Theme leader: Professor Nick Freezer

Professor Nick Freezer
Professor Nick Freezer is the medical director of the Women’s and Children’s Health Program at Monash Health, the Head of the Department of Paediatrics at Monash University, and is a paediatric respiratory and sleep physician.

As a researcher, Nick was a member of the first team to show that high doses of our best asthma treatment – corticosteroids, inhaled through a puffer – were causing side effects such as a reduction in growth and adrenal suppression. He also was instrumental in demonstrating the benefits of corticosteroids in the treatment of croup. 

The work of his team at Southampton University in the early 1990s was confirmed by other researchers and led to re-evaluation and reduction of the doses of inhaled corticosteroids used to treat childhood asthma. The research showed that high doses of corticosteroids reduced growth in children and tricked the body’s adrenal system, which produces natural steroids in times of stress and infection, into thinking it didn’t need to add to the steroid load, leaving children unable to fight infections properly.  

His ongoing research interests include: the role of airway inflammation in the pathogenesis of asthma, the use of corticosteroids in childhood asthma, respiratory physiology and mechanics of the lung, and the epidemiology of asthma in childhood.

Nick leads the Women’s, Children’s and Reproductive Health themes for both the Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC) and the Monash Health Translation Precinct (MHTP).