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Professor Franz Babl
Professor Franz Babl is the Group Leader of Emergency Research at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute and the Professor of Paediatric Emergency Medicine at the University of Melbourne. He works as a paediatric emergency physician at The Royal Children's Hospital. He studied in Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States of America and trained in the USA as a paediatrician, emergency physician and infectious diseases physician.
He was the co-founder and founding chair of the Paediatric Research in Emergency Departments International Collaborative (PREDICT) network in Australia and New Zealand, and is currently Vice Chair. This network involves all major tertiary paediatric hospitals in Australia and New Zealand, with an annual census of half a million paediatric presentations. This collaboration is uniquely placed to conduct multicentre trials.
Professor Babl conducted many collaborative studies with the PREDICT network. He is currently a mentor and supervisor to advanced trainees, PhD students and early career researchers at the Royal Children's Hospital and within PREDICT. He has published >250 peer reviewed publications including in the Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine and BMJ. He is Chief Investigator on a number of National Health and Medical Research Council and Medical Research Futures Fund funded studies. Total grant funding over his career is >$25million. He is the director of an NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Paediatric Emergency Medicine.
- Director of Emergency Research, Murdoch Children's Research Institute and The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne
- Researcher, National Trauma Research Institute
- Professor, University of Melbourne
- PREDICT (Paediatric Research in Emergency Departments International Collaborative)
- PERN (Paediatric Emergency Research Network)
2010: Career Development Grant, Murdoch Children's Research Institute
2010: Victorian Health Care Awards (Innovation) Runner up
2011: Emergency Care Institute Evidence into Action Best Paper Award: 'Can parents recognise a tight plaster?' International Conference for Emergency Nurses, Hobart, Tasmania
2012: Best original research award International Conference on
2013: International Conference on Emergency Medicine, Dublin Ireland: 'Prospective randomised trial comparing nasogastric with intravenous hydration in children'
2013: Best research award. Australasian College of Emergency Medicine Annual Scientific Meeting 2013, Adelaide: 'Topical lignocaine to improve oral intake in children with painful infectious mouth ulcers: a blinded randomised placebo-controlled trial.'
2013: John Gilroy Potts Award for best published research by a fellow Australasian College of Emergency Medicine: 'Prospective randomised trial comparing nasogastric with intravenous hydration in children'
2014: Research Excellence Award (Senior Staff), Murdoch Children's Research Institute.
2016: NHMRC Career Development Fellowship (relinquished as awarded NHMRC Practitioner Fellowship).
2016: Melbourne Children's Clinician Scientist Fellowship.
2017: Visiting Scientist Fellowship, Department of of Women's and Children's Health, University of Padua, Italy.
2017: NHMRC Practitioner Fellowship.
2018: International Federation for Emergency Medicine Campell McFarlane Best Poster Award "A randomised controlled trial comparing home to hospital in children with moderate/severe cellulitis"at the International Conference on Emergency Medicine in Mexico City, Mexico 2018. Presented by S Hopper.
2019: Ludwig-Seidel Award for the 2019 PAS meeting. “Pharmacotherapy in Bronchiolitis at Emergency Department Discharge: a PERN Study". Paediatric Academic Societies Meeting, Baltimore, USA 2019. Presented by Alisha Jamal.
2019: Mindlink Brightwater Award for Interdisciplinary Research. “HeadCheck app for concussion in children". Australasian Society fot the Study of Brain Impairment, Wellington New Zealand. Presented by Vanessa Rausa.
2019: SAEM PEM Best abstract awards (Fellow abstract Award): "The Effect of Observation Status on Cranial CT Rates in Children with Minor Head Trauma" Society of Academic Emergency Medicine Annual Meeting 2019, Las Vegas, NV. Presented by Sonia Singh.
2019: Best Paediatric Emergency Research Award, EUSEM 2019. "A Randomised Double Blind Placebo Controlled Trial of Ondansetron to reduce Vomiting in children Receiving Intranasal Fentanyl and Nitrous Oxide for Procedural Sedation and Analgesia". European Society for Emergency Medicine Congress, Prague, Czech Republic 2019, Presented by Franz Babl.
Professor Babl's main focus and interests include:
Head Injury research:
The research team is conducting a number of head injury related projects:
- Development of an Australasian Paediatric Head Injury Guideline
- To externally validate clinical decision rules for the management of head injuries in children (PREDICT network, PhD thesis Dr Silvia Bressan)
- To validate the SCAT assessment tool after concussion (with Prof Gavin Davis, Austin Hospital)
- To investigate the role of biomarkers with the Department of Neuropsychology at the Royal Children's Hospital (Prof Vicki Anderson) and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto Canada.
- To investigate the cognitive effects of exercise after head injuries (PhD thesis Ms Vicky Manikas)
- To investigate the role of fatigue after head injuries (PhD thesis Dr Ali Crichton)
Brain attacks and stroke in children
In conjunction with the Department of Neurology at The Royal Children's Hospital (Dr Mark Mackay) and the Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health (Professor Leonid Churilov) the research team is conducting studies:
- To better define the differences in symptoms between brain attacks/mimics and strokes in children.
- To develop an assessment tool to improve early recognition of stroke
Large randomised-controlled trials
Professor Babl is the Chief Investigator on two randomised controlled trials:
- Paediatric Intravenous Maintenance Solution Study (PIMS)
A single centre NHMRC funded RCT comparing IV maintenance fluids with different sodium content.
- Convulsive Status Epilepticus (CSE)
A double blind, placebo controlled RCT at 10 PREDICT sites to investigate whether levetiracetam or phenytoin is better at stopping status epilepticus in children.
Paediatric Emergency Medicine Centre for Research Excellence (PEM CRE): Our research group is part of the PREDICT (Paediatric Research in Emergency Departments International Collaborative) CRE into emergency conditions funded by NHMRC CRE grants. We participate in PERN (Pediatric Emergency Research Networks) global studies across 80 emergency departments worldwide.
Single Centre Studies:
- Fentanyl, Nitrous Oxide and Ondansetron Trial (FON): RCT investigating whether ondansetron is better than placebo in reducing the emesis rate in fentanyl and nitrous oxide sedations (MCRI funded)
- Cellulitis treatment at Home Or Inpatient in Children presenting to ED (CHOICE): Series of studies to investigate if children with cellulitis can be treated at home (RCHF funded)
- Urinary tract infection (UTI CHOICE): Series of studies to determine which children with UTI are at increased risk of adverse outcomes (RCHF funded)
- The Take CARe Concussion Assessment and Recovery Research Study: Joint clinical and research project to improve the care of children who sustain a concussion (RCHF funded)
- Biomarkers Study: Study to correlate child and family function post head injury and brain specific proteins in peripheral blood and neuroimaging findings
- SCAT (Sport Concussion Assessment Tool) Study: Validation of the updated version of SCAT (SCAT5 and ChildSCAT5) in children. Systematic review on concussion in children as part of the Berlin consensus work of the Concussion in Sports Group
- Procedural pain and distress: Investigations to better measure procedural pain and distress in pre-verbal and early verbal children
- Brain Attacks: Aim to better define and identify brain attacks - acute neurological changes, including strokes
- Sepsis research: Studies to assess fluid therapy to improve sepsis care in the emergency department
Large multi-centre randomised controlled trials and observational studies:
- Australian Paediatric Head Injury Rules Study (APHIRST): Analysis of 20,000 children with head injuries to optimise CT imaging and high risk sub-groups (NHMRC funded)
- APHIRST Gap-Study: Investigating management practice for head injuries at non-tertiary hospitals (NHMRC funded)
- Bronchiolitis Knowledge Translation Study (BronchKT): Cluster randomised trial at 26 PREDICT sites to explore two different strategies to reduce care of no benefit (NHMRC funded)
- Convulsive Status Epilepticus Paediatric Trial (ConSEPT) and seizure studies: Trial of levetiracetam vs phenytoin for status epilepticus in children (HRC NZ funded)
- Bell's Palsy in Children (BellPIC): Placebo controlled trial to investigate whether prednisolone is better than placebo for Bell's palsy (NHMRC funded)
- Predicting Infectious ComplicatioNs in Children with Cancer (PICNICC): Series of studies to risk stratify neutropenic febrile children and develop low risk pathways (NHMRC and MRFF funded)
- High-Flow studies (Pediatric Acute Respiratory Intervention Studies (PARIS)): Series of trials to clarify the role of high flow nasal cannula therapy in bronchiolitis and asthma (NHMRC funded)
- Pediatric Emergency Research Networks (PERN) Bronchiolitis Study: Investigation of variability in bronchiolitis care across countries
Dalziel S, Borland M, Fryk J… Babl FE. An open-label, multicentre randomised controlled trial of levetiracetam versus phenytoin for convulsive status epilepticus in children: Convulsive Status Epilepticus Paediatric Trial (ConSEPT) - a PREDICT study. Lancet April 17, 2019. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(19)30722-6
Ibrahim LF, Hopper SM, Orsini F, Daley AJ, Babl FE, Bryant PA. Cost-effectiveness of admission avoidance with outpatient parenteral antibiotic therapy for children with moderate/severe cellulitis.
Lancet Infect Dis. (In press)
Ibrahim LF, Hopper SM, Orsini F, Daley AJ, Babl FE, Bryant PA. Efficacy and safety of intravenous ceftriaxone at home versus intravenous flucloxacillin in hospital for children with cellulitis (CHOICE): a single-centre, open-label, randomised, controlled, non-inferiority trial. Lancet Infect Dis. 2019 Mar 7. pii: S1473-3099(18)30729-1. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(18)30729-1.
Jamal A, Finkelstein Y, Kuppermann N, Freedman SB, Florin TA, Babl FE….Schuh S. Pharmacotherapy in Bronchiolitis at Emergency Department Discharge: A Pediatric Emergency Research Networks (PERN) Retrospective Cohort Study. Lancet Child and Adolescent Medicine (in press)
Stukas S, Higgins V, Frndova H, Gill J, Hubara E, Guerguerian AM, Boutis K, Beauchamp M, Farrell C, Babl FE, et al. Characterization of Serum Total Tau Following Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury.
Lancet Child and Adolescent Health. 2019 Aug;3(8):558-567.
Franklin D, Babl FE, Schlapbach L, Oakley E, Craig S, Neutze J, Furyk J, Fraser JF, Jones M, Whitty JA, Dalziel S, Schibler A. High-Flow for Infants with Bronchiolitis: A Randomized Controlled Trial. A pediatric acute respiratory intervention study (PARIS) from PREDICT and PCCRG. N Engl J Med. 2018 Mar 22;378(12):1121-1131. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1714855.
Kaufman J, Hopper S, Fitzpatrick P, Donath S, Babl FE. Faster Clean Catch Urine Collection From Infants: The Quick-Wee Randomised Controlled Trial. BMJ 2017 Apr 7;357:j1341. doi: 10.1136/bmj.j1341.
Babl FE, Borland ML, Phillips N, Kochar A, Dalton S, McCaskill M, Cheek JA, Gilhotra Y, Furyk J, Neutze J, Lyttle MD, Bressan S, Donath S, Molesworth C, Jachno K, Ward B, Williams A, Baylis A, Crowe L, Oakley E, Dalziel SR; Paediatric Research in Emergency Departments International Collaborative (PREDICT). Accuracy of PECARN, CATCH and CHALICE Head Injury Decision Rules in Children. A Prospective Cohort Study. The Lancet 2017 Jun 17;389(10087):2393-2402.
McNab S, Duke T, South M, Babl FE, Lee KJ, Arnup SJ, Young S, Turner H, Davidson A. 140 mmol/L of sodium versus 77 mmol/L of sodium in maintenance intravenous fluid therapy for children in hospital (PIMS): A randomised controlled double-blind trial. The Lancet. 2015 Mar 28;385(9974):1190-7.
Oakley E, Borland M, Neutze J, Acworth J, Krieser D, Dalziel S, Davidson A, Donath S, Jachno K, South M, Theophilos T, Babl FE. Nasogastric hydration versus intravenous hydration for infants with bronchiolitis: a randomised trial. Lancet Respir Med. 2013 Apr;1(2):113-20. 260.
- National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
- Medical Research Futures Fund (MRFF)
- Health Research Council of New Zealand
- Royal Children's Hospital Foundation
- Murdoch Children's Research Institute
- A+ Trust Research Grant
- Auckland Medical Research Foundation
- Perpetual Philanthropic Services
- Queensland Emergency Medicine Research Foundation
- Victorian Managed Insurance Authority
- Foundation for Children
- National Stroke Foundation
- Collier Charitable Fund
- Victorian Neurotrauma Initiative
- Angior Foundation
- Shepherd Foundation