APF announces new research fellows to unravel the genetics of pulmonary fibrosis

April 2024

Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis (APF) is delighted to announce the investment of over half a million pounds in two research fellows to better understand the biology of pulmonary fibrosis.

Lung conditions are the third biggest killer in the UK, but with less than 2% of public funding invested in respiratory research, it is critically underfunded compared with other conditions, such as cancer and heart disease. Our investment has only been made possible by the generosity of our supporters and we need more people to donate to keep this vital research alive.

Can you make a gift today? Donate to Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis  Or join us in April as we Walk For Hope  

As the leading lung scarring charity committed to putting a stop to this devastating lung disease, we believe that supporting pioneering research, will make a vital contribution to faster diagnosis, new and better treatments and improved care for those affected.  Alongside the funding, we also work as an active partner with the research fellows, collaborating with people with lived experience of PF to help shape their research.  

Dr Bin (Kevin) Liu, from Imperial College London and Dr Jenny Dickens from the University of Cambridge have been awarded a total of £600k, for a period of three years, to further unravel the genetics of pulmonary fibrosis, which will help to identify new and better treatments.  They were selected by an independent panel.

This funding investment to the Mike Bray Fellowships was only made possible through the passion and drive of our fundraisers and donors affected by pulmonary fibrosis, and all of the team here at APF wanted to extend their heartfelt gratitude to our supporters, without which none of this would have been possible and who drive us to do more every day.

The two new research fellows will develop their skills and experience to become future leaders of pulmonary fibrosis research.

Dr Liu’s research, based at the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London, will examine how the genetic changes that increase the risk of developing lung scarring also alter signalling pathways within lung cells.  This in turn could help to identify novel drug targets to slow - or stop - scarring of the lungs.

Dr Liu, says:

My research focuses on the role that scaffold proteins play in the development and progression of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). I hope that insights gained during my fellowship will have the potential to shed new light on the complex biological processes that become altered in people with PF and to identify new treatments.

Dr Dickens research, based at the University of Cambridge, involves the development of a new laboratory technique using miniaturized 3D versions of the lung. This new model will enable her to study how genetic variations cause “stem cell-like” lung cells to misbehave, leading to lung scarring (fibrosis).

Dr Dickens, says:

This funding will be transformational for my research career, providing a springboard to establish a large research programme aiming to understand the triggers of pulmonary fibrosis and develop new treatments.

In 2019, APF funded their first research fellows and their research is now being used internationally to support the identification of new treatments and to drive improvements in care.

Find out more about the APF-funded research: Prof Phil Molyneaux and Dr Richard Allen.

Louise Wright, Chief Executive of Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis, says:

We are absolutely delighted to announce our two new research fellows.  People with lived experience of pulmonary fibrosis tell us they want to see new treatments to slow or stop lung fibrosis in its tracks. Both these fellowships, in their unique ways, seek to work towards that single aim. Their findings will be eagerly awaited around the world.

Read the full article here.

Want to get involved?

At APF, we know that supporting research into pulmonary fibrosis is a powerful motivator for many of us as supporters, volunteers or donors.  By investing in research today, you will be providing vital support for generations to come, so that we can stop lives being lost to PF.”  

Join us this April to raise vital funds towards ground breaking new research into PF.

APF funded research is only possible thanks to the support of our generous community of supporters and Walk for Hope does exactly that.  Get together with a group of loved ones, pick a date, a location and distance, and raise money – it's as simple as that! Every penny you raise will go towards improving our understanding of PF and making progress towards faster diagnosis, new and better treatments, symptom control, and improved services and care.

Or can you make a gift today, to continue our vital work?

Every donation truly changes lives.

Share your lived experience

Want to share your lived experience with scientists to help shape future PF research? Or work with us to decide what research we fund? Contact us at involvement@actionpf.org