Making a difference at Australia's premier respiratory and sleep research institute

“I want to make sure that the next generation of researchers is supported so that they continue to find better treatments.” John Cottam (donor 2016). 

One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is not only working with passionate researchers but engaging with our family of dedicated donors who are just as passionate about improving the lives of people with respiratory and sleep conditions as we are at the Woolcock Institute. 

Foresight and commitment, from our donors, volunteers and researchers, form the foundation on which our 250 world-class specialised clinicians and researchers come together, one research project at a time. Our Respiratory and Sleep Clinics are at the forefront of cutting-edge research and this enables them to deliver high quality medical care based on the new knowledge and new guidelines, created by our research leaders. Our researchers and clinicians truly lead the world in the diagnosis and management of respiratory and sleep conditions.

Our Research

Our sleep researchers are working toward better understanding sleep disorders from the diagnosis, management, prognosis and prevention perspectives. One of our projects is looking for biomarkers (naturally occurring chemicals) in the blood, to assess circadian, sleep and alertness states, for those who may be prone to sleep disorders.  Our research is assessing the individual vulnerability to sleep disorders of shift workers and testing integrated interventions for alertness management in the healthcare setting.  We are also investigating body clock disorders in a range of chronic diseases including thoseaffecting the brain, (eg dementia), metabolic function (eg diabetes), airways (eg asthma/COPD), heart diseases and mood disorders. 

In respiratory research, we are breathing new discoveries into better understanding the intricate relationship between viral infections and children with asthma.  In the field of severe resistance asthma, we are set to change the paradigm of how asthma is treated with an Australia-wide network of researchers and clinicians.  Further, we are assessing the risk factors for respiratory disease within populations with regard to our environment and air quality, which will ultimately create a lasting impact on urban and transport planning policies. 

I am also very proud to announce, the Woolcock will be home to the Lung Cancer Research Network, bringing together leading researchers from over 20 hospitals, research centres, universities and organisations with the united goal to better understand, treat and prevent this under-researched killer.  As Australia’s very first dedicated research centre to lung cancer with a network of researchers and clinicians, this exciting initiative will enable the sharing of data and launch large multidisciplinary projects to rapidly progress our understanding of lung cancer.

In another Australian first, as part of our continued study into chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and with the generous support of a private donation, The Woolcock Emphysema Centre will be launched in July this year. The Centre will focus on developing new diagnostics, therapies and drug delivery technologies, and ultimately uncover the cause of the disease with the hope of finding a cure for emphysema. 
I am also delighted to report, our two new clinics dedicated to paediatric sleep study and allergy, commenced in late 2014, are providing the best possible treatment and making a difference in the quality of life for our small patients, not to mention a much needed relief for their parents. 

“Flawless facilities. Flawless service from all.  Your involvement in research and education to help others is why I support the Woolcock.” Andrew Sexton (donor 2016, father of a Sleep Clinic child patient).

Current funding needs

But the work does not stop here.  Just like all research institutes, the Woolcock must apply to the Federal Government’s National Health and Medical Research Council for much needed funding.  Unfortunately, the level of government funding is finite and evermore dwindling.  Last year, only 14% of research projects across Australia received funding.  Against this dire statistic, for every dollar the Woolcock raises through research grants and the clinics, we must raise another 65 cents to make the research happen, every year! 

We rely on our supporters

You and your support are fundamental to our research, and we rely on the generosity and vision of our supporters. Your donation is vital to the impact that we can have on the respiratory and sleep health of the wider community, which relies on the knowledge we generate through our research.
By making a donation to our annual giving programs, leaving a bequest in your Will or championing a special project, you will help the Woolcock and its research leaders put their energies and knowledge together, symbiotically move their collective knowledge forward and continue to make a difference to the quality of life of those with respiratory and sleep conditions.
Please donate today, online at
Thank you

Professor Carol Armour
Executive Director

P.S: There are so many more worthy research projects which I could not mention in this letter. Click here if you’d like to find out more about our research and to read our most recent 2014 – 2015 Annual Report, which illustrates our recent achievements.

P.P.S:  Stories of our donors for why they support the Woolcock are available here.