Allergy and Lung Health Unit researchers won both 2019 Picchi Brothers Foundation Prizes for Excellence in Asthma Research

Dr Daisy Dai and Dr Minh Bui

Daisy Dai and Dinh Bui

Daisy Dai and Dinh Bui, postdoctoral fellows from Allergy and Lung Health Unit of the Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, have been recently awarded the 2019 Picchi Brothers Foundation Prizes for Excellence in Asthma Research in recognition of their outstanding contributions in asthma research field.

The Picchi Brothers Foundation was established in 1993 by Pietro and Antonio Picchi with the purpose of supporting asthma and cancer medical research in the State of Victoria. Particularly, the Foundation has consistently supported early career researchers' work towards the prevention and treatment of these two major diseases. Since 2017, the Foundation established PhD prizes which provide $10,000 each to two graduate researchers who are pursuing research relevant to asthma through the University of Melbourne's Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences. This year both prizes to the Allergy and Lung Health Unit reflects its remarkable contributions to asthma research and research training.

Daisy has just completed a PhD in asthma and lung health in April 2020, with the support of a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Scholarship. Her PhD thesis explored the impact of household exposures in interactions with antioxidative stress genes on respiratory health. Over the last 5 years, she has 8 publications (4 as first author), with total 372 citations and a field-weighted citation impact of 2.41 (SciVal). Although Ms Dai has just completed her PhD, her work is already having international impact. Her findings of the effect of paracetamol use during infancy on the risk of asthma in adolescence have been widely disseminated via major media outlets in 2018 including The Times, The Economic Times, Yahoo news, The Sun and many more; and she was interviewed by media representatives regarding this research and its implications. Daisy was supervised by Dr Caroline Lodge (Principal), Prof Shyamali Dharmage, Assoc Prof Adrian Lowe, Assoc Prof Aung Win and Dr John Burgess.

Dinh completed his PhD in 2019 by investigating the role of various risk factors on lung function deficits across the life course and their consequences. His PhD thesis investigated the role of risk factors for and consequences of lung function deficits across the life course and generated 4 peer reviewed papers. These were published in discipline leading journals including Lancet Respiratory Medicine and American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Over the last 5 years, he has 17 publications (8 as first author), with 180 citations and a field-weighted citation impact of 2.43 (SciVal). His work generated a new paradigm and novel risk factors for early life origins of COPD and lung function trajectories. His findings on the long-term benefits of controlling your asthma has made a wide range of media attractions including Pursuit, The Times, Mail Online, Yahoo news and many more. Dinh was supervised by Prof Shyamali Dharmage (Principal), Dr Caroline Lodge, Dr John Burgess and Dr Minh Bui.