delighted to receive this award from the BMA James Trust.

“The funding will support the delivery of a pilot study of a community based, multimodal intervention to tackle multimorbidity in difficult asthma. This is something which patients and clinicians both agree is necessary.”

Previous work by Dr Freeman and her team has shown that treatable traits can predict future exacerbation risk. These traits include obesity, anxiety and depression, breathing pattern disorders and inactivity.

Their project, known as LIBERTY, will address this through a combined 24-week intervention. Participants will receive exercise training, breathing retraining, and dietary and behaviour change support.

Insights into long Covid

The J Moulton grant was awarded to Dr Ahilanandan Dushianthan.

He is a Consultant in General Intensive Care at University Hospital Southampton. He is also part of our BRC’s Perioperative and Critical Care theme.

This funding will support Dr Dushianthan’s work into long Covid. He is investigating if symptoms could be related to reduced mitochondrial capacity following severe infection. Dr Dushianthan said:

“I am extremely pleased to have secured the J Moulton grant for long Covid research.

“Although most people with COVID-19 recover quickly, some experience lasting symptoms.

“We need to understand why this happens to find new ways of diagnosing and treating long Covid.”

Southampton success

Southampton has four winners in 17 categories. The other award recipients are Prof Rami Salib and Daniel Michalik from the University of Southampton. They received the Vera Down grant for research into neurological disorders.

Their work aims to aims to show that markers specific to Alzheimer’s disease can be detected in the nose. This could enable early diagnosis and monitoring.

Prof Stephen Holgate, Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology at UoS, was also at the event. He delivered the keynote speech.

Image courtesy: BMA Foundation for Medical Research. Dr Ahilanandan Dushianthan (second left) and Dr Anna Freeman (third right) are honoured at BMA House in London.


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