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Studies Recruiting

The Institute regularly recruits members of the community to participate in research and clinical trials. 
We are currently seeking participants for: 

The Susceptibility to Paediatric Infection Group at MCRI are looking for children to act as healthy controls for this study.

The CUPID study is interested in the effects of chronic inflammation in childhood on the blood vessels. We know that cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and stroke) generally occurs in adults, however we also know that the changes in the blood vessels that lead to cardiovascular disease can start before birth and develop slowly throughout childhood and into adulthood. This hardening of the arteries (also known as atherosclerosis) is caused by inflammation of the artery wall.
At present, very little research has been done in children to look at the association between inflammatory diseases and early atherosclerosis. We will look at blood vessel structure and function and examine the differences between children with one of these conditions compared to children without chronic inflammatory disease. 

Your child may be suitable if they are:

  • Aged 5 to 18 years
  • Healthy

You will be asked to attend MCRI at The Royal Children’s Hospital for a one off visit which will take approximately 90 minutes. During that visit we will ask about any health problems your child and your family have had, including information relating to heart and blood vessel health.

The following assessments will then be performed;

  • Height and weight using special scales which also measure body fat 
  • Blood pressure
  • Blood sample (anaesthetic cream can be used)
  • An ultrasound of the blood vessels of the neck and abdomen (tummy)
  • A photograph of the retina (back of the eye)

The entire assessment will take about 90 minutes. Appointments can be scheduled to suit.

We hope that this knowledge may benefit children in the future by increasing the understanding of inflammatory disease and cardiovascular health.

Reimbursements for RCH car parking or public transport costs will be provided at the time of the scheduled study visit.

If you are interested in your child participating or would like more information about the project, please contact:
Meg Kaegi, Study Coordinator  
Tel: (03) 9936 6553   

The ALLaboard study is looking at cognitive outcomes following treatment for childhood cancer. The ALLaboard project is being conducted at The Royal Children’s Hospital and Monash Medical Centre in Melbourne. We are interested in looking at the development of thinking skills and behaviour in children who have completed treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. In particular we are interested in how attention/concentration and thinking speed change over the 2 years following treatment, and understanding how difficulties in these areas might be related to brain development and genetic vulnerabilities.

Participation in this study is the same for both the patient and control group, and involves the following components:

  • Neuropsychological assessment: Testing of intellectual skills, processing speed, working memory and attention skills.
  • Questionnaires: Standardised measures to be completed by the child, parent/guardian and a teacher.
  • Saliva sample: Collected for the purpose of genotyping (folate pathway genes only). Buccal swabs will be used to collect DNA from the cheek;
  • MRI brain scan: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans (Note this is an optional part of the study, and only children aged 7 years and above are eligible for this component)

Participant criteria

  • 4-16 years of age
  • No history of developmental of neurological disorder
  • No prematurity (less than 30 weeks gestation)

Contact Information

If you would like more information, please contact Madeleine Bowden
Phone: 03) 99 366 026

If you have a family history of fragile X related disorders, or if you are the parent of a child with the fragile X premutation or full mutation, or yourself have been tested and identified to have one of these results, we would like to invite you and your family members to participate in the FREE FX study.

We hope that this research will lead to earlier diagnosis and a better understanding of the needs of families with medium and large expansions in the fragile X gene. This may lead to improvements in quality of life through earlier access to intervention programs

What does taking part in this research project involve?
To take part in this study in Victoria, participants need to be under the age of 42. To take part in this study in New South Wales and Tasmania, participants need to be under the age of 18. Taking part in Victoria involves one visit at The Murdoch Children's Research Institute (based at The Royal Children’s Hospital). Taking part in New South Wales involves one visit at Hunter Genetics. Taking part in Tasmania involves one study visit at the clinics attached to the Royal Hobart Hospital. During this visit we will take a blood or saliva sample for some genetic testing and conduct an assessment of your and/or your child’s behaviour, thinking and memory skills, which will involve for example being asked to solve puzzles and remember lists. The assessment will take approximately 3 hours. We will reimburse you a reasonable amount for your visit travel costs to the site of the appointment in order to participate in this project. Alternatively, we can organize a research assistant to come to your home to do the assessment. For the participants assessed in New South Wales and Tasmania, or for participants assessed at home, the study genetic counsellor may organize a separate time most convenient to the participants for blood or saliva samples to be collected.

For Victoria and Tasmania
Ms Chriselle Hickerton; Research Genetic Counsellor
Ph: (03) 8341 6209
Justine Elliott, Research Genetic Counsellor
Ph: (03) 9936 6047

For New South Wales
Carolyn Rogers, Research Genetic Counsellor
Ph: (02) 4985 3100

Chronic constipation is a lifelong problem that begins in childhood and is a major problem in the general community. Chronic constipation causes faecal incontinence, recurrent faecal impaction and significant functional and emotional problems for both child and family and in 30% it persists into adult life. Children with chronic constipation that fails a new treatment that relieves their debilitating symptoms. The past decade has brought significant advances in the understanding of paediatric constipation. This study will determine the efficacy of multimodal treatment; in addition we will test a physiotherapy method (transcutaneous electrical stimulation - TES). TES has been used successfully to treat bladder incontinence and recently constipation. Our study hypothesis is that the addition of TES to multimodal treatment will overcome constipation and allow normal function.

Participant criteria:

  • Children aged four - 18 years

Research Nurse Co-coordinator
Julie Jordan-Ely
Ph: +61 03 9936 6793 
Mob: 0437 971 832

We are conducting a project to help understand the relationship between genes and stuttering. We hope that understanding the causes of speech disorder will help us to develop better treatments.

Who can take part?
We are looking for children and adults with persistent stuttering (stuttering for at least 3 years). We are also interested in people who have a strong family history of stuttering.

What is involved?
In order to participate, we will ask you to complete the following:

Complete a short questionnaire about your birth, developmental and medical history and history of communication problems in your family
Speech pathology assessment at MCRI (parking costs will be reimbursed)
Provide a sample of your blood or saliva so that we can study your DNA to see whether there are common genes that influence the risk of stuttering

If you would like further information about the project, please contact:

Olivia van Reyk
Murdoch Children's Research Institute
Phone: (03) 9936 6334

The Centre for Research Excellence in Speech and Language Neurobiology are running a project looking at genetic contributions to speech disorder. This is part of our ongoing commitment to world class research aimed at improving health. In essence, we are studying how genes may be involved in speech disorders in adults and children. We hope that understanding the causes of speech disorder will help us to develop better treatments.

Populations we are particularly focused on at the moment include:

  • Families with a strong history of childhood apraxia of speech (CAS)
  • Families with a strong history of stuttering
  • Identical and non-identical twins with CAS, stuttering or severe speech/language disorder

How to get involved
If you or someone you know has a speech disorder (such as childhood apraxia of speech, stuttering) and may be interested in taking part in our project we would love to hear from you.

To receive an information pack or ask questions contact:

Olivia van Reyk 
Ph: 03 9936 6334

Do you have a child with a developmental difficulty or delay? Perhaps they have received a diagnosis such as autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, or global developmental delay?

If you or your child are interested in participating in research, you might be interested in joining our contact list for the future. The Contacts for Neurodevelopmental Research (CONR) list will collect some information about your child and yourself so that we only send you study information that is likely to be relevant.

Your child can be any age and you do not have to be a patient at The Royal Children's Hospital.

The overall objective of our research is to facilitate research into neurodevelopmental disorders, both for researchers at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute and to increase potential for international collaborations on rare neurodevelopmental disabilities.

For more information, please follow this link:

Kylie Crompton 
Research Officer 
(03) 9936 6756

What is Vitality?

There has been an increase in food allergy in recent years. The cause of this is unknown; however, the number of people experiencing allergic reactions has significantly increased. The aims of this study are to see the relationship between food allergy, vitamin D and immune function in infants.

Who can take part?

Mothers with infants:

  • Age 6-8 weeks
  • Planning to be primarily breastfed until 6 months of age (not exclusively bottle-fed)
  • Living in Greater Melbourne, Victoria

For more information, click here.