About us

The major theme of research in this group is the study of inflammatory mediators in the pathogenesis of lung diseases including asthma, chronic obstructuve pulmonary disease (COPD) and sarcoidosis. Our projects investigate mechanisms of development of disease, clinically useful markers of inflammation and novel approaches to intervention. Translational research is a particular focus of the group, notably with respect to breath analysis of oxidative stress and other markers of disease activity, especially in asthma, but also COPD and lung cancer. The investigators provide complementary expertise, facilitating both pre-clinical and clinical investigation.

Specific projects include:

  • analysis of microRNA expression by nasal epithelial cells to predict which patients with COPD are likely to experience frequent exacerbations
  • identification of novel biomarkers in exhaled breath of patients with respiratory disease
  • altered response of macrophages to inflammatory stimuli in an allergic cytokine environment
  • the role of non-coding RNAs in the regulation of inflammatory responses in COPD.

Other potential projects:

  • characterisation of interleukin-32 (IL-32) in mouse models of chronic asthma and acute exacerbations
  • targeting microRNA-155 in alternatively acitvated macrophages to suppress allergic inflammatory responses.


 Cristan Herbert

T:  +61 2 9385 8679
E:  C.Herbert@unsw.edu.au

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 Rakesh Kumar

E:  r.kumar@unsw.edu.au

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Professor Paul S. Foster, University of Newcastle & Hunter Medical Research Institute

Grants & funding

The group is currently supported by funding from the Sydney Partnership for Health, Education, Research & Enterprise (SPHERE).


  • Yifan Chen (PhD)
  • Yu Gan H'ng (ILP)