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Inaugural Chief Scientist appointed as food allergy diagnosis grows in Australia

Research News
Friday, October 21, 2016 - 8:00pm
Professor Katie Allen
Internationally recognised allergist Professor Katie Allen from the Murdoch Children's Research Institute will become the first Chief Scientist for the Australian Food Allergy Foundation.

Announcing Professor Allen’s appointment at The John Ilhan Tribute Dinner in Melbourne on Friday 21st October, the Chair & Founder of the foundation, Patricia Ilhan, said the Chief Scientist would enable the organisation to have a louder and clearer voice within the sector.

"The Board and I are delighted that Professor Katie Allen has accepted our offer to take up this honorary role to provide the Australian Food Allergy Foundation with expert level advice,” said Ms Ilhan.

“As the rate of diagnosis of food allergy increases in Australia, which today is one in ten babies, we need to better understand the challenges facing parents, scientists and researchers. With Professor Allen’s renowned clinical and research experience both in Australia and internationally there is no better person to guide us.

“Over our first ten years we have learned that our scientists desperately need access to seed funding to trial innovative ideas. This important early funding provides an opportunity to test and improve their ideas and to then leverage more significant funding from other sources.“

By better understanding the needs of the scientific and research communities we can shape our plans to not only be more responsive but actually do more. We also know that parents of children living with food allergy and anaphylaxis, especially when they are first diagnosed, need accurate information and support.

“As our Chief Scientist Professor Katie Allen will be at the forefront of our renewed response, helping to guide the Australian Food Allergy Foundation into our next ten years,” Ms Ilhan said.

Commenting on the appointment, Professor Allen said she was delighted to be considered for the position as the Australian Food Allergy Foundation celebrates its 10th anniversary and embarks on a period of strategic growth.

“Every day I see the challenges mums and dads face when their child first presents with an allergic response. There is confusion, uncertainty and a real fear of the unknown,” said Professor Allen.

“What intrigues me is the cause. We know that food allergy and anaphylaxis wasn’t around 30 years ago but what is abundantly clear now is that it is an epidemic. As we examine the data from research and clinical trials being undertaken in Melbourne it allows us to frame prevention recommendations, change clinical practice guidelines and influence public health policy.

“The world is looking to Australia for guidance and the Australian Food Allergy Foundation is leading the way, enabling Australian scientific research to make the difference. I am delighted to be stepping up as the inaugural Chief Scientist and helping to shape and influence our national response in parallel with my other professional
responsibilities,” Professor Allen said.

The two year appointment is effective immediately.

Andrew Heslop
Chief Executive Officer, Australian Food Allergy Foundation
0468 900 975