24 May 2012
Up and coming asthma researcher, Naomi Baker, is currently undertaking her PhD at the Malaghan Institute with thanks to support from the Rotary Club of Wellington Inc.
The overall goal of Naomis research with Prof Franca Ronchese is the development of a targeted immunotherapy for the treatment of asthma. Her focus so far has been to progress Prof Roncheses research that has shown that specialised immune cells called cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) can dampen down the runaway airway immune responses in an acute model of asthma.
Asthma affects 15% of adults and 15-25% of children in Australasia. Up to half of the affected individuals suffer from allergic asthma, which is caused by their immune systems inappropriately launching an attack against harmless compounds that they breathe in, such as house dust mites.
It is an issue that families in our community have to deal with on a daily basis so it is wonderful to see the support of a local group helping to progress research in this area, says Prof Ronchese.
The Rotary Club of Wellington, the largest Rotary Club in New Zealand, has committed to a scholarship which will assist Naomi through her three year PhD.
I really enjoy being part of a research institute full of others who are also passionate about immunology and research science and I am grateful for the ongoing support from the Rotary Club of Wellington, says Naomi.
PhD student Naomi Baker and Prof Franca Ronchese with Rotary Club of Wellington president James Austin and president-elect Hewitt Humphrey.