Candidate for President-Elect – 2021 ICIS Leadership Election

Phil Hansbro, PhD, FThorSoc, FERS
NHMRC Level 2 Investigator
Deputy Director Centenary Institute
Director, Centre for Inflammation,  Centenary Institute, Sydney, NSW 2050 & University of Technology Sydney, School of Life Sciences, Ultimo
Conjoint Professor, Priority Research Centre for Healthy Lungs, University of Newcastle, & Vaccines, Infection, Viruses & Asthma (VIVA) group, Hunter Medical Research Institute, Newcastle, Australia


This is an outstanding multi-disciplinary international society with a fantastic international conference and it would be an enormous honour and privilege to serve as president-elect and promote and expand the ICIS well into the future.

One of the world’s leading respiratory researchers, Professor Phil Hansbro directs the Centenary UTS Centre for Inflammation. The Centre is Australia’s first research organisation dedicated exclusively to studying the mechanisms underlying inflammation, which is increasingly found to play crucial roles in the development of major diseases such as respiratory diseases, COVID-19, stroke, IBD, heart disease and cancer. Phil and his team have >25 years’ experience exploring how the immune system, and in particular inflammatory processes, contribute to the progression of chronic respiratory diseases. These include the most important respiratory diseases that are in urgent need of more effective treatments, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, severe asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, the impact of bushfires and air pollution, and respiratory infections (COVID-19, influenza). Phil’s research interests also include pathogenic processes of Oxidative Stress/immunometabolism & Mitochondria; Epigenetics; fibrosis; Bioinformatics; Multi-omics; Respiratory treatments; Microbiomes & Metabolomes; Cell death; Mycobacteria; New treatments for COVID-19. As the Centre expands, activity in other diseases are also being brought into the program, including lung cancer, cystic fibrosis, silicosis, mycobacterial infections, and non-respiratory diseases of stroke, cardiovascular and gut diseases and other cancers. Deputy Director of the Centenary Institute, and Chair of Inflammation in the School of Life Sciences at UTS, Phil’s work has made internationally important contributions and led to the identification of novel avenues for therapy that are under further study. In 2019, he was awarded a prestigious Research Medal by the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ) for sustained research excellence. As the Chair of the Research committee (2015-19) of TSANZ he increased our funding from 300K to 1 million p.a, negotiated reciprocal memberships with the European Respiratory Society (ERS), and had Cardiorespiratory Medicine added to the Federal Governments research agenda. More recently, Phil has established a COVID-19 laboratory to understand the mechanisms of pathogenesis underlying SARS-CoV-2 and how it induces COVID-19, which is underpinned by excessive inflammatory responses and cytokine storm that damages cells and tissues. His team is developing and testing effective treatments and new vaccines. His goal is to identify or develop new effective COVID-19 treatments and preventions that can reduce this ‘inflammatory storm’ in susceptible individuals, ultimately to save lives. In 2020, Phil was elected as a Fellow of the European Respiratory Society (ERS), recognising his excellence in contributions to research, education and clinical leadership in respiratory medicine. He has been involved in organising many international conferences (ERS, American Thoracic Society, Australasian Society of Immunology, World Congress of Inflammation). He has extensive links with industry and is on 4 Editorial Boards. He has extensive undergraduate and postgraduate teaching experience across a wide variety of courses, with particular expertise in teaching Biomedical Sciences, Medicine and Nursing. He undertakes extensive mentorship and public outreach activities.

Visions for the Society would be:

  • Increasing the international involvement across the globe (e.g. on society committees), region specific meetings (Asia-Pacific, Pan Europe and Pan America), topic specific meetings
  • Increasing membership and reciprocal memberships and sponsoring sessions of other societies (national, disease-specific)
  • Communicate to the general public & encouraging a new generation of virologist, cytokine and IFN biologist
  • Increase involvement of industry, tech transfer, establish tax exemptions to encourage investment
  • Maintain a balance between discovery and translational research, increase multi-omics and big data, and association with disease-focussed societies
  • Hire a fund raiser to increase research funding for ECRs in the Society
  • Increase ECR involvement, Young Investigator Symposium
  • Maintain a hybrid meeting to increase involvement