What are your research interests?
I am interested in the mechanisms responsible for the early development of allergic diseases.
Asthma: The development of asthma in early life is strongly linked to susceptibility to respiratory viral infections. I am interested in understanding the nature of this link and what can be done to reduce the high rates of asthma in Australia.
Food Allergy: I am working on a new blood test to measure the severity of peanut allergy. This is a world first as current methods are inaccurate and do not give a good indication of allergy severity.
Eosinophilic Oesophagitis: a relatively rare disorder that affects both children and adults with symptoms including difficulty swallowing, heartburn, vomiting with meals and food becoming stuck in the oesophagus. Current treatment options are limited, with many patients not responding to the dietary modifications or drugs available. My work is focused on developing new treatments and less invasive methods of diagnosis and disease monitoring.
Why did you get into research?
Since a young age I have been fascinated by the intricate design of the world and the bodies we live in. Yet we all have friends and family who have been limited by poor health and even modern medicine often has little hope to offer. A career in medical research allows me to use my gifts, time and energies developing corrections for debilitating disease, always endeavouring to restore function to the brilliance of the original design.
What would be the ultimate goal for your research?
Ultimately the aim of my research efforts is for less children to have asthma and food allergy. Those who are still affected will have access to better diagnosis and treatment options.
Dr Collison was awarded his PhD in 2012 and since that time has been a post-doctoral researcher in the Experimental and Translational Respiratory Medicine Group at HMRI. His PhD thesis focused upon modulating miRNA (mediators of genetic expression) and TRAIL signalling pathways (normal regulators of cell death) in the allergic airways as novel treatment strategies for allergic asthma.
Since relocating to the HMRI Building, he has collaborated with several clinicians based at the John Hunter Children’s Hospital on the same campus to explore both the role of TRAIL signalling in eosinophillic oesophagitis and the development of novel biomarker approaches for the detection of food allergy. In addition he has a particular interest in the role of asthma exacerbations and rhinovirus infections (the common cold) during pregnancy, and the impact this has on the development of allergy in childhood.
Dr Collison has received over 20 awards for his research including the 2015 University of Newcastle Priority Research Centre for Asthma early career award, 2014 Thrasher Research Fund (USA) Early Career Award and the 2011 Hunter Children's Research Foundation Achievement in Research Award.
Improving the management of allergic disease for our kids through the identification of less invasive clinical tools and development of new treatments where current therapies are limited.
- Models of Rhinovirus induced exacerbation of allergic airways disease
- Models of Eosinophilic Oesophagitis
- Preclinical lung function
- Luminex based protein assay
- Enzyme-linked Immunoassay (ELISA)
- Semi-quantitative histological analysis,
- Immuno florescence microscopy
ABC Newcastle interview with Kia Handley - 19 March 2019