TWO Southampton doctors have been awarded £65,000 in funding for their medical research into asthma.

The award was gifted as part of more than £800,000 that was given to UK medical academics at the BMA Foundation for Medical Research awards.

Dr Hans Michael Haitchi, from Southampton University, and Dr Matthew Coleman, from University Hospital Southampton, were given the James Trust grant for their combined research into asthma, and received £65,000 in funding.

Now on his second BMA Foundation award, Dr Haitchi was commended for his work into the impact of maternal allergic asthma during pregnancy at Southampton University.

His and Dr Coleman's research hopes to test how mothers’ asthma during pregnancy changes asthma-related mediators, like the asthma gene, in amniotic fluid, blood and the placenta.

The study suggests that if the gene is then switched off or prevented from being released, the chances of a baby developing condition could be significantly lowered.

Held at BMA House, the event recognises the achievements of those dedicated to advancing medical research, with funding awarded across 13 areas of study including research into heart disease, paediatrics, gastroenterology, and schizophrenia.

This year’s anticipated event was held on November 12, with Professor Raanan Gillon presenting the awards before Dame Esther Rantzen gave an after dinner speech.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said: “We would be nowhere in medicine without innovative and original research, so the BMA Foundation is delighted to support some of the most exciting projects currently being worked on in healthcare.

“The grants are a springboard for some of the country’s brightest talent, many of which have already been involved in developing important papers that have gone on to help thousands of patients across the UK.

“Improving the nation’s health lies at the heart of these awards, and we hope this funding will give doctors, scientists and researchers the platform they need to continue this marvellous and selfless work.”

The BMA has been supporting medical research through the foundation since 1893 and is the oldest medical organisation in the world to award grants and prizes.