Associate Professor Janet Davies examines subtropical grass pollen allergens

Grass pollen allergy affects up to three million Australians with hay fever and asthma. Despite the high prevalence and burden of hay fever and asthma, recently highlighted by the tragic thunderstorm asthma epidemic, Australia is one of the few developed countries without national pollen monitoring.

Teenagers are particularly vulnerable to hay fever and asthma which can have a major impact on their quality of life, social interactions and academic performance. The teenage years are a time when allergies to grass pollen emerge and unfortunately, the spring peak in the grass pollen season coincides with final school examinations.

The Allergy Research Group aims to improve the lives of teenage allergy and asthma sufferers in two ways:

  1. Understanding the causes of allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and seasonal asthma, leading to targeted tests and treatment for grass pollen allergy
  2. Providing localized, timely information on pollen levels to help sufferers take preventative measures including avoiding high-pollen areas such as the bush or gardens, or taking appropriate medication when going outside