Respiratory research

Optimising therapies and outcomes of patients with respiratory disease

UWA’s respiratory research includes clinical and laboratory research with a focus on translational research to improve patient care. Our key research areas include pleural infection, asthma and cystic fibrosis.

Pleural medicine

In Australia, pleural disease affects 60,000 patients a year. Pleural malignancies and infections are the commonest causes of exudative pleural effusions, and their incidence, mortality and healthcare costs continue to rise.

Successful management of pleural infection involves delivery of appropriate antibiotics to the pleural space and removal of the pleural fluid. The UWA Pharmacy division works in collaboration with the Pleural Medicine Unit at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, one of the most active pleural research groups in the world, to optimise therapy for pleural infection through both clinical and laboratory research. Together, we are driving novel managements in pleural infection and have influenced the management of pleural infection worldwide.


One in 10 Australians suffer from asthma. In Australia, medications used for acute asthma can be purchased from a pharmacist in a pharmacy without a prescription. Pharmacists therefore play a crucial role in ensuring quality use of medicines in asthma management. Our research focus is to improve asthma management in the primary healthcare setting, including the early identification of patient with poorly controlled asthma. Our research has led to guideline development and implementation around asthma medication management in community pharmacy Australia-wide.

Cystic fibrosis

Our research is in collaboration with Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital’s WA Adult Cystic Fibrosis Service and includes both clinical and laboratory research in Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Clostridium difficile, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of antibiotics and adherence and health outcomes.



Department of Respiratory Medicine
Based in Perth, the SCGH Respiratory Department is internationally renowned for its dynamic, cutting-edge and innovative clinical and research work.

Pleural Medicine Unit
SCGH’s Pleural Medicine Unit is regarded as one of the most active pleural research groups in the world, and uniquely combines a clinical and laboratory arm, closely integrated with the most active tertiary pleural services in Australasia.

Contact Natalia Popowicz