What causes adult asthma, COPD and sleep disordered breathing

Project Details

Chronic Respiratory Diseases (CRD) are major public health problems. In Australia, CRDs are the third leading cause of disability, the fifth leading cause of premature mortality and the third leading cause of total burden of disease. COPD (which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema) and asthma are the two major contributors to the burden of CRD.  Asthma is a National Health Priority Area (NHPA). COPD is the most prominent of those chronic diseases with high disease burden that are not currently a focus of the NHPA initiative, but the ageing of the population it likely to see it become a NHPA. Progress has been slow in understanding modifiable risk factors in adult asthma and COPD – an understanding that is critical to preventing and managing these diseases more effectively. As such, adult asthma and COPD together remain the most enigmatic of adult chronic diseases.  Sleep disordered breathing is another CRD that is becoming a becoming major public health problem, with its increasing prevalence and its consequences. It also has significant interrelationships with asthma and COPD. This study will investigate genetic risk factors, biological markers,  clinical predictors and risk factors for these CRDs using the worlds' largest respiratory study that span over 6 decades.


Professor Shyamali Dharmage

Dr John Burgess

Associate Professor Lyle Gurrin

Professor John Hopper

Professor Mark Jenkins

Dr Caroline Lodge

Dr Adrian Lowe

Dr Jennifer Perret

Professor Michael Abramson (Monash University)

Professor Peter Freith (Adelaide University)

Dr Garun Hamilton (Monash Medical Centre)

Professor Allan James (University of Western Australia)

Dr Melanie Matheson (Telstra Health)

Dr Stephen Morrson (Royal Brisbane Hospital, Queensland)

Professor Paul Thomas (University of New South Wales)

Professor Haydn Walters (University of Tasmania)


National Health and Medical Research Council

This project is part of the Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study

Research Publications

Research Group

Allergy and Lung Health

Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

Prevention and management of non-communicable diseases (including cancer), and promotion of mental health

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics

MDHS Research library
Explore by researcher, school, project or topic.