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Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics (CEBU)

The Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Unit (CEBU) specialises in biostatistics, epidemiological methods and data management. The group is supported by the Murdoch Children's Research Institute and the University of Melbourne Department of Paediatrics, to provide expertise and support in these areas to all researchers on The Royal Children's Hospital campus. The group collaborates with a wide range of clinical and biomedical investigators and also conducts methodological research to develop and strengthen the biostatistical methods underpinning modern health research.

The unit’s work is fundamentally important across many clinical and health problems, because almost all modern research involving patients and children relies heavily on statistical methods in order to design high-quality studies and to interpret the resulting data appropriately. Murdoch Children's has developed a national profile in this area and the CEBU unit is widely regarded as a leading example of how internationally-respected biostatistical expertise can be developed and integrated into major health research programs. The group’s work on the method of “multiple imputation” for managing missing data problems has attracted international recognition. The team’s work contributes to the improvement of clinical care for children by providing research evidence and increasing the understanding of disease causes, or pathways, from epidemiological studies.

CEBU offers a number of highly regarded short courses in research methods, biostatistics and data management. Learn more

Group Leaders: 
Team Leaders: 
Group Members: 
Julie Perkins
Administration Officer
A/Prof Susan Donath
Biostatistician/Principal Research Fellow
Sarah Arnup
Biostatistician/Research Officer
Rushani Wijesuriya
PhD Student
Dr Anneke Grobler
Senior Research Fellow
Dr Ghazaleh Dashti
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Marnie Downes
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Susan Ellul
Research Associate
Katie Francis
Biostatistician (Snr Research Officer)
Dr Rheanna Mainzer
Research Officer
Dr Rachel Schembri
Biostatistician (Snr Research Officer)
Sri Joshi
Database Manager
Fiona Snashell
Administration Officer

The group is involved in a large number of projects, ranging from brief one-off consultancies to collaborations lasting decades. Some of the major projects are:

Methodological Research

ViCBiostat: the Victorian Centre for Biostatistics, an NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in biostatistics.
This centre grant provides support for postdoctoral biostatisticians working on a range of methodological and collaborative projects.
John Carlin and Kate Lee, MCRI, with Andrew Forbes and Rory Wolfe, Monash University, and Lyle Gurrin and Julie Simpson, University of Melbourne School of Population Health

Statistical methods for handling missing data in large epidemiological studies, using multiple imputation.
John Carlin, Kate Lee, Helena Romaniuk, Laura Rodwell, with local and international collaborators

Methods for analysing high-density lung function data from infants and young children. 
Damjan Vukcevic and John Carlin

Collaborative Health Research

The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (Growing Up in Australia): studies on child health inequality and common problems of early childhood.
Fiona Mensah and John Carlin with Melissa Wake and colleagues, Community Child Health

Mental health, substance abuse, social development and health of offspring in adolescents and young adults.
John Carlin and Helena Romaniuk with George Patton and colleagues, Adolescent Health Research

The Early Language in Victoria Study (ELVS): a population-based cohort study of language development.
Fiona Mensah and John Carlin with Sheena Reilly and colleagues, Hearing Language & Literacy

The Barwon Infant Study: a prebirth cohort study investigating the interplay between the modern environment and the early life origins of eczema, food allergy, asthma and atherosclerosis.
John Carlin and Kim Jachno with Peter Vuillermin, Anne-Louise Ponsonby, and colleagues

Randomised controlled trials

RV3 rotavirus vaccine development program: Phase II trials in New Zealand and Indonesia.
Kate Lee and John Carlin with Julie Bines and colleagues, Rotavirus research group

General anaesthesia and child neurodevelopment (GAS trial)
Polly Hardy, Kate Lee and Sarah Arnup, with Andrew Davidson, Anaesthesia Research

Broncho-alveolar lavage (BAL) directed therapy in young children with cystic fibrosis.
John Carlin and Suzanna Vidmar with Claire Wainwright, Royal Children's Hospital, Brisbane and collaborators

OPTIMIST: A multicentre randomised controlled trial of minimally-invasive surfactant therapy in very preterm infants on continuous positive airway pressure.
John Carlin and Francesca Orsini with Peter Dargaville and colleagues, Royal Hobart Hospital & Royal Women's Hospital

BCG (TB) immunisation to prevent the development of allergy in infants
Susan Donath with Nigel Curtis and colleagues

Imaging and clinical studies of early brain development.
Kate Lee with Peter Anderson and colleagues, Victorian Infant Brain Studies group

AQuA: a cohort study examining the effects of low and moderate alcohol consumption in pregnancy.
Susan Donath with Jane Halliday, Public Health Genetics


Maternal Health Study: a prospective cohort study of women recruited in early pregnancy, studying the natural history of maternal incontinence during and after pregnancy.
Fiona Mensah with Stephanie Brown and colleagues, Healthy Mothers Healthy Families

  • Professor Andrew Forbes, Biostatistics Group, Department of Epidemiology & Preventive Medicine, Monash University
  • Dr Ian White, MRC Biostatistics Unit, Cambridge, U.K.
  • Professor Andrew Gelman, Columbia University, U.S.A.
  • Professor Claire Wainwright, Royal Children's Hospital, University of Queensland, Brisbane
  • Dr Peter Dargaville, Menzies Research Institute, University of Tasmania
  • Dr Lisa Amir, Judith Lumley Centre, La Trobe University