Associate Professor Alaina Ammit awarded University of Sydney Thompson Fellowship

13 December 2010

The University of Sydney has recently awarded a prestigious Thompson Fellowship to Associate Professor Alaina Ammit. The Thompson Fellowships aim to promote and enhance the careers of academic women and are offered to academic and research-only women employed by the University of Sydney at levels C or D.

The Fellowships provide opportunities for women to develop and strengthen their research, provides support for teaching and administrative responsibilities, and funding to secure technical assistance, for up to two semesters.

Associate Professor Alaina Ammit completed her both her MSc and PhD studies through the University of Sydney. She was awarded the Royal North Shore Hospital New Investigator Award for her MSc work, and during her PhD was supported by an ARC Australian Postgraduate Research Award. After completing her PhD in 1996, she joined the Respiratory Research Group at the University of Sydney and was awarded the Martin Hardie Fellowship from the NSW Asthma Foundation. In 1997, she went on to a post-doctoral position at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, USA, supported by a NH&MRC CJ Martin Fellowship. She returned to Australia in 2001 to continue the Australian component of her CJ Martin Fellowship at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Sydney, and was appointed Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Chemistry (July 2002), Senior Lecturer in 2005, Associate Dean (Research) in 2006 and Associate Professor in 2009.

Associate Professor Ammit's research spans the Respiratory Disease and Cancer themes at the Faculty of Pharmacy. The aim of her research is to discover new therapeutic targets for pharmacological treatment of inflammatory disease.

"It has become increasingly clear that inflammation is a critical component of cancer and inflammatory lung diseases such as asthma" she explains. "Over the past couple of years, my lab has focused on the regulation of genes that promote inflammation in cells responsible for the airway re-modelling phenotype in asthma and in breast cancer cells. In order to aid the future design of efficient anti-inflammatory strategies, we need a greater understanding of the molecular mechanism/s underlying inflammatory pathways."

Research at the Faculty of Pharmacy centres around the five disease states of cancer, respiratory disease, cardiovascular and diabetes, mental health and healthy ageing. The respiratory disease research group is committed to bridging the gap between respiratory treatment and research by developing, clinical services, specific clinical interventions, effective patient/health education and self-management techniques. In addition, the team is exploring systems-related organisational approaches to facilitate clinical uptake of new approaches to treatment and prevention. In the cancer research group, research projects are tackling the disease from many angles, from personalised anti-cancer therapy to drug resistance to using herbal medicines to design new therapies.

In 2011 the Thompson Fellowships will provide up to $60,000 per fellow at $30,000 per semester ($25,000 in teaching relief and $5,000 in research support).

Applications for the Thompson Fellowships are assessed on the track record of the applicant, relative to opportunity; the likelihood that the Fellowship would enable the applicant to enhance their career and improve their research track record in order to compete more effectively for academic employment at Levels D and E; the quality of the aims, significance, approach and expected outcomes of the project application, including the feasibility of the project, given the research timetable, the length of the Fellowship, and available facilities and infrastructure; and the level of support for the application from the Head of School, including the capacity of the applicant to make a significant contribution to the academic life of the host department and Faculty.

Contact: Claire Riordan

Phone: 02 9351 2311

Email: 2f030d51435d4c1930151f502320310238110c1d2e1b32120166523c