Inflammatory Origins

Understanding early life influences on infection and consequences for lifelong cardiovascular and metabolic disease risk

Inflammatory Origins tackles two related challenges for childhood and lifelong health.

The first is understanding why only a minority of children develop severe infection and inflammation, despite all children being exposed to life-threatening germs.

We also aim to understand the key roles that inflammation and infection play in the development of cardiovascular and metabolic disease (e.g. heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and obesity) which are the leading causes of illness and death in Australia and worldwide.

These cardiometabolic diseases develop across the entire life course, offering an under-used opportunity for early and effective prevention. The Inflammatory Origins group also has clinical and research expertise in oral health and in Kawasaki disease.

We use a range of different study types, including total population data linkage, longitudinal population-based and high-risk cohort studies, mechanistic and omics data. We also (co)-lead several international cross-cohort and cross-disciplinary collaborations. Our multi-disciplinary approach is reflected in the diverse scientific and clinical expertise of our researchers. The Inflammatory Origins Group places considerable importance and resources on the career development of early and mid-career researchers.

The Inflammatory Origins group is particularly interested in how infection and inflammation may contribute to social inequalities in health across the life course and how psychosocial factors ‘get under the skin’ and impact health outcomes.

Through our collaborations on campus, nationally and internationally, we aim to reduce the burden of infection, inflammation and social inequalities in children and help prevent the development of cardiovascular and metabolic disease later in life.