Dr Tom van der Touw

Senior Lecturer in Human Biology and Physiology - School of Science and Technology

Tom van der Touw

Phone: +61 2 6773 3913

Email: tvandert@une.edu.au


My interest in physiology began during my BAppSc (1979) studies at the University of Southern Queensland. In 1986, I was awarded a MSc degree from the University of New England for research on the effects of exercise training on the mechanics of breathing. I then undertook a variety of academic and cardiorespiratory research positions with Professor Saxon White at the University of Newcastle and Professor Ludwig Engel at Westmead Hospital in Sydney. In 2000, I was awarded a PhD in medicine from the University of Sydney for my research on cardiorespiratory resuscitation of critically ill asthmatics. In 2002, I spent a year at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth with Associate Professor Peter Eastwood and Dr David Hillman to investigate the effects of inspiratory muscle training on patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. I returned to the University of New England in 2003 to take up an academic position and completed a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education there in 2005. My research interests in recent years at the University of New England relate mainly to obstructive airways disease, exercise physiology and respiratory muscle function.

Teaching Areas


My teaching interests are primarily in the physiology of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems in health and disease, and in experimental and clinical pharmacology. However, over the past 2 decades I have taught physiology covering all the body systems, in addition to exercise physiology, pharmacology, anatomy and histology. I have taught a wide range of students including medical, dental, biomedical sciences, physical education, nursing and allied health students at the Universities of New England, Newcastle and Western Australia.

Speciality area

My primary area of specialisation is the respiratory system in health and disease.

Research Interests

My long term research interest relates to obstructive airways diseases. This has involved research studies in obstructive sleep apnoea, bronchial asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and has included clinical investigations at major teaching hospitals and at the Armidale Private Hospital's Respiratory Failure and Sleep Disorders Unit. I have also investigated interactions between the respiratory and cardiovascular systems (the bronchial circulation; circulatory shock during positive pressure ventilation). My research interests in recent years at the University of New England include impaired respiratory muscle function and how this can be improved by exercise training, physiological matching of increased blood flow and increased metabolic demand during exercise, obstructive sleep apnoea and control of pharyngeal patency, and the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of phospholipid surfactants.


Selected publications

Eastwood P.R., T.J. Van der Touw, G.A. Sturdy, S.C. Jenkins and D.R. Hillman, Anaerobic metabolism of inspiratory muscles in COPD, Respirology, 11: 32-40, 2006.

Brancatisano A., P. Davis, T. Van der Touw and J.R. Wheatley, Effect of upper airway negative pressure on proprioceptive afferents from the tongue, J Appl Physiol., 86: 1396-1401, 1999.

Van der Touw T., Y. Mudaliar and V. Nayyar, Cardiorespiratory effects of manually compressing the rib cage during tidal expiration in mechanically ventilated patients recovering from acute severe asthma, Crit Care Med., 26: 1361-1367, 1998.

Van der Touw T., A.B.H. Crawford and J.R. Wheatley, Effects of a synthetic lung surfactant on pharyngeal patency in awake human subjects, J Appl Physiol., 82: 78-85, 1997.

Amis T.C., N. O'Neill, T. Van der Touw, A. Tully and A. Brancatisano, Supraglottic airway pressure-flow relationships during oronasal airflow partitioning in dogs, J Appl Physiol., 81: 1958-1964, 1996.

Brancatisano A., T. Van der Touw, N. O'Neill and T.C. Amis, Influence of upper airway pressure oscillations on soft palate muscle electromyographic activity. J Appl Physiol., 81: 1190-1196, 1996.

Van der Touw T., N. O'Neill, T. Amis, J. Wheatley and A. Brancatisano, Soft palate muscle activity in response to hypoxic hypercapnia, J Appl Physiol., 77: 2600-2605, 1994.

Van der Touw T., N. O'Neill, A. Brancatisano, T. Amis, J. Wheatley and L.A. Engel, Respiratory-related activity of soft palate muscles: augmentation by negative upper airway pressure, J Appl Physiol., 76: 424-432, 1994.

Van der Touw T., A. Tully, T.C. Amis, A. Brancatisano, M. Rynn, Y. Mudaliar and L.A. Engel, Cardiorespiratory consequences of expiratory chest wall compression during mechanical ventilation and severe hyperinflation, Crit Care Med., 21: 1908-1914, 1993.

Hennessy E., S. White, T. Van der Touw, A. Quail, W. Porges and P. Glenfield, Control of resting bronchial hemodynamics in the awake dog, Am J Physiol., 265: H649-H660, 1993.