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Projects

Research project
All pregnant women in Australia are offered voluntary prenatal screening for fetal chromosome conditions to learn more about their health of their unborn baby. The Reproductive Epidemiology group has led research in this field for many years, publishing scientific papers and reports on prenatal testing that have informed Australian clinical practice guidelines and health policy. Our team Professor Jane Halliday PhD (Principal investigator of the Victorian Prenatal Diagnosis Database) Associate Professor Lisa Hui MBBS PhD (Team leader) Cecilia Pynaker BSc MGH (Research Assistant) The Annual Report on Prenatal Diagnostic testing in Victoria This publication from the Victorian Prenatal Diagnosis Database (VPDD) analyses state-wide trends in fetal chromosome testing every year. The VPDD is a long standing collaboration between the Reproductive Epidemiology group, the Victorian Clinical Genetics Services, Monash Pathology, and formerly, Melbourne Pathology and Australian Clinical Laboratories. A comprehensive description of numbers of tests, indications for testing and test results ...
Research project
Enhanced public health investigation of SARS-CoV-2 cases in Victorian schools and early childhood education and care. Why do we need the COVID Schools study? The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), together with the Victorian Department of Health (DH) and the Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET), is conducting a study to increase understanding of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission in schools and Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services. It is anticipated that the findings from this research will inform the public health response to outbreaks in schools and ECEC services. Schools and ECEC services are an essential part of society and children’s lives. They provide safe and supportive learning environments for children and students, employ teachers and other staff, and enable parents and guardians to work. Ultimately, we need more evidence to understand how coronavirus(COVID-19) is spread in schools and ECEC, inform the best way to respond to outbreaks, and ...
Research project
What is the Australian Friedreich Ataxia Stem Cell and Gene Therapy Consortium? The Australian Friedreich Ataxia Stem Cell and Gene Therapy Consortium is a strategic alliance of pre-eminent experts in Friedreich Ataxia, Stem Cells, Gene Therapy, Policy, Advocacy and Regulation. The Consortium has been assembled by Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) to develop strategies and undertake programs that will expedite Friedreich Ataxia cell and gene therapy clinical trial readiness and translation in Australia and internationally. Our vision is to facilitate and undertake Friedreich Ataxia cell and gene therapy clinical trials leading to successful outcomes and treatments for patients as soon as possible. Key facts: 1 in 30,000 people in Australia are born with Friedreich Ataxia. 1 in 90 unaffected people are carriers of a faulty Friedreich Ataxia gene. At least 7 companies and/or academic institutions are currently developing gene therapies for Friedreich Ataxia; 2 of these groups hope to file ...
Research project
What is the Early Awareness and Recognition of congenital CytoMegaloVirus (EAR-cCMV) study? Children born with congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) can be faced with issues such as hearing loss and cerebral palsy. Screening for this virus in the first 21 days of life has been recommended by experts across the world. This would help diagnose these children early, and possibly provide treatment for those who are appropriate to receive treatment. Our research study explores parents’ experiences of their child’s diagnosis of congenital CMV. We also want to explore other parent’s perspective of screening for congenital CMV, such as those who have children with permanent hearing loss not caused by congenital CMV. These study results will help us understand the best way to screen for congenital CMV. Who can take part? Parents or caregivers of children who have been diagnosed with congenital CMV. Their child must: Currently be aged between 0 and 17 ...
Research project
Do you want to help us understand the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on young people? This study will explore young people’s physical health and emotional wellbeing through the pandemic. The findings are important, even if there are no or few further COVID-19 cases in Victoria. The YoungLives team, together with researchers from the SchoolNuts study at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (at Royal Children’s Hospital campus in Parkville), are leading important research to learn more about COVID-19. We hope to understand why some but not all people are infected, why symptoms vary between people, whether there are any long-term effects and young people’s experiences of the pandemic. Who can participate? Young people aged over 16 years who have previously participated in the SchoolNuts study What’s involved? Wellbeing & Allergy Questionnaires Health Check visit (at beginning and end of study) Self-reported fortnightly symptom checks How can I find out more? Click ...
Research project
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) are finalists in the MacArthur Foundation’s 100 & Change program, a $US100M grant for the winning world-changing team. This achievement recognises the outstanding contribution that teams from MCRI and The University of Melbourne Centre for International Child Health have made towards improving oxygen access globally – over many years. Why is oxygen important? Oxygen is one of the most essential elements of life. When we breathe in air (which contains 21% oxygen), our lungs extract oxygen and it is transported around our body by red blood cells. Oxygen is used by our cells to release energy so that we can stay alive and well. Hypoxaemia (low blood oxygen levels) is a life-threatening complication of many illnesses such as pneumonia, preterm birth, and sepsis. Hypoxaemia increases patients’ risk of death enormously – resulting in hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths each year. What is oxygen therapy? ...
Research project
Childhood outcomes of genomic copy number variants: The PrenatAL Microarray (PALM) study Why do we need the PALM study? The PALM study will follow up the health outcomes of children whose mothers had a particular genetic test during their pregnancy. This test, known as a microarray, looks at babies' chromosomes, which are the packages of DNA contained in each cell. To be able to do this test the mother would have undergone a needle procedure (amniocentesis or CVS) during her pregnancy to collect a sample of the baby’s DNA. Some pregnant women who have a microarray will be told that their unborn baby has a known chromosome condition. Others will be told that there were no changes detected by the microarray. About 1 in 20 women will be told that their baby has a chromosome change that is ‘unknown’ or ‘uncertain’. This means that the health care workers do not ...
Research project
What is this project about? This study aims to understand the experiences of refugee background parents and the health and social care professionals caring for them in pregnancy and early parenthood during the COVID-19 pandemic in Victoria. The pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges for the entire Victorian community. Through the application of a health equity lens, it is apparent that some members of our community may experience greater challenges than others, including refugee background parents and health and social care professionals working with these families on the front-lines of the pandemic response. The knowledge generated by this phenomenological study will help to ensure our short-and-long term responses to the pandemic are informed by the needs of refuge background parents and the professionals caring for them. Listening to What Matters is a collaboration between the MCRI Refugee and Migrant Research Program and the Victorian Foundation for the Survivors of Torture (Foundation ...
Research project
What is the project about? Until now maternal suicide has remained largely unseen by society, researchers, and many health professionals. Our study, Making Sense of the Unseen, will begin to address this important gap in our knowledge. The study aims to understand women’s experiences of thoughts of suicide during pregnancy and the following year (a time known as the perinatal period). The experiences that women share with us will help us to understand and find a way to help women and families impacted by suicidality in the perinatal period. Making Sense of the Unseen is a collaboration between MCRI, James Cook University, and PANDA – Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia . Who can take part? We would like to hear from women who: Had thoughts of suicide during pregnancy and/or the following year within the last 5 years Lived in Australia at the time Are over 18 years of age ...
Research project
What is the MIND the Vax Gap project? We want to understand parents' views on vaccination and factors that may affect their decisions about vaccinating their children. We know that getting children vaccinated may not always be easy. We are looking at three groups: children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (autism), children with Down Syndrome, and children from the general population. We want to learn more about what factors affect vaccine uptake for these children and their siblings. We also want to find out what concerns parents of children with neurodevelopmental disorders might have about getting their children vaccinated. We hope this information will help us develop better ways to support parents to make their vaccination decisions and access vaccination services more easily. Who can take part? Parents with children: aged under 18 years who have a diagnosis of autism, or a diagnosis of Down Syndrome, or from general population (typically ...