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Projects

Research project
Program Leader: Associate Professor Brigid Jordan BSW PhD Research in our team is focused on understanding the relationship between early life stress – as a result of serious illness and hospital experience or significant family stress and social disadvantage – and the health and mental health of infants and young children and their families. Our research has a strong focus on clinical and translational outcomes in paediatric social work and infant mental health. Research Project 1: Changing the Trajectories of Australia's Most Vulnerable Children - The Early Years Education Program Randomised Controlled Trial Click here or visit eyerp.org for more information. Project 2: Infant and Family Wellbeing after Cardiac Surgery: Life as a Pre-schooler The aim of this project is to investigate the developmental trajectory and predictors of emotional and behavioural regulation in children who had cardiac surgery early in life. This is a longitudinal, prospective cohort study of a ...
Research project
Program leader: Louise Crowe, PhD A developmental insult is when normal brain development is interrupted. This could occur through an injury such as a traumatic brain injury or stroke, or could be due to other causes such as epilepsy, exposure to medication prenatally or a genetic disorder. Early childhood is a time of intense brain and skill development. If brain development is interrupted it can have a long-term impact on function, with young children often particularly vulnerable to poor outcome. The research in this group is focused on the outcomes of these insults in cognitive, behavioural and social areas. Research is also focused on the benefits of intervention for children following developmental insult. The goal of our team is to enhance the understanding of how an insult can influence development in early childhood and the vulnerabilities of young children. Additionally, we are focused on tailoring and administering interventions for young ...
Research project
Program leader: Professor Vicki Anderson By the age of 10, 1 in 5 children (~51,000 in Australia alone) will sustain a concussion and present with acute Post-Concussion Symptoms (PCS). These symptoms vary from child to child, with the most common being headache, irritability and fatigue, and cognitive disruptions. At The Royal Children’s Hospital Emergency Department this equates to 1000+ concussions yearly, costing >$10M. These PCS resolve spontaneously within 4 weeks in 60% of children and youth, who then safely return to pre-injury activities, leaving ~40% suffering ‘persisting PCS’ (> 2 PCS lasting 4 weeks or more). Persisting PCS cause low tolerance for academic and sport/leisure activities, as well as secondary disruptions to education, fitness and mental health. The family impact of child concussion is significant: medical costs (e.g., radiology, allied health), lost work and school days and parent and child-related stress. Despite their debilitating impact, there is minimal understanding as ...
Research project
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) occurs when trauma causes damage to the brain. Within Australia, there is an annual incidence of 149/100,000 cases of traumatic brain injury across the age spectrum, of which 43.8% occur in children and adolescents. In a typical year approximately 3,000 children present to the Emergency Department (ED) at The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) with TBI. TBI can have enduring symptoms including fatigue, headache, poor concentration and irritability which have a significant impact on a young person’s capacity to return to school, leisure and sports. Consequently, they may fall behind in their studies and be unable to participate fully in daily life. While some young people adjust to these limitations, a significant number will have difficulty adjusting, and develop depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress. These internalised mental health problems may go undetected and untreated, further impacting the young person’s quality of life. A research team led by ...
Research project
The Vaccine & Immunisation Research Group of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute at The Royal Children’s Hospital and The University of Melbourne is conducting a research study on an investigational vaccine against pneumococcal infections in infants. What is Pneumococcal disease? Pneumococcal disease is caused by a type of bacterium called Streptococcus pneumoniae. This bacterium is a major cause of infection that may be in the ears, sinuses, blood, lungs or brain. There is already a licensed vaccine which protects against pneumococcal disease and this is being used to compare to the study vaccine. What is the study about? The purpose of this study is to compare the study vaccine with a currently licensed vaccine to study its safety, how well it is tolerated, and how well your child responds to the investigational vaccine. Who can participate? Participants must: Be aged between 6 to 12 weeks of age Not have received ...
Research project
Studying how genes may be involved in speech disorders in adults and children The Centre of Research Excellence in Speech and Language is an international collaboration of experts in the fields of speech pathology, neurology, neuroscience and genetics. Our CRE is focused on understanding the mechanisms underlying childhood speech disorders to develop novel targeted therapies. Researchers at The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute are studying the genetic causes of speech disorders. They are looking for children and adults who have speech sound disorder such as childhood apraxia of speech or severe phonological disorder. Our team have identified that, in many cases, severe speech disorder seems to simply arise in a child in a family, without any prior history of speech difficulties from the parents. In other cases, there is a strong history of speech difficulties from one or both sides of the family. At present, we have found we can identify ...
Research project
The Victorian Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Special Interest Group (VIC FASD SIG) was established in 2017 to provide an opportunity for professionals, families and researchers to connect and collaborate to build capacity to prevent, diagnose, understand and respond to FASD in Victoria. Membership is open to anyone who lives or works in Victoria with an interest in FASD. The current Chair of the SIG is Dr Kerryn Bagley from the La Trobe Rural Health School, La Trobe University in Bendigo. Coordinators are Prof Jane Halliday and Evi Muggli from the Murdoch Children's Research Institute and Prue Walker from VicFAS. Meetings are usually held every 2 months, with additional meetings called as required. We always welcome new members, please email our Chair Dr Kerryn Bagley for more information ( k.bagley@latrobe.edu.au ) Our Terms of Reference: To promote awareness and knowledge of FASD in Victoria and its service systems To share information ...
Research project
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute awarded $10M to lead a global program to wipe out the scabies parasite. What is scabies? Scabies is a skin disease caused by a tiny mite (Sarcoptes scabiei) that burrows under the skin and lays its eggs, resulting in traumatic itching – an irritation so severe people cannot sleep and may scratch themselves until they bleed. What happens to people with scabies? Constant scratching caused by the mites opens up the skin, leading to bacterial skin infections and that in severe cases blood poisoning, kidney failure and heart disease. Who does it effect? Globally, there are an estimated 455 million cases of scabies every year, and around million people are affected at any time. Mites thrive in hot, crowded conditions – schools, villages, refugee camps and prisons – and can be widespread in some low-income communities, including in remote communities in northern Australia, and parts of ...
Research project
The Monash School of Psychological Sciences, together with MCRI, are interested in understanding whether a game-based attention training program can strengthen attention in children who have experienced an acquired brain injury (ABI). What is an acquired brain injury? An acquired brain injury can have a big impact on the way a person thinks, feels and behaves. The term describes any type of brain injury that happens after birth, and includes damage due to infection, tumours, stroke, lack of oxygen or trauma. It is estimated that as many as 20% of children with an ABI will go on to develop clinically significant attention deficits. What is the study about? Attention problems are a common feature of ABI and can have far-reaching consequences for learning, social relationships, and behaviour in childhood. Therefore, finding effective early interventions that can help improve attention is key to improving overall outcomes for children with ABI. Rehabilitation ...
Research project
Why are survivors of childhood cancer 15 times more likely to have heart failure? How can the incidence of cardiovascular disease, which is 8 times higher in childhood cancer survivors than the general population be reduced? How do we identify at risk patients earlier and provide the best management regimen to improve the long-term cardiovascular health of these children and AYA? ACOR is a world first paediatric and young adult prospective cardio-oncology registry designed to capture the clinical, epidemiological and pharmaceutical data from every Australian child and young adult that receives cardiac toxic therapies (chemotherapy, radiotherapy, molecular and immunotherapy). This strategically places ACOR in a position to provide data to underpin research and generate hypotheses that will address some of the above questions. About ACOR aims to provide a research platform from which longitudinal data can be attained and through which further research can be developed to better provide outcomes ...