World Asthma Day is on Tuesday 2nd May 2017 and in support of asthma awareness, Dr Neil Holden (pictured), a scientist specialising in asthma research at the University of Lincoln, UK, will explore The Science of Asthma.

Asthma is a condition that affects 1 in 11 people in the UK and costs the NHS billions of pounds each year, yet is still something of a mystery to scientists, doctors and sufferers alike.

His public lecture will take be at 5:30pm – 7:30pm in the Cargill Lecture Theatre on the University’s Brayford Pool Campus and will examine the underlying science behind asthma, focusing on its three common aspects:

  • inflammation
  • tightening of the airways
  • changes to the structure of the lungs

Dr Holden advised: “Almost everyone knows someone who suffers from asthma. At least 5.4 million people in the UK receive treatment to try and control the symptoms, yet very few people understand exactly what causes these symptoms. Asthma isn’t just a minor ailment, it can be extremely serious and deaths caused by asthma in Lincolnshire in 2016 were at a 10-year high.”

Based at our School of Life Sciences at the University of Lincoln, Dr Holden is carrying out cutting-edge research that examines the causes of and treatments for asthma. Despite being such a wide-spread condition, it is an extremely complicated disease, with individual cases reacting to different triggers and responding differently to medication.

“The research we are doing here at Lincoln aims to better understand the condition, and also asthma medications work,” Dr Holden explained. “Corticosteroids are one of the main medications used to treat people with asthma. These drugs were approved several decades ago and while we know they are extremely effective anti-inflammatories, we don’t understand all of the mechanisms that make them work.

“My research looks at how asthma medications affect the human immune system, and how these mechanisms change when asthmatics have viral lung infections. If we can understand how asthma medications work, we may in the future be able to replicate this with new treatments, but without some of the negative side effects caused by current drugs.”

Dr Holden previously worked in the pharmaceutical industry for leading research-based biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, before moving into academia and pursuing his research at the University of Lincoln.

His talk will be accessible to all and will explain how members of the public can get involved and contribute to his research.

You can book your place online. Places are free, however, places are limited and should be booked online in advance.