Australia’s top respiratory health institute will mark International Women’s Day with a lecture from one of the world’s most esteemed women scientists in honour of its own celebrated female founder.
The Woolcock Institute of Medical Research in Sydney has invited world-leading respiratory physician Dirkje Postma, Professor of Pathophysiology at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, to speak on March 8.
The Ann Woolcock Lecture commemorates the institute’s own trailblazing female founder, whose work revolutionised asthma treatment worldwide. With four women on its board and a female director at its helm, the Woolcock has shown it’s serious about nurturing and promoting women in science.
“We’re excited to be able to host such an eminent female researcher at the Woolcock on such important occasion as International Women’s Day,” Executive Director Professor Carol Armour says.
“Like our own Ann Woolcock, Dirkje Postma enjoys international recognition as a scientist who revolutionised our understanding of respiratory illnesses and how to treat them. Thanks to their work, and the work of a growing number of influential women scientists around the world, we’re closer than ever to beating these diseases.”
Professor Postma will use the lecture to talk about exciting developments in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD, the generic term for a number of lung diseases, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis that cause coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.
The disease affects 14 per cent of Australians aged 40 or over, and 29 per cent of those aged 75 or over.[i] There is no cure and while cigarettes are recognised as a key trigger, one in five patients have never smoked.
Professor Postma will detail exciting new developments in the field that are revealing just how complex the condition is. Far from a simple ‘smoker’s disease’, COPD can also be triggered by chemical exposure, premature birth, genetics, ageing, or a combination of these factors. She will explain how this deeper understanding of COPD and its many faces will pave the way to personalised treatment that better suits the individual patient’s disease history.
“To consider a time when patients with COPD will get tailored care specific to their disease is exciting indeed,” Professor Armour. “It heralds the beginning of better, faster, more effective treatment that helps sufferers retain good quality of life for longer.”
The Ann Woolcock Lecture series honours the contribution of Professor Woolcock to the research community. Invited researchers share their ideas with industry, policy makers, fellow academics, doctors, specialists and patients with a view to prompting new collaborations to improve respiratory health.
The lecture, COPD: A Disease With Many Faces, will be held on Wednesday, 8 March at 5.30pm, at the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research headquarters in Glebe, Sydney. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 02 9114 0408.
[i] Toelle, B. G., Xuan, W., Bird, T. E., Abramson, M. J., Atkinson, D. N., Burton, D. L., James, A. L., Jenkins, C. R., Johns, D. P., Maguire, G. P., Musk, A. W., Walters, E., Wood-Baker, R., Hunter, M. L., Graham, B. J., Southwell, P. J., Vollmer, W. M., Buist, A., & Marks, G. B. (2013). Respiratory symptoms and illness in older Australians: The Burden of obstructive Lung Disease (BOLD) study. Medical Journal of Australia, 198(3), 144-148.