Pioneering respiratory researcher awarded TSANZ Fellowship

Mar 29 2018

Professor Jodie Simpson

University of Newcastle researcher Professor Jodie Simpson has been named a Fellow of the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (FThorSoc) in recognition of her pioneering expertise and experience in respiratory research.

Professor Simpson’s groundbreaking research regarding the phenotyping of airways disease has overhauled the way asthma is clinically described, with researchers now using standard classifications first defined by Professor Simpson. 

On completion of her PhD at the University of Newcastle in 2005, Professor Simpson embarked on a research career that has rapidly established her as a leading clinical researcher in her field. 

A principal researcher of the University’s Priority Research Centre for Healthy Lungs and a member of the Vaccines, Immunology Viruses and Asthma research group at the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI), Professor Simpson has attracted more than $7.9 million in competitive research funding. 

In 2009 with Conjoint Professor Peter Gibson, Professor Simpson was awarded $2.9m National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grant, the largest project grant awarded at the time, to undertake the Australia-wide multicentre study of macrolide antibiotics in asthma (AMAZES) study. The AMAZES trial, which showed that the antibiotic azithromycin reduces exacerbations and improves quality of life in patients with poorly controlled asthma, irrespective of inflammatory subtype, the findings being published in The Lancet last year. 

Hunter Valley firm Tomago Aluminium provided seed-funding for the AMAZES pilot study through HMRI. 

Professor Simpson, in collaboration Associate Professor Geraint Rogers (South Australian Health and Medical Institute), also leads the severe asthma microbiome and resistome project in Australia. Data from this project provides a significant advance in understanding the composition of the airway microbiome in severe asthma, and is essential to future clinical management of the disorder. 

With an extensive and highly cited publication record, including more than 97 journal articles published in leading journals such as The Lancet, Thorax, Respirology and Nature Medicine, Professor Simpson is a mentor to young biomedical scientists, supervising four PhD students, a Masters student and two Postdoctoral Fellows. 

Professor Simpson’s leadership has been recognised with the award of prestigious research fellowships including an NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence Fellowship in respiratory and sleep medicine (2005 – 2009), and a prestigious four-year Australian Respiratory Council Ann Woolcock Post-doctoral Research Fellowship (2010 – 2014). The University also acknowledged her career success with rapid promotion from lecturer to professor within 10 years of achieving her PhD. In 2016, Professor Simpson was also named HMRI Mid-Career Researcher of the Year.

Professor Simpson’s Fellowship was announced at the TSANZ AGM, which took place on Saturday 24 March at the TSANZ Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) in Adelaide.

* HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.