I am a PhD student with the Respiratory and Molecular Biology Group, at the Woolcock Institute. I completed a Bachelor of Science at the University of Sydney with my majors in Pharmacology and Immunology. In my third year of my undergraduate degree I did a small research project with my current supervisor, Dr. Brian Oliver and since then he hasn't been able to get rid of me. After that I stayed on to complete my honours year with the same group before taking a year off to travel. I couldn't stay away long and came back to do a PhD.
Many people with asthma have a lot of trouble during the cold and flu seasons where they get more asthma attacks and their puffers don't seem to work as well. We think that their immune system is not as good at tackling the infection as people who don't have asthma and that's why they get sick for longer. I am focusing on a particular cell, the neutrophil, which is responsible for initiating an immune response and controlling the spread of the infection. We hope that by understanding how this vital immune cell works we can tailor new treatments to help bolster the immune system during these high risk times.
Tang, F. S.M., Van Ly, D., Spann, K., Reading, P. C., Burgess, J. K., Hartl, D., Baines, K. J. and Oliver, B. G. (2016), Differential neutrophil activation in viral infections: Enhanced TLR-7/8-mediated CXCL8 release in asthma. Respirology, 21: 172–179. doi: 10.1111/resp.12657
Francesca S. M. Tang, Gloria J. Foxley, Peter G. Gibson, Janette K. Burgess, Katherine J. Baines, and Brian G. Oliver, “Altered Innate Immune Responses in Neutrophils from Patients with Well- and Suboptimally Controlled Asthma,” Mediators of Inflammation, vol. 2015, Article ID 219374, 11 pages, 2015. doi:10.1155/2015/219374