Working on the frontline as a clinical pharmacist during the COVID-19 pandemic exposed me to many challenges, however one that resonated with me was how many of my regular elderly, asthmatic and COPD patients were forced to change their lifestyle in isolation. The majority of asthma and COPD flares are caused by viral infection, and with a novel virus circulating, these patients were at high risk of severe illness.
We know that other novel viruses like SARS-CoV-2 are likely to appear, and this means we need better ways of treating viral induced flare ups of asthma and COPD. This is what drove me to use my skill and experience with targeted nanomedicines to address the gap in treatments for patients with inflammatory lung disease.
What would be your ultimate goal for research?
A goal of my research would be to develop a formulation that can address the current gaps we have in medications available for Australians living with inflammatory lung disease. This type of treatment could pave the way for more similar products to be made available, with potential to change how we think about treatments for inflammatory lung disease on a global scale.
Thomas is a PhD candidate and registered clinical pharmacist currently working in the labs of Dr Roger Liang and A/Prof Nathan Bartlett.
Thomas completed a Bachelor of Pharmacy with First Class Honours at the University of Newcastle. His Honours thesis was entitled: Microfluidic Formulation of Polymeric Nanoparticles for Biomedical Applications. It focused on developing novel nanoparticle formulation methods for use in targeted therapies. He was able to present his work at the Australasian Council for Undergraduate Research (ACUR) Conference in 2019.
Thomas then went on to complete his internship as a clinical pharmacist. During this time, he was able to see how patients with inflammatory lung diseases such as asthma and COPD were lacking in treatment options when they have a flare up. This inspired him to return to the laboratory and combine his interests to undertake a PhD developing novel nanoparticle formulations for use in patients with inflammatory lung diseases.
When ready for a clinical trial, these therapies could revolutionise how we think about treatments for asthmatic and COPD patients.
Outside of work, Thomas enjoys leading an active lifestyle by participating in group running events.
To provide more safe, effective and easy to use treatment options for patients living with inflammatory lung diseases.