A note from our President
Elizabeth Sapey - President of the BALR
Even as a university student, I was drawn to studying lung disease, recognising that these conditions were common, important, and seemed to affect some of the most vulnerable members of our community. This remains true today. Lung diseases are a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, and the burden of these conditions is particularly high in the United Kingdom. In 2019, respiratory diseases were the third leading cause of death after cardiovascular diseases and cancer. From 2020, the impact of the COVID pandemic reminded us of the importance of acute infectious lung diseases and throughout this decade, lung diseases have accounted for a significant proportion
of hospital admissions and healthcare costs in the UK.
I am honoured to be named as the President of the British Association of Lung Research (BALR), and to continue to have the opportunity to advocate for the importance of lung research in the UK. As a clinician who specialises in treating lung diseases, I understand first-hand the significant burden that these conditions place on patients and their families. As an active researcher working to understand lung disease (and acute infections such as pneumonia and COPD are my passion) I can see the real progress we have and will continue to make in the prevention and treatment of respiratory conditions.
As a charitable organisation, the BALR is dedicated to supporting research into lung diseases. The mission of the organisation; namely, to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of lung conditions through research projects and collaborations between researchers, clinicians, and industry partners, is dear to my heart. Discovery and translational science research is an essential component of the journey to improve lives. By studying the underlying mechanisms of lung diseases at the cellular and molecular level, we can identify new drug targets, develop novel treatments, and design clinical trials to test their efficacy. This research provides the foundation for clinical research and the development of new therapies.
Although great progress has been made – there is still much to do and our patients need our help. Preventing and treating lung diseases remains a national and global priority, and we need more brilliant people from different sectors, disciplines, and backgrounds to work together to have the impact that is needed.
As the President of the British Association of Lung Research, I am committed to advocating for the importance of lung research in the UK, to advocate for better care for patients and to help develop the workforce and partnerships that we need to deliver. The BALR is a focus, an ideas hub and a home for all people interested in lung disease research, and I hope to learn more about the amazing work that you do.