Professor Melissa Wake
Professor Melissa Wake (MBChB, FRACP, FAHMS, MD) is a paediatrician, community child health researcher, and Scientific Director of the Generation Victoria (GenV) initiative. Her "population paediatrics" agenda spans common childhood conditions and antecedents of diseases of ageing.
Her goals are to speed up children's research and to test interventions that change children's care. Having led numerous community-based randomised trials, her major focus for this triennium is building the Generation Victoria (GenV) and Child Health CheckPoint platforms for generations of researchers.
Awards include the 2009 Australian Health Minister's Prize for Excellence in Health & Medical Research and consecutive NHMRC Excellence Awards (2009-12, 2013-16) as top-ranked Research Fellow in Australia. Projects led by Melissa have twice appeared in the NHMRC's annual 'Ten of the Best' publication (2008, 2017).
Successes in research translation include securing the Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program, which now screens 80,000 babies annually and is springboarding a continuing program of population-based hearing research.
She holds honorary Professorial positions with the Universities of Melbourne and Auckland.
- Professorial Fellow, Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne
- Honorary Professor, Department of Paediatrics and Liggins Institute, University of Auckland, New Zealand
2017, 2008: '10 of the Best': the NHMRC's annual celebration of ten outstanding completed research initiatives (Memory Maestros and Obesity, Activity and Health at 4, both Wake CIA)
2013-17: NHMRC Elizabeth Blackburn Fellow: Highest-ranked Public Health Research Fellowship to a female applicant
2012: NHMRC Excellence Award: Highest-ranked Research Fellowship
2009: The 2009 Australian Health Minister's Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research (medal, $50,000 prize)
2008: NHMRC Excellence Award: Highest-ranked Public Health Career Development Award
From 2 years of age onwards, our research shows that 60% of Australian children have at least one ongoing health condition at any given time, and that this rises to >70% from 8 years of age onwards. Conditions like obesity, mental health and sleep problems and language/learning difficulties aren't new, but many are at epidemic proportions - and many have lifelong consequences as 'diseases of ageing'. Professor Wake's population-based research centres around better prediction, prevention and intervention to reduce the cost and lifetime burden of these common conditions.
She leads Generation Victoria (GenV) and Growing Up in Australia's Child Health CheckPoint, two major lifecourse platforms that combine wide-ranging exposures, biosamples, health measurement and population outcomes. Her language and literacy trials and cohorts in children with both normal and impaired hearing are central to CLARE, the Child LAnguage Repository. Her 20 randomised trials have targeted obesity, blood pressure, sleep, language, literacy and hearing, working memory and mental health. For maximal policy relevance, her platforms and trials are highly harmonised on core measures and support economic analysis.
- Generation Victoria (GenV)
- Growing up in Australia's Child Health CheckPoint
- VicCHILD (Victorian Childhood Hearing Impairment Longitudinal Databank)
- CLARE: the Child LAnguage REpository
- GENO: The New Zealand-Australia collaboration on Genes, Environment, Nutrition & Obesity
- CODA: Childhood Obesity - Date to Action
- Sung V, Hiscock H, Tang M, Mensah F, Nation M, Satzke C, Heine R, Stock A, Barr R, Wake M. Treating infant colic with the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri: double-blind, placebo-controlled randomised trial.BMJ 2014;348:g2107
- Wake M, Lycett K, Clifford S A, Sabin M A, Gunn J, Gibbon K, Hutton C, McCallum Z, Arnup S, Wittert G. Shared-care obesity management in 3-10 year old children: 12 month outcomes of HopSCOTCH randomised trial. BMJ 2013;346:f3092
- Price AM, Wake M, Ukoumunne OC, Hiscock H.. Five-year follow-up of harms and benefits of behavioural infant sleep intervention: Randomized trial. Pediatrics 2012;130(4):643-651
- Wake M, Tobin S, Girolametto L, Ukoumunne O, Gold L, Levickis P, Sheehan J, Goldfeld S, Reilly S. Outcomes of population-based language promotion for slow-to-talk toddlers at ages 2 and 3 years: The Let's Learn Language cluster randomised controlled trial. BMJ 2011; 343,d4741
- Wake M, Baur L, Gerner B, Gibbons K, Gold L, Gunn J, Levickis P, McCallum Z, Naughton G, Sanci L, Ukoumunne OC. Outcomes and costs of primary care surveillance and intervention for overweight or obese children: the LEAP 2 randomised controlled trial. BMJ 2009;339,b3308
- Jansen PW, Mensah FK, Nicholson JM, Wake M. Family and neighbourhood socioeconomic inequalities in childhood trajectories of BMI and overweight: Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. PlosOne2013;8(7):e69676
- Sung V, Collett S, de Gooyer T, Hiscock H, Tang M, Wake M. Probiotics to prevent or treat excessive infant crying: systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Pediatrics 2013;167(12):1150-7.
- Wake M, Tobin S, Levickis P, Gold L, Ukoumunne OC, Zens N, Goldfeld S, Le H, Law J, Reilly S. Randomized trial of a population-based home-delivered intervention for preschool language delay.Pediatrics 2013;132(4):e895-e904
- Reilly S, Onslow M, Packman A, Cini E, Conway L, Ukoumunne OC, Bavin EL, Prior M, Eadie P, Block S, Wake M. Natural History of Stuttering to 4 Years of Age: A Prospective Community-Based Study.Pediatrics 2013;132(3):460-467
- Jansen PW, Mensah FK, Clifford S, Nicholson JM, Wake M. Bidirectional associations between overweight and health-related quality of life from 4-11 years: Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. International Journal of Obesity 2013;37(10):1307-1313