Impact Seed funding: Rethinking how we treat Inflammation
Rethinking how we treat inflammation of the respiratory system has given early career researcher and Flinders University graduate Dr James McEvoy-May an idea that may help reduce the severity of lung injury – an innovation likely to become increasingly important in the era of COVID-19.
Dr McEvoy-May (BMedSc ’13, BSc(Hons) ’15, PhD(Med) ’20), from the Flinders Medical and Health Research Institute (FMHRI), has been considering how to reduce excess inflammation present during lung disease. While necessary as part of the healing process, inflammation in excess or appearing too quickly can turn a sophisticated defence mechanism into a powerful damage-causing threat.
Understanding how to manage and reduce inflammation at the right time is critical in reducing, and not worsening, disease severity.
With support from Flinders University’s Impact Seed Funding for Early Career Researchers, Dr McEvoy-May is assessing whether a low-to-moderate dose of ionising radiation, typically used during diagnostic X-rays or CT scans, could be a potential therapeutic tool for clinicians to use in their arsenal against inflammation – particularly for respiratory inflammation such as pneumonia or coronavirus disease.
‘The immunomodulatory properties of ionising radiation have been well demonstrated in chronic inflammatory diseases. Now comes the time to assess its possibility in acute situations,’ says Dr McEvoy-May.
Early career researcher Dr James McEvoy-May aims to fight excess inflammation with ionising radiation.
‘Something society believes is scary and dangerous might actually, in low doses, provide a universal benefit without the risk of detrimental drug interaction or potential therapeutic allergic reaction.’
The $10,000 seed funding grant will allow Dr McEvoy-May to establish a working model and pilot study that could lead to a fresh solution for addressing respiratory disease.
Now in its third year, the Impact Seed Funding program provides an opportunity for early career researchers at Flinders to facilitate their own research, develop their leadership capabilities, and build their reputation both as a supervisor and a researcher.
‘Receiving the Impact Seed Funding is a wonderful beginning to my research career,’ says Dr McEvoy-May.
‘Having recently completed my PhD, it’s an extremely valuable stepping stone, especially in such a competitive industry. It will enable the work necessary to capture larger funding sources and launch my work into the scientific community.’
Nurtured through Flinders University’s Impact Seed Funding program, the research of nearly 30 innovative early career researchers is tackling global challenges and making an important contribution to our community.
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