Imperial College London

Andrew Bush and Sebastian Johnston win European Respiratory Society awards


Andrew Bush and Sebastian Johnston

The achievements of two leading National Heart and Lung Institute academics recognised with prestigious European Respiratory Society Awards.

The European Respiratory Society (ERS) presented both Professor Andrew Bush and Professor Sebastian Johnston with awards at the recent virtual ERS International Conference 2020. The event held on 7–9 September welcomed over 33,000 delegates to a specially designed online platform.

Professor Edwin Chilvers, Head of NHLI, congratulated the pair on their awards: "This is a wonderful and richly deserved honour for Professors Bush and Johnston. These Awards underscore the quality of Respiratory Science in the NHLI and across the College." 

ERS Congress Chair Award – Professor Andrew Bush

Professor Andrew Bush received the ERS Congress Chair Award in recognition of his contribution to research and training in respiratory medicine. Andrew Bush is Professor of Paediatrics and Paediatric Respirology at NHL and Consultant Paediatric Chest Physician at Royal Brompton Harefield NHS Foundation Trust.

"The award is an acknowledgement of the huge debt I owe to my colleagues and students, the children and the families who have brought them to the hospital" Professor Andrew Bush

On receiving the award, Professor Bush said: “I was so honoured to receive the 2020 ERS Congress Chairs Award. However, the award is actually an acknowledgement of the huge debt I owe to my colleagues and students, the children and the families who have brought them to the hospital, and especially, my wonderful family.

"Above all my wife of 45 years, Sue, who has always encouraged me to live my dreams. Any legacy I may leave behind will be the students I have helped to train, and I am especially proud of the nearly 50 doctoral students whose PhDs and MD(Res) degrees I have co-supervised.

"Translational research is another area which has meant a lot to me. We are currently combining non-invasive and invasive techniques to understand the longitudinal evolution of immune and epithelial function development, and the interaction with the microbiome, in over 1000 babies, funded by a Wellcome Strategic Award.

"Lung disease starts antenatally and in the early years, and the lung function you have when you first enter the school gates is the lung function you have in old age. Furthermore, low preschool lung function is a marker for premature all-cause mortality. I am obsessed with the challenge of trying to unravel the mechanisms of the critical adverse influences before birth and in infancy to make a step-change in long term health (and not just lung health)”.

ERS Gold Medal in Asthma – Professor Sebastian Johnston 

Professor Sebastian Johnston received the ERS Gold Medal in Asthma in recognition of his outstanding contribution to research in the field of asthma. As part of the award, Professor Johnston received a €50,000 research grant funded by AstraZeneca. Sebastian Johnston is Professor of Respiratory Medicine and Allergy at the NHLI and Honorary Consultant Physician in Respiratory Medicine & Allergy at St Mary’s Hospital, Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust.

Prof Johnston said: “I was delighted to hear I had been awarded this highly prestigious award. It is a great honour to join the ranks of the highly illustrious previous winners. I look forward to using the money awarded to continue my investigations into the adverse effects of beta-agonists, to help us to better and more safely treat and prevent acute attacks of asthma.”

Prof Johnston's previous work includes establishing the viral aetiology of the vast majority of asthma exacerbations, discovering novel mechanisms of susceptibility to virus infection in asthma, and developing novel and effective treatment approaches for acute exacerbations of asthma.

His work has led to the publishing of ten patents, the licensing of these patents to industry, and to completion of Phase I and II clinical studies on the use of IFN-beta for treatment of acute exacerbations of asthma.


Ellyw Evans

Ellyw Evans
Faculty of Medicine Centre

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