CFAR3 PhD Scholars set to advance food allergy research

Monday, December 11, 2023 - 9:00 AM

CFAR3 PhD Scholars

Dr Andrew Fong and Natalie Chang were the successful recipients of the 2023 Centre for Food Allergy Research (CFAR) competitive PhD Scholarships.

CFAR has supported 17 PhD candidates since 2013, helping expand Australia's food allergy workforce through vital training and mentorship opportunities.

We caught up with this year’s winners to find out about their projects and what impact they hope their research will have on people living with food allergies.

Dr Andrew Fong

  • PhD candidate: Western Sydney University
  • Project: Cost-Effective Treatment and Management of Food Allergies in Australia
  • Supervisors: Associate Professor Lei Si, Dr Peter Hsu and Associate Professor Jennifer Protudjer

What will your PhD investigate?

My PhD project will work towards building a health economic model for the management of food allergies in Australia. It will gather information from doctors and families living with food allergies to understand the costs and challenges of food allergy care. Using this information, a special computer program will be developed to calculate the best and most cost-effective treatments for food allergies.

What impact will your research potentially have on individuals and families living with food allergy?

This economic tool and program can be used by healthcare professionals, hospitals, pharmaceutical and medical device companies and governments, to help them provide the most cost-effective treatment and allergy management.

Natalie Chang

  • PhD candidate: The University of Melbourne
  • Project: Exploration of the role of skin barrier biomarkers in the development of food allergies
  • Supervisors: Professor Adrian Lowe, Associate Professor Caroline Lodge, Dr Elasma Milanzi, Dr Diego Jose Lopez Peralta

What will your PhD investigate? 

During my PhD, I will investigate skin barrier biomarkers in early life that are associated with the development of food allergies in children. To date, there are limited studies on this topic.

What impact will your research potentially have on individuals and families living with food allergies?

My research focuses on potential ways to prevent children from developing food allergies by determining if skin barrier biomarkers can identify children at high risk of developing food allergies. Early-life preventive measures can then target these children, potentially preventing food allergies from developing, reducing the burden of food allergies on families.


Thanks to a third consecutive round of National Health and Medical Research Council funding, CFAR3 will offer two more PhD Scholarships to commence in 2025. Join CFAR to stay informed!

Learn more about CFAR’s PhD Program

Want to take part in food allergy research?

Visit the Allergy Studies Directory and receive email alerts when new studies are listed.


Become a CFAR member

Are you part of the Australian and New Zealand food allergy research community?

Join us

Thank you for your support