Grant for research into impact of bushfire smoke on health


Dr Keshav Raj Paudel, an early career researcher at the Centenary UTS Centre for Inflammation has been awarded the prestigious ‘Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ) Maurice Blackburn Grant-In-Aid for Occupational Lung Disease’ for 2021.

The grant, valued at $20,000, will support Dr Paudel’s research into exploring the impact of bushfire smoke particles on respiratory physiology as well as optimising new treatments for this form of exposure.

Announced at the Annual Scientific Meeting for Leaders in Lung Health and Respiratory Science, the grant was awarded to the applicant with the best research proposal based on scientific quality and scientific innovation, combined with the author’s track record.

“I’m extremely honoured to be recognised with this grant,” said Dr Paudel.

“During bushfire events, firefighters and other frontline responders are exposed to heat, bushfire smoke and particulate matter to an extent that cause stress responses and acute inflammatory changes in the lungs. However, the true extent of damage being done to these individuals is still poorly understood.”

“This research will address the knowledge gap related to the harmful health effects of hazardous bushfire smoke exposure and will provide the evidence base for defining safe exposure levels as well as explore preventive and treatment measures.”

The project will be undertaken by Dr Paudel under the supervision of Professor Phil Hansbro, Director, the Centenary UTS Centre for Inflammation.

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