12 May 2015

Dr. Malcolm Sears, a professor in the Division of Respirology at McMaster University and Director of the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study, has been awarded the Asthma Society of Canada’s “Clearing the Air” award recognizing outstanding leadership in asthma research. The award, along with a prize from the Asthma Society’s Bastable-Potts Asthma Research Fund, recognizes innovative Canadian researchers that are leading the way in developing essential asthma research studies, helping to improve the quality of life of people with asthma around the world.

This is the second award given by the Asthma Society of Canada (ASC) for medical research since the establishment of the Bastable-Potts Asthma Research Fund in 2014. The inaugural award was given to The University of British Columbia professor and AllerGen researcher Dr. Michael Brauer.

Dr. Sears has demonstrated leadership in asthma research for over 40 years, undertaking both longitudinal epidemiological studies and ground-breaking clinical studies that have significantly advanced our understanding of the natural history of the disease and impacted asthma management worldwide.

As leader of the CHILD Study, Dr. Sears is working on elucidating the role and interplay of environmental and genetic risk factors in asthma and allergy. Launched in 2008 with funding from AllerGen NCE Inc. and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the CHILD Study is following over 3,500 Canadian children and their families from pre-birth to at least age five years. It is one of the largest studies in the world to look in depth at how genes and the environment interact to cause allergies, asthma and other chronic illnesses.

“Asthma is a complex problem with allergy as a major player,” says Dr. Sears. “I have been supported by many colleagues who have contributed to the body of research I have produced over my lifetime, which this award recognizes.”

The award for leadership in health research was presented in Toronto on May 4, 2015, by Dr. Robert Oliphant, President and CEO of the ASC, and Dr. Susan Waserman, Chair of the ASC’s Medical and Scientific Committee, as part of the ASC’s Clearing the Air Conference focusing on the effects of climate change on asthma and respiratory allergies.