August 1, 2015

From the CEO’s Desk

Dear Readers,

Dr David Serisier, Chair of Lung Foundation Australia, died suddenly and unexpectedly on 30 May 2015. David was 45 years old.

David SerisierLung Foundation Australia, the respiratory community and patients have lost a respected clinician and leader, a researcher of international standing, a mentor, a supportive colleague, a trusted doctor, and a friend. David’s family has lost the father to Hugo, Charlotte and Henry, the husband to Elaine and son to Tissa and Bruce Serisier.

David was a respiratory physician at Mater Adult Hospital in Brisbane and held an Associate Professorship with the University of Queensland. His chosen areas of practice and research focused on bronchiectasis and cystic fibrosis as well as infectious disease.

At his funeral, David’s friend and mentor, Dr Simon Bowler, paid tribute to his extraordinary achievements in a career cut short. He had been a major investigator in a large number of pharmaceutical trials in both cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis as well as other infectious diseases. His involvement in international trials had allowed cystic fibrosis patients to get early access to exciting new drugs for this condition.

In the last nine years, he was the primary author of 31 papers published in peer reviewed journals and twice that number of abstracts and presentations. He was a member of the editorial board of the revered international medical journal Lancet Respiratory.

In 2006, he became the Treasurer of the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ). Simultaneously, he was on the Board and then vice-president of Cystic Fibrosis Australia. In 2012, he joined the Board of Lung Foundation Australia and became Chair shortly after that, succeeding long-time Board Chair, Dr Bob Edwards. David’s leadership of the Lung Foundation was energetic and visionary.

He was committed to developing a research strategy, the purpose of which was to galvanise the respiratory community behind a common and aspirational research goal. This work was in its infancy. He wanted to ignite the community’s imagination about what is possible with research. He also felt strongly that we should support early career researchers – to attract the brightest young researchers into respiratory and keep them.

My last meeting with David was during the American Thoracic Society meeting in Denver. He was so excited about the prospect of what we could achieve and couldn’t wait to get back to Brisbane and roll up his sleeves.

David’s other passion during his Chairmanship of the Lung Foundation was to establish an international registry of patients diagnosed with bronchiectasis. The purpose of the registry is to facilitate collaborative international research into this relatively common condition with no known cure. We had just attended an international meeting with American and European researchers in Denver to discuss the use of our respective bronchiectasis registries to power international research.

David was just getting going. He was excited about the Lung Foundation. He was proud of the work we do supporting patients and excited about what we were yet to achieve.

I am sad that he will not be here as we work to realise his vision.

A fund to support research has been established in David’s memory. To make an in memoriam gift in David’s honour, please visit www.lungfoundation.com.au/get-involved/donation/in-memoriam-dr-david-serisier/ or phone
1800 654 301.

Heather Allan