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How far have we come? A progress report for AIFA 2014-2020

29 January 2021

The Allergy and Immunology Foundation of Australasia (AIFA) is the only Australasian charity that is specifically funding allergy and immunology research.  

AIFA making progress 2021AIFA is dedicated to advancing knowledge of the human immune system.  We are supporting innovative research for improved diagnosis, novel treatments and better health outcomes for people with allergy and other immune disease. We are encouraging early career researchers with projects that have the potential to translate to progress in clinical care.

How many AIFA research grants have been awarded?

Since 2014, when we began our grant process, AIFA has funded a total of 18 medical research projects, across 12 research institutions in four regions of Australia. Projects were awarded AIFA grants after a rigorous selection process, reviewed by a panel of leading experts in allergy and immunology research.

What is the unmet need for more allergy and immunology research?

Whilst we are proud of our growing achievement, the last six years have proven that there is unmet need for more research into allergy and other immune diseases that may lead to the improved diagnosis or treatment:

  • AIFA has received 132 Expressions of Interest (EOIs) since 2014. This has amounted to $3,675,000 in funds requested.
  • AIFA has awarded a total of $390,000 in grants. This is 10.6% of research grant funding that has been requested through our grant program.
How can you help us move allergy and immunology research forward?

The high quality of medical care we enjoy today is built upon years of medical research.  By donating to AIFA you can help to advance medical knowledge, improve patient care and save lives. 

You can become a community fundraiser or donate at www.allergyimmunology.org.au/donate

Contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. about sponsoring a named grant.

We have come a long way but we have only just started the journey to fill the unmet need for research into allergy and immunology in Australia and New Zealand.

AIFA announces grant recipients for 2020

1 December 2020

The Allergy and Immunology Foundation of Australasia will be giving $110,000 in grants to support allergy and immunology research in December 2020.

AProf Kirsten PerrettThe AIFA Food Allergy Research Grant of $40,000 was awarded to A/Prof Kirsten Perrett for testing the effectiveness of oral immunotherapy for young children with nut allergy. Her “Low dose Multi-Nut OIT in Preschoolers (LMNOP) Pilot Study” is the first step toward achieving the vision of eradicating food allergy before school age. A/Prof Perrett works at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI) in Melbourne. Read more …

Dr Vicki McWilliamDr Vicki McWilliam, who also works at MCRI, was awarded the AIFA Food Allergy Research Grant (supported by DBV Technologies) of $10,000. Her project “Is early introduction of milk via a slow and graded milk ladder approach feasible and acceptable for infants with mild/moderate cow’s milk allergy?” has the potential to prevent the development of long-term cow’s milk allergy in children. Read more …

Dr Catarina AlmeidaAIFA awarded a grant of $30,000 to Dr Catarina Dos Santos Sa E Almeida at the University of Melbourne who will work with Dr Jason Trubiano at Austin Health to study  “Altered self-reactivity of CD1d-lipid restricted NKT cells by sulfa-like drugs”. This could lead to the improvement of current tests for drug allergy, policy for drug administration, and the development of new immune-based therapies. Read more …

Dr Celina JinThe AIFA Primary Immunodeficiencies Clinical Research Grant of $15,000 (supported by CSL Behring) will be awarded to Dr Celina Jin at The Royal Melbourne Hospital. Dr Jin will be evaluating how specific antibody deficiency patients (who have impaired immune function) receiving immunoglobulin replacement react to a typhoid vaccine (Vi-polysaccharide vaccine). Read more …

Dr William SmithDr William Smith was awarded the AIFA Hereditary Angioedema (HAE) Clinical Research Grant of $15,000 (supported by CSL Behring). Dr Smith, who is based at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, will conduct a state-wide survey of patients with HAE in South Australia. This will determine the prevalence of HAE as well as severity, impact on quality of life, and unmet needs, particularly in the prevention of angioedema attacks. Read more …

Congratulations to the successful Chief Investigators and your teams. We look forward to reporting the results of this important research.

Thank you to our donors for making these grants possible. Thank you also to our expert grant selection panel of immunologists, led by Dr Melanie Wong, who volunteered their time in an extremely busy year in immunology.

There are many projects with great potential that still require funding. We need your support for AIFA 2021 grants for immunology research. https://www.allergyimmunology.org.au/donate

Read more: AIFA announces grant recipients for 2020

A new community funded food allergy research grant

2 October 2020:

Ariel Sage KohenArarat, a town in country Victoria, donates over $12,000 to fund The Kohen and Sage Richards Food Allergy Research Grant for 2021. 

We give our warmest thanks to the community of Ararat for their generous donation of over $12,000 to the Allergy and Immunology Foundation of Australasia (AIFA). The community showed their support for research into food allergy through an online auction organised by Angie Waihape and Clare Vanina in August. Angie was motivated by her nephews Kohen and Sage who have experienced severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) to food.

AIFA is delighted to direct this generous donation toward food allergy research in 2021 as requested. This will be named The Kohen and Sage Richards Food Allergy Research Grant.

Angie writes: “Thanks to our amazing community, the ‘Allergies & Anaphylaxis Awareness’ Fundraiser was a huge success. With 34 generous businesses on board and a supporting community behind us we were able to smash our $10,000 goal. We sold over 3,200 raffle tickets, auctioned 10 awesome items, and received so many generous donations from people wanting to help make a difference to people who suffer with allergies. We are beyond grateful. We are very proud to donate this money to AIFA who are doing outstanding work towards finding preventions and ultimately a cure for allergies.”

Angie and her team are an inspiration. We are sure that her nieces and nephews are very proud. Thank you Ararat for this good news story!

If you are inspired by Angie and Clare’s effort, learn how you can become an AIFA community fundraiser here www.allergyimmunology.org.au/support-aifa/fundraising

We would love to hear from you. Reach out to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Read more: A new community funded food allergy research grant

Another AIFA grant recipient receives NHMRC funding

14 July 2020

AIFA researcher recognition 400 2020For the third time since the Allergy and Immunology Foundation of Australasia (AIFA) started funding research grants in 2015, we are proud to announce that an AIFA grant recipient has received National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funding.

Dr Sidonia Eckle, who was awarded an AIFA grant in 2019, has been awarded $620,205 in an Emerging Leadership Award from the NHMRC in 2020. The NHMRC recognises excellence in the health and medical research sector and celebrates leadership and outstanding contributions to the sector through its biennial awards. 

Dr Eckle, who works at The Doherty Institute in Melbourne states, “I’m grateful for the support of the NHMRC Investigator Grant to further our understanding of the importance of Mucosal-Associated Invariant T cells (MAIT) cells in protective and aberrant immunity. Along with assistance from The University of Melbourne and other grants, this investment will allow me to deepen our knowledge of this field and grow my research programme within Professor Jim McCluskey’s lab.”  NHMRC Investigator Grants 2020 | Mucosal-Associated Invariant T cells with Dr Sidonia Eckle 

Read more about the project here
Food Allergy and MAIT cells

This is the third time that a recipient of an AIFA grant has progressed to receive NHMRC recognition:

  • Dr Janet Davies received NHMRC funding in 2016 for her AusPollen project (AIFA grant awarded in 2015).
    Pollen Allergen Partnership

  • Dr Marcia Munoz received NHMRC funding in 2018 for her work on the autoimmune disease mevalonate kinase deficiency or MKD (AIFA grant awarded in 2017).
    Childhood Autoinflammatory Disease 

AIFA grants enable researchers to progress a new project in allergy and immunology research, and are a valuable step in future applications for larger grants.

We are very proud of the AIFA track record and we are glad that Dr Eckle could be one of the AIFA grant recipients to progress with NHMRC funding.

Read more: Another AIFA grant recipient receives NHMRC funding

Medical Research and the Report from the Parliamentary Inquiry into Allergies and Anaphylaxis

18 June 2020

AIFA medical research grants

The Australian Government’s recognition of the importance of medical research into allergy is highlighted in the report from the Parliamentary Inquiry into Allergies and Anaphylaxis, Walking the Allergy Tightrope, tabled in Parliament on 15 June 2020.  www.allergy.org.au/about-ascia/info-updates/inquiry-into-allergies-and-anaphylaxis-report-15-june-2020 

Implementing the recommendations in the report will lead to improved outcomes for patients and the community, and more research into the causes and treatment of allergy. This is consistent with the aim of the Allergy and Immunology Foundation of Australasia (AIFA), which has supported research into allergy and other immune system disorders since 2014. 

AIFA is an initiative of the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA), which was recognised in the report as having a pivotal and leading role in improving the care of Australians with allergic disease. AIFA has made an ongoing commitment to support researchers working on the complexities of the immune system. Their work is fundamental to finding new treatments for allergic disease. 

In 2020 AIFA will award a total $110,000 to allergy and immunology research, and the closing date for expressions of interest is 28 August 2020. For details go to www.allergyimmunology.org.au/grants 

We now welcome donations for the 2021 AIFA grants.

By supporting AIFA before 30 June 2020, 100% of your donation will directly fund research projects and will be tax deductible in the 2019-2020 financial year. To donate to AIFA go to www.allergyimmunology.org.au/donate

We take this opportunity to thank our generous donors and sponsors who have made the following 2020 AIFA grants possible:

  • $40,000 - AIFA Food Allergy Research Grant
     
  • $30,000 - AIFA Allergy (other than food allergy) or Autoimmunity Research Grant
     
  • $15,000 - AIFA Primary Immunodeficiencies Clinical Research Grant
    (supported by CSL Behring)
     
  • $15,000 - AIFA Hereditary Angioedema Clinical Research Grant
    (supported by CSL Behring)
     
  • $10,000 - AIFA Food Allergy Research Grant
    (supported by DBV Technologies)

At a time when medical research is more important than ever, we believe that the annual AIFA grants play a vital role, by providing seed funding, encouraging emerging researchers and promoting allergy and immunology research in Australia and New Zealand.

To view the grants awarded in 2019, click in the image below or see www.allergyimmunology.org.au/projects

Read more: Medical Research and the Report from the Parliamentary Inquiry into Allergies and Anaphylaxis

AIFA grant EOI deadline is now 28 August 2020

27 April 2020

person in labIn recognition that many potential AIFA grant applicants have less discretionary time in 2020 due to the demands from COVID-19, the AIFA grant EOI deadline (previously 15 April 2020) has been deferred.

The revised dates for the AIFA 2020 grant process are as follows:

  • EOIs due: 28 August 2020 (using the form at www.allergyimmunology.org.au/grants)
  • Shortlist announced: 30 September 2020
  • Full grant applications due: 30 October 2020
  • Grant recipients announced: 15 December 2020

In 2020 AIFA will award a total $110,000 to immunology/allergy research via the following grants: 

  • $40,000 - AIFA Food Allergy Research Grant
  • $30,000 - AIFA Allergy (other than food allergy) or Autoimmunity Research Grant
  • $15,000 - AIFA Primary Immunodeficiencies Clinical Research Grant (supported by CSL Behring)
  • $15,000 - AIFA Hereditary Angioedema Clinical Research Grant (supported by CSL Behring)
  • $10,000 - AIFA Food Allergy Research Grant (supported by DBV Technologies)

We take this opportunity to thank our generous donors and sponsors of the 2020 AIFA grants.

At a time when medical research is more important than ever, we believe that the annual AIFA grants play a vital role, by providing seed funding, encouraging emerging researchers and promoting more immunological research in Australia and New Zealand. We welcome donations for the 2021 AIFA grants, which should proceed with the usual timeline, with grants being presented at the ASCIA 2021 Conference in Melbourne in September 2021.

We look forward to receiving the 2020 AIFA grant EOIs.

Read more: AIFA grant EOI deadline is now 28 August 2020

©2020 Allergy and Immunology Foundation of Australasia