Prof Wood is a Registered Nutritionist and Nutritional Biochemist, whose research focuses on investigating nutritional approaches to managing respiratory disease, with a particular interest in asthma.
There is a strong community interest in dietary approaches to managing asthma. However, due to a lack of good quality scientific data, specific dietary advice has not been available. Prof Wood’s research addresses this need, and her research has focused on howantioxidants, fatty acids, fibre and obesity, modify inflammation in the airways.
Prof Wood and her team have been leading a programme of work examining the role of antioxidants in asthma and have shown that a high fruit and vegetable diet reduces the risk of having an asthma attack. They have also described the effects of obesity on the airways and demonstrated the benefits of weight loss. Interestingly, they have shown that eating high fat fast food meals can worsen airway inflammation and reduce the efficacy of asthma medications, such as Ventolin.
Most recently, Prof Wood has led a clinical trial in adults with asthma, which has shown that soluble fibre supplements alter the bacteria in the gut and improve inflammation and asthma control. Prof Wood discussed these findings and the implications of her research for people with lung disease.
Dr Wood is Professor of Biomedical Science and leads the Nutrition Team, within the Priority Research Centre (PRC) for Healthy Lungs and the Grow Up Well PRC. She has published more than 120 papers, which have contributed to development of disease management guidelines, such as the Australian Asthma Handbook and the National Asthma Council of Australia ‘Healthy Lifestyles’ brochure series.
Her research has been recognized by various awards, including the Nutrition Society of Australia Research Award. Prof Wood serves as President Elect of the Nutrition Society of Australia, Associate Editor for Respirology and Editorial Board member for Nutrients.