BLF Early Career Investigator Award Presented to Donald Heath PhD Student

Many congratulations to Adam Braithwaite (PhD student with Allan Lawrie) who won the Early Career Investigator Award at the British Thoracic Society winter meeting this week.

Adam Braithwaite (right) receiving his award from Professor Stephen Spiro, Vice-Chair of the BLF. Photo credit -@IanJarroldBLF

Adam’s research focus is on TRAIL, a cytokine that has diverse roles in pulmonary diseases. The aim of Adam’s research was to elucidate the role of TRAIL in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). We hypothesised that TRAIL released by vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) drives the development of PAH. Adam demonstrated that ‘deleting’ TRAIL specifically in VSMCs of mice protected them from developing PAH. We also found key pathways regulated by TRAIL in VSMCs, to be perturbed in serum isolated from patients with PAH. Together, these data suggest that targeting TRAIL may have therapeutic potential for PAH.

Adam said “It was a great privilege to present my research at the British Thoracic Society winter meeting in London. I was selected as a finalist for the joint BTS/BALR/BLF (British Thoracic Society / British Association for Lung Research / British Lung Foundation) Early Career Investigator symposium, which involved presenting to a panel of judges and the audience. There were very high quality talks in the session, so I was honoured to win an Early Career Investigator Award from the British Lung Foundation.”

Adam’s research was supported through a stipend from the Donald Heath Training Programme in Pulmonary Hypertension, and the British Heart Foundation (Senior Fellowship to Allan Lawrie).