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The University of Southampton

Natasha Allergy Research Foundation to fund training of the next generation of scientists and health care professionals in Allergy

Published: 6 February 2020
Laperouse Family
The Ednan-Laperouse family set up the Foundation after the tragic death of Natasha (second left).

Half of all children and a third of adults in the UK have an allergy. To care for them, more specialist clinical teams and research is urgently needed but provision for essential clinical training to NHS staff and research is currently underfunded.

Thanks to a £400,000 donation from the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation, more doctors, nurses and dietitians from across the UK will now be able to access world-leading allergy training to develop their skills in caring for patients living with allergies and improving their clinical service.

Natasha’s Foundation will donate £100,000 to the University of Southampton over the next four years to fund bursaries to study modules in the University’s internationally recognised Masters degree course in Allergy. It will also donate £300,000 to fund three PhD students at the University’s world leading allergy research centre.

This is the first donation to the University from the Foundation which was set up by Nadim and Tanya Ednan-Laperouse, the parents of Natasha who died tragically aged 15, after suffering an allergic reaction to a baguette containing sesame seeds.

The MSc Allergy bursaries will be available to health professionals at any stage of their career and will help make knowledge about managing patients with allergies more widespread across the NHS. The MSc Allergy is one of only two such courses in the world and the bursaries will be available to people looking to enrol on the full masters course, postgraduate qualifications, or to study individual modules. The course not only gives students the skills to improve patient care, it also prepares them to be the allergy leaders of the future.

Professor Judith Holloway who leads the course said: “The number of people suffering from allergic diseases is increasing globally, but the necessary investment for training is not available in a resource constrained NHS. This significant donation from Natasha’s Foundation will make a huge difference to the accessibility of our learning; we will be able to train more health professionals who would not otherwise be able to improve their understanding of this important subject.”

Tanya and Nadim Ednan-Laperouse said: “We are delighted to announce the first significant donation from Natasha's Foundation in our mission to support people with allergies and to find a cure.

“NHS funding in allergy is frankly insufficient at a time when we are facing a growing tsunami of young people being diagnosed and hospitalised with severe allergic reactions. This requires a twin-track approach. We need more clinicians and we need more clinics right across the country to treat patients."

The PhD students will work with the allergy experts at the University which is one of just two centres in the UK to be recognised as a World Allergy Organization Centre of Excellence for allergy research, clinical service and education.

Over more than three decades, researchers at the University have been at the forefront of investigation into allergic disease. They identified the human mast cell as the principle cause of acute asthma attacks on exposure to allergens and subsequently showed that activation of the cell was responsible for acute allergic symptoms at other sites in the patient, including anaphylaxis. Today University researchers conduct studies such as identifying genetic and environmental risk factors for allergy, studying of the natural history of allergic disease in populations, developing new treatments for allergic disease and trialling new strategies to prevent allergic disease developing in the first place.

John Holloway, Professor of Allergy and Respiratory Genetics at the University of Southampton said: “It is vital that we keep developing the next generation of experts to make sure our research to help people suffering from allergies can continue. We are really excited about being able to bring more students to our team, helping us to improve the day to day life of patients with allergies and developing effective treatments.”

More information on the bursaries for the MSc Allergy, including how to apply, can be found at:

The PhD studentships will be advertised later this year at


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