What are your research interests?
I study the cellular and molecular mechanisms that drive the evolution and progression of asthma and respiratory infections. My work aims to provide a solid basis for the discovery of new treatments and understandings of a range of respiratory diseases.
Why did you get into research?
To discover fundamental information on biological systems, which are relevant to finding new treatments for diseases. Early in my career I received advice from a close friend’s father. He told me a career in research is a very difficult road, which I needed to think hard about taking.
What would be the ultimate goal for your research?
I work towards the goal of building a platform of knowledge that informs the development of successful treatments. In this translational approach to research, I hope to be able to directly use clinical data to inform basic research studies, which in turn feed into clinical trials and drug developments. This approach to research would ensure new treatments for patients with respiratory diseases.
Another major goal is to continue research in my field through training and mentoring the next generation of researchers. Enabling generational change will ensure our community has excellent researchers in the future and we have a strong health and medical research industry.
Laureate Professor Paul Foster is an internationally renowned researcher known for his work on the mechanisms of asthma, allergy and respiratory infections. His research career has focused on understanding the molecular and cellular regulation and dysregulation of asthma, respiratory diseases and chronic inflammation.
Laureate Professor Foster is a Professor and Chair of Immunology in the School of Biomedical Sciences & Pharmacy at the University of Newcastle. Since moving to Newcastle in 2002, Laureate Professor Foster jointly leads the HMRI Viruses, Infections / Immunity, Vaccines and Asthma (VIVA) Program and is the Director of the University of Newcastle’s Priority Research Centre for Asthma and Respiratory Disease. He is also a visiting Professor at highly prestigious Universities including Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA (2011-2012).
Laureate Professor Foster works in the field of respiratory research and how conditions such as inflammation, infection, immune responses and genetic factors can affect the functioning of the lungs and airways and ultimately contribute to the development of respiratory system diseases. With his team, Laureate Professor Foster has developed several models of airway diseases so they can interrogate different aspects of inflammation, infection and infection/allergen induced exacerbation.
Key players in these responses identified so far by Laureate Professor Foster and his group include cells that regulate immune responses known as T-cells, which produce signaling molecules (known as cytokines) that can dramatically increase inflammation, and also gene products that are able to regulate gene expression without actually altering the DNA makeup of cells. These products include factors known as micro-RNAs (miRNA) and non-coding RNAs (ncRNA).
Another career focus of Laureate Professor Foster is on the translation of basic biomedical science into clinical research, and ultimately to development of new therapeutics.
In conjunction with his colleagues, Laureate Professor Foster holds national grant funding of over $20 million. He has extensive scientific collaborations with leading research investigators, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies including Cambridge University, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the USA and the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories in Melbourne.
He has published extensively in high impact scientific journals such as Nature Medicine, Nature Immunology and the Journal of Experimental Medicine. He is also a sub- editor for the journals of Pharmacology & Therapeutics, Clinical & Experimental Allergy and the Journal Mucosal Immunology. In 2010, he was awarded the prestigious HMRI award for Research Excellence, highlighting his substantial contribution to the research community.
Laureate Professor Foster has successfully supervised over 15 researchers to completion of their post graduate studies and regularly supervises more than 20 students throughout their PhD studies.
- Tertiary teaching
- Preclinical smoking model
- Inflammatory knockout models