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Melissa McDonnell - Final report January 2014

I have now completed my time with Newcastle University, funded by the ERS/ELF fellowship. I have returned to Ireland to apply the new techniques and procedures that I have learnt to our laboratory at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

Through Newcastle University, I have participated in several collaborative, international and multicentre studies. I am now a representative of Ireland in the European Multicentre Bronchiectasis Audit and Research Collaboration (EMBARC) and hope to contribute further to the field of bronchiectasis in the coming years. I will continue to participate in collaborative European research and will work towards the National University of Ireland, Galway, being involved in collaborative clinical trials over the coming years.

I have had a very active year in research with several publications in peer-reviewed journals. I helped develop the new bronchiectasis severity index (the BSI) that has been approved for use in England, Scotland, Belgium and Italy. The research, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine in December 2013, describes a new tool for assessing bronchiectasis. The BSI looks at age, body mass index, breathlessness, lung function, bacteria levels, effects of the disease as seen with radiology tests, frequency of exacerbations, and hospitalisation over the last 12 months, to identify if the patient as low, intermediate or high risk bronchiectasis. The BSI calculates the person’s risk of going into hospital, how often they will have exacerbations, and life expectancy; and can identify people who would benefit from more aggressive treatment. Read the abstract.

I have been busy writing up papers on the research activities I conducted during my ERS/ELF fellowship. I will be sharing the results of my research with others in a number of ways:

The last 12 months have been a great experience both professionally and personally, working in both clinical and research areas of non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis.

I would like to thank the continuous support and collaboration of the entire staff at the Institute of Cell and Molecular Biosciences and the Respiratory Research Group at the Freeman Hospital, particularly Dr. Chris Ward for the laboratory perspective and Dr. Anthony De Soyza and Dr. James Lordan for their input to my research and clinical training. I would also like to thank my supervisors in Galway, Dr. Robert Rutherford and Prof. John Laffey, for their unending help and support in grant applications and publications over the last 12 months. Finally, I would like to thank the ERS/ELF, as this would not have been possible without their financial assistance.