Supporting the investigation into allergic and adverse reactions to the environment is the aim of a new research scholarship established at the University of Newcastle.
The Valentine Badham PhD Scholarship in Immunology will fund a PhD student to research the environmental factors that cause illness and diseases.
Scholarship winner and PhD student Marline Squance is researching the environmental factors that trigger a flare up of symptoms that are experienced by people with lupus. This in many ways is similar to an adverse reaction associated with allergies or a dust mite asthma attack.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect many organs and cells of the body and often presents as inflammation and pain. It is not known what causes this illness however it is believed that environmental agents we come in contact within our homes and work may play an important part in how the illness is treated and managed.
“This scholarship removes some of the financial strain associated with studying. I’m working while also undertaking my PhD. Thanks to this scholarship I’m now able to dedicate two days a week to complete this research,” Ms Squance said.
The scholarship’s namesake, Mrs Valentine Badham from Bonnells Bay, has donated $11,500 towards an area that she says is under-researched and deeply personal to her.
Mrs Badham has suffered from severe allergic reactions since she was a child. One of many allergic reactions she suffers from is perfume, which prevents her from catching public transport, going to the movies or out to dinner.
“I would like for Marline’s study to contribute to some form of relief or treatment to help the many, many people who suffer, just like me.”
University of Newcastle (UON) Foundation CEO Louise O’Connell thanked Mrs Badham for her donation to fund a PhD research scholarship.
“Cases of adverse environmental reactions, in particular allergies, are increasing. Additional research in this area, thanks to Mrs Badham’s scholarship is going to benefit a lot of people,” Ms O’Connell said.
Anyone interested in making a donation to a scholarship or research at the University of Newcastle can contact the UON Foundation on (02) 49217 453 or visit the website at www.newcastle.edu.au/foundation.