Population Allergy

Research area:  Population health

Prevention, early intervention, improved health and wellbeing for children and families living with food allergy

Australia is considered the allergy capital of the world, with over five million people living with allergic diseases. In children, our HealthNuts study has shown up to 10 percent of 12-month-olds in Australia have a clinically confirmed food allergy. Hospital data also show a rapid increase in food allergy and anaphylaxis, with admissions in Australia increasing by 350 percent over the past two decades. 

To help address this public health crisis, our research is working to address the rising allergy epidemic in Australia and provide relief and hope to children who are living with food allergy and their families. This work informs clinical guidelines and public health policy for the clinical care and management of childhood food allergy.

Our vision is to help prevent the current 10 percent of infants developing food allergy by generating, translating and evaluating new knowledge about novel strategies to prevent – and early targeted interventions to treat – young children with food allergy. Specifically, our research looks at three levels of prevention:

  • Primary: prevention of the development of food allergy
  • Secondary: prevention of adverse events in food allergic children
  • Tertiary: aiding the development of tolerance

The Population Allergy Group is one of the leading food allergy research centres in Australia. Our group secured a highly prestigious Centre for Research Excellence grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council in 2012, 2017 and 2022. This grant funds the Centre for Food & Allergy Research.

In August 2022, the National Allergy Centre of Excellence (NACE), hosted at the Murdoch Children's, launched following a four-year Federal Government investment of $10.2 million. As the country’s peak allergy research body, the NACE will develop infrastructure to enable cutting-edge research into allergy prevention, intervention and management. NACE Director and Murdoch Children's Population Allergy Group Leader, A/Prof Kirsten Perrett, and the Executive Committee will lead four broad pillars to underpin a national plan of action addressing drug, food, insect and respiratory allergic disease: 

  1. An Allergy Research Hub will oversee a Clinical Trials Network and an Allergy Studies Directory to improve access to treatments.
  2. A Repository and Discovery Hub will harness the power of big data analysis to drive individualised healthcare.
  3. An Evidence and Translation Hub will establish living systematic reviews to seamlessly connect evidence and practice.​​
  4. A Training and Innovation Hub will support and mentor the next generation of allergy experts. 

VITALITY trial - Vitamin D and allergy trial


 

Eden's story

Hear from Professors Kirsten Perrett and David Burgner about our efforts to find a StrepA vaccine, to help prevent infections like Eden's.


 

Dr Melanie Neeland - Food allergy research


 

Get the latest information

For the latest information and news, see our Food allergy page and find more resources below.

More resources