Clinical Associate Professor Sheryl Van Nunen
Medical Specialist in Allergic Disease
When you think of just how far medicine has come in as little as the last 100 years, with huge increases
in average life expectancy, breakthroughs in treatments and total elimination of diseases, like smallpox
and, in the very near future, Polio, all this medical advancement is the result of a worldwide army of
highly specialised and totally dedicated scientists. One such clinician is our awardee, Associate
Professor Sheryl Van Nunen.
Sheryl is a leading clinical specialist in the field of allergies. The incidence of allergic diseases such as
asthma, hives, food sensitivity, hay fever and anaphylaxis has increased dramatically in the past 30-40
years. They account for around 15 of total visits to GPs.
Sheryl has, over the past 30 years, made a unique contribution not just to allergy diagnosis and
management, but to the important task of informing and educating the community, about the causes,
impacts and treatments for allergies. Her vocational work has gained her an international reputation,
especially in the field of tick bite allergic disease, where she was the first to identify tick allergy as the
underlying cause of the serious problem of red meat anaphylaxis.
This discovery led her in 2013 to set up a foundation to raise awareness of tick allergy and its
complications called ‘Tick-induced Allergies Research and Awareness’ or TiARA, for short The TiARA
website, at tiara.org.au provides the public with the latest news, information and advice around ticks
Professor Sheryl has run 16 new research projects and coordinated no less than 14 clinical trials of new
therapies. As head of the Department of Allergy at Royal North Shore Hospital and a clinical academic in
Sydney University’s Northern Clinical School, she has played a leadership role in management of allergic
disease, including development of policies within schools and workplaces.
She recently won the State Cover WHS Excellence award for her tick education program for workers.
She has won best paper awards at two international conferences and the Northern Clinical school
graduating class showed their appreciation by honouring her with the best tutor award.
Close to home, the contents of some of Professor Van Nunen’s presentations on tick allergies and
managing tick bites have been incorporated into brochures funded by Rotary Clubs on the North Shore,
which have the seal of approval of NSW Health and relevant expert bodies like the Australasian Society
of Clinical Immunology and Allergy and the Australian Veterinary Association.
Sherylis an active member of the ASCIA, and is an advisor and spokesperson for Royal Australasian
College of Physicians, the National Asthma Campaign, the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation of New
Zealand, and for BioeSL, a major Australian biotech company.
Associate Professor van Nunen is a credit to her chosen vocation. She remains an inspiration to young
members of her profession as she continues to be a ceaseless contributor to the vast body of human
clinical knowledge that moves our society ever onward toward a world free from disease.
There is no doubt that she is eminently deserving of this prestigious District 9685 Vocational Award.