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The Western Australian Epithelial Research Program (WAERP) is a community cohort biobank that collects and stores airway cells from the upper (nose) and lower (trachea) airways of Western Australian children and adults (1-50 years of age) undergoing non respiratory elective surgery.

Respiratory epithelial cells are known to be the first line of defence against respiratory pathogens (viruses/ bacteria/fungi), pollutants and allergens.

WAERP is operated by the Airway Epithelial Research Group at Telethon Kids Institute, located on site at Perth Children’s Hospital. All patients invited to take part in WAERP are undergoing elective surgery at St John of God Hospital Subiaco, with Clinical Professor Shyan Vijayasekeran or Dr George Sim.

The WAERP biobank supports numerous and diverse research intended to improve understanding and preclinical assessment of therapeutics for respiratory conditions. National researchers are currently engaged and utilising samples with those interested applying to have access to samples and accompanying clinical data.

Over 25 studies have used samples from this biobank; these studies are run by our own Research Team at Telethon Kids Institute, together with interstate research teams in Queensland and South Australia and overseas collaborators in France and the USA. Access to the biobank is controlled by the Scientific Advisory Committee which includes community stakeholder representation from the Community Reference Group. You can find out more about Current Studies being undertaken at Telethon Kids Institute here.