ERS Romain Pauwels Research Award 2015

Sejal Saglani Dr Sejal Saglani developed a neonatal mouse model of allergic airways disease as part of a British Lung Foundation research fellowship. The establishment of this model allowed her to obtain a Wellcome Intermediate Clinical Fellowship, followed by a Medical Research Council New Investigator Research Grant. Her research has bridged both basic science and clinical research. She pursues translational research in paediatric severe asthma through collaborations with Clare Lloyd, Professor of Respiratory Immunology and Andrew Bush, Professor of Paediatric Respirology at the National Heart and Lung Institute, UK.

Dr Saglani showed that the pathophysiological abnormalities of asthma develop in parallel and early on in the preschool years. This seminal finding changes our understanding of how remodelling occurs in asthma, dispelling the idea that remodelling occurs only after years of allergen exposure, as it is present even in very young children. She has also shown that airway smooth muscle is the key structural feature that predicts asthma development from preschool wheeze. She has established that severe therapy-resistant asthma in children is eosinophilic, but has little evidence of Th2 cytokines. Moreover, she has highlighted a key role for the innate epithelial cytokine IL-33 as an important mediator in promoting both steroid resistance and airway remodelling in severe paediatric asthma.

ERS Research Director, Professor Maria Belvisi, said "Dr Saglani has a unique expertise in assessing airway remodelling in children with severe asthma. Her discovery that remodelling occurs early on in asthma has changed our understanding of the condition. Her combined investigations using her neonatal mouse model and paediatric bronchoscopic airway samples have led her to establish an exciting translational research programme on preschool wheeze with the ultimate aim of identifying disease modifying therapies for preschool wheeze and childhood severe asthma."

The ERS Romain Pauwels Research Award is a €50,000 grant, financially supported by GlaxoSmithKline, offered for excellence in achievements in clinical research on airway diseases such as asthma. The award is dedicated to the memory of Professor Romain Pauwels (1943–2005) for his efforts in fighting asthma and COPD.

Dr Saglani will be presented with the ERS Romain Pauwels Research Award during the Ground Round: Asthma and smoking: dangerous liaisons on Monday 28 September 2015, from 14:45 in Room 7.1.

Join us for the symposium 'Microbial impacts through the ages', chaired by Dr Saglani