HDA brings together a highly accomplished network of researchers, clinicians and health and education services.
Professor Claire Roberts
Claire is an inaugural NHMRC Leadership Fellow and Professor and Matthew Flinders Fellow. She leads the Pregnancy Health and Beyond Laboratory (PHaB Lab) within the College of Medicine and Public Health at Flinders University.
Claire moved her research group to Flinders University in March 2020 after 25 years at the University of Adelaide where she is an Adjunct Professor. She is an internationally recognised authority and thought leader in placenta research. She has a strong interest in genetic and modifiable lifestyle factors including maternal nutrition that contribute to health in pregnancy and long into the future for mother and child. She has lead research on large human pregnancy cohorts in Adelaide since 2005.
Professor Carol Maher
Carol has a background in physiotherapy; her research focuses on how children's and adults' daily activity patterns (e.g. physical activity, sleep and sedentary behaviours) impact their health. In particular, Carol is interested in how technologies such as wearables, online social networking, mobile phone apps and gamification can be used to improve lifestyle in a fun engaging way, and how these interventions can be delivered at scale to positively impact Australia's health.
Carol has received over $4.5 million in research funding, has published 140 journal articles, and is Section Editor for BMC Public Health.
- NHMRC Career Development Fellow
- Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity (ARENA)
- School of Health Sciences and Sansom Institute for Health Research, University of South Australia
Dr Anna Kontos
Anna is an early career researcher investigating the impact of sleep disordered breathing (sleep apnoea) on physiology during pregnancy, childhood and adolescents. In particular, Anna is interested in integrated changes that occur to multiple physiological pathways that predispose individuals to early vascular ageing and cardiovascular disease. Her work also investigates the role that upper airway muscle tone, dental morphology and allergens plays in the disorder and whether treatment reverses or reduces any pathological consequence of sleep disordered breathing.
- MS McLeod, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Women’s and Children’s Hospital
- Early Career Researcher Committee, Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide
HDA acknowledges past convenors who were instrumental in HDA’s inception and ongoing success.
- Professor Caroline McMillen (2004-2011)
- Professor Robert Norman (2004-2013)
- Professor Michael Sawyer (2006-2018)
- A/Professor Pammi Raghavendra (2019-2021)
Anne Jurisevic has worked at the University of Adelaide in research assistant/officer roles since graduating with a Bachelor of Science in 1992. In 2004, Anne commenced her role with Healthy Development Adelaide and now manages the event program, memberships, partnerships, scholars program, travel grant program, newsletter and website.
- Professor Claire Roberts (Chair) HDA Convenor
College of Medicine and Public Health, Flinders University
- Professor Carol Maher HDA Convenor
- Professor of Population and Digital Health, Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity, Allied Health and Human Performance, University of South Australia
- Dr Anna Kontos HDA Co-Convenor
Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide / Ms Mcleod Post Doctoral Research Fellow, Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Women's and Children's Hospital (Women's and Children's Health network) \
- Professor Janna Morrison
Head, Early Origins of Adult Health Research, University of South Australia
- Professor Maria Makrides
Head, Women and Kids, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI)
- Mr Samuel Luddy
Manager Strategic Data Development, Department for Education
- Professor Ray Rodgers
Director, Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide
- Mr Greg Ward
Chief Executive, Novita
Executive Director, Channel 7 Children's Research Foundation
- Ms Lindsey Gough
Chief Executive Officer, Women's and Children's Health Network
- Ms Katherine Hawkins
Executive Director, Inclusion and Reform, Department of Human Services
- Ms Karen McAuley
Director, Commissioning, Performance and Disability, Department for Child Protection
- Professor Claire Roberts (Chair) HDA Convenor
- Professor Claire Roberts (Chair)
- Dr Anna Kontos
University of Adelaide
- Associate Professor Carol Maher
University of South Australia
- Professor Janna Morrison
University of South Australia
- Professor Claire Roberts (Chair)
Rosanna Mangiarelli is an accomplished presenter and reporter for 7NEWS Adelaide and an experienced emcee. In her diverse roles, in a career spanning almost 25 years, Rosanna has reported on a vast range of topics and interviewed scores of international, national, and state identities. Rosanna hosted South Australia’s number one current affairs program, Today Tonight, for 12 years.
Away from work, Rosanna dedicates her time to an array of charities including Novita Children’s Services. She is a board director at the Channel Seven Children’s Research Foundation and the Sammy D Foundation. A busy working mum, Rosanna is passionate about women’s and children’s health and wellbeing issues and is honoured to come on board as an Ambassador for Healthy Development Adelaide. Rosanna also enjoys holidaying around the state with husband Andrew and their three children – Emma, Olivia and William.
- Presenter and Reporter, 7NEWS Adelaide
- Board Director, Channel 7 Children’s Research Foundation
- Board Director, Sammy D Foundation
Rachael Yates is the Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery, Women’s and Children’s Health Network (WCHN). Rachael is the professional lead for nursing and midwifery across WCHN.
Rachael is both a Registered Nurse and Midwife who has held senior leadership and management positions in regional and metropolitan public health services as well as in the Department of Health and Wellbeing. Rachael has had significant experience in change management and in collaborative design and development of health service delivery models, including influencing future strategic and operational opportunity for the networks and the nursing and midwifery workforce.
Rachael is committed to partnering with all stakeholders for quality improvement where the consumer is first and always at the centre of all decision making. Rachael has established networking platforms for connection, communication and collaboration across SA Health.
Rachael is committed to positively contributing to improving the health and wellbeing of all infants, children and young people so that they can reach their full potential and is privileged to be an Ambassador for Healthy Development Adelaide.
- Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery, Women’s and Children’s Health Network
Dr Natasha Schranz
Dr Natasha (Tasha) Schranz is the Manager, Early Years, Children and Young People within Wellbeing SA’s Health Promotion Branch.
After completing her PhD, Tasha co-founded and led the national Active Healthy Kids Australia (AHKA) collaboration for five years. In this early-career research role, Tasha advocated across sectors, using the AHKA Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Young People as the driving mechanism, for increased investment at all levels to support children’s participation in physical activity. Natasha was also a member of the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance Executive Committee as the Oceania representative during this time.
Tasha then moved on to work at the Heart Foundation, where she worked closely with the cardiovascular research community in SA and developed a community-based pilot program to increase the awareness of the risk factors for heart disease in regional communities.
In February 2020, Tasha was appointed as Wellbeing SA Principal Physical Activity Officer, within the state health portfolio and led their physical activity agenda. This broadly included co-leading the development of an across-government state-wide walking strategy, development of a state-wide physical activity communications campaign and establishing an ongoing partnership with 10,000 Steps for implementation of the program across SA.
Tasha is passionate about creating policies, environments and programs that support all South Australians experience good health and wellbeing. In her current role this is especially the case for our children and young people and their parents, carers and families. Tasha is excited to come on board as an Ambassador for Healthy Development Adelaide and working more closely with its vibrant and experienced network.
- Manager, Early Years, Children and Young People, Wellbeing SA’s Health Promotion Branch
- Former HDA Scholar (awarded a top-up PhD scholarship in our 2009 second cohort)
Julie Jensen is a Senior Manager leading three multidisciplinary teams supporting children and young people in care with disability and developmental delay in Disability and Development Services within the Department for Child Protection (DCP).
Julie worked as a speech pathologist across various sectors including disability, health, and education before becoming an allied health services manager. Her service development achievements include setting up the NDIS Early Childhood Early Intervention in South Australia, and setting up therapeutic programs to reduce the impacts of developmental trauma within the DCP.
- Senior Manager, Disability and Development Services in the Strategy, Partnerships and Reform Directorate at the Department for Child Protection
The HDA scholars program offers unique research training opportunities including networking, mentorship and translational research practicum placements to enhance and broaden career development.
The program awards PhD scholarships on the basis of individual merit and the multidisciplinary nature of a project. Scholarship top-ups for up to three years per scholar are funded by the Channel 7 Children's Research Foundation.
For a list of past scholars, visit Alumni.
Current HDA scholars:
2022 - 2025
Elucidating the biological importance of Pregnancy Zone Protein
- Medical Biochemistry, College of Medicine and Public Health, Flinders University
- Primary supervisor: Dr Amy Wyatt
Assessing and treating the impacts of maternal asthma on newborn lung function
- Adelaide Medical School, Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide
- Primary supervisor: A/Prof Michael Stark
Using MRI to understand the impact of fetal growth restriction on brain development
- Clinical and Health Sciences, University of South Australia
- Primary supervisor: Prof Janna Morrison
2021 - 2024
Mental health and related service and support use among children experiencing different adversities
- BetterStart Child Health and Development Research Group, School of Public Health, University of Adelaide.
- Primary supervisor: Dr Catherine Chittleborough
Utilising light and sound in Assisted Reproductive Technologies
- Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide and Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham.
- Primary supervisor: Dr Kylie Dunning
2020 - 2023
Identification and validation of non-invasively-sourced biomarkers of central nervous system disease in childhood-onset dementia (Sanfilippo syndrome).
- Childhood Dementia Research Group, College of Medicine and Public Health, Flinders University
- Primary supervisor: Associate Professor Kim Hemsley
An exploration of vaccine hesitancy in pregnancy and parenting.
- College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University
- Primary supervisor: Dr Anita De Bellis
A/Professor Pammi Raghavendra: 2019-2021
Disability and Community Inclusion, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University.
Professor Michael Sawyer OAM: 2006-2018
Head of the Research and Evaluation Unit, Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Women’s and Children’s Health Network. Professor in the Discipline of Paediatrics at the University of Adelaide. Honorary Medical Advisor for Australian Rotary Health.
Professor Robert Norman: 2004-2013
Chair as Professor for Reproductive and Periconceptual Medicine at the University of Adelaide, and is a sub-specialist in reproductive medicine (CREI) and in endocrine biochemistry (FRCPA). Former medical director and reproductive medicine specialist at Fertility SA.
Professor Caroline McMillen: 2004-2011
South Australian Chief Scientist in October 2018.
Past PhD scholars
Leigh Guerin: 2006-2008
Role of maternal T regulatory cells in healthy pregnancy undertaken within the Discipline of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Adelaide and School of Pharmacy and Medical Science, University of South Australia.
Siew Lim: 2006-2008
Effects of metformin or lifestyle intervention on weight, metabolic, reproductive and psychosocial outcomes in young women undertaken at CSIRO Human Nutrition and the Research Centre for Reproductive Health, University of Adelaide.
Anne Raimondo: 2006-2008
Single-Minded protein 1 (Sim 1), a transcription factor thought to possess roles in early neural development and linked to early onset obesity undertaken within the Discipline of Biochemistry and Discipline of Genetics, University of Adelaide.
Lisa Akison: 2009-2011
Molecular mechanisms regulating ovulation undertaken within the Robinson Research Institute and School of Molecular and Biomedical Sciences, University of Adelaide.
Zhi Yi Ong: 2009-2011
Determining whether being exposed to maternal junk food diet during fetal life leads to altered development of the central reward pathway undertaken within the Early Origins of Adult Health Research Group, University of South Australia.
Luca Prisciandaro: 2009-2011
Identifying probiotics that can provide beneficial therapy for chemotherapy-induced mucositis undertaken within the Discipline of Animal Science, University of Adelaide, the Department of Gastroenterology, Women’s and Children’s Hospital, SARDI and Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Natasha Schranz: 2009-2011
Running a resistance training intervention for overweight and obese adolescent males undertaken within the School of Health Sciences and the Nutritional Physiology Research Centre, University of South Australia.
Dorota Zarnowiecki: 2009-2011
Exploring resilience in relation to dietary behaviours among children from neighbourhoods of low socioeconomic position undertaken within the School of Health Sciences and Nutritional Physiology Research Centre, University of South Australia.
Georgie Crichton: 2009-2011
Investigating the effects of low fat dairy consumption on cognitive functioning, psychological wellbeing, and cardiometabolic health undertaken within the Nutritional Physiology Research Centre and the School of Psychology, University of South Australia.
Sam Buckberry: 2012-2015
The transcriptional landscape of the human placenta and gene expression differences between the sexes undertaken within the Robinson Research Institute, Discipline of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and Molecular Biosciences, University of Adelaide.
Angela Gialamas: 2011-2014
Does the type, quality and time spent in non-parental child care influence children’s cognitive and social-emotional development? was undertaken within the Discipline of Public Health, University of Adelaide, the Women’s and Children’s Health Network and the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research.
Jessica Gugusheff: 2011-2014
The early origins of a preference for fat: the importance of endogenous opioids undertaken within the Foodplus Research Centre, University of Adelaide.
Stefania Velardo: 2011-2014
Understanding preadolescent nutrition literacy in low socioeconomic communities undertaken within the School of Education and School of Social Health Sciences, Flinders University.
Mini Vithayathil: 2011-2014
The early origins of obesity: the importance of prenatal vs postnatal environment undertaken within the Foodplus Research Centre, University of Adelaide.
Amy Wooldridge: 2014-2015
Impact of placental restriction on adolescent immune function in sheep within the Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide.
Naomi Fink: 2014-2016
Examination of the mechanisms by which supplemental DHA exerts an immuno-modulatory effect in the preterm infant within the Foodplus Research Centre, Discipline of Paediatrics, University of Adelaide.
Olivia Octoman: 2014-2016
Cumulative harm: the outcomes, risks and protective factors on chronic maltreatment within the Australian Centre for Child Protection, University of South Australia.
Lucy Farrell: 2014-2016
Social acceptability of childhood obesity prevention through law: an investigation of public attitudes and their social contexts within the Discipline of Public Health, University of Adelaide.
Bing Wang: 2014-2016
Cost of illness study of invasive meningococcal disease in Australian children and young adults within the Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide.
Victoria Branson: 2016-2018
Designing, evaluating, and utilising a holistic measure of adolescent stress, School of Psychology, University of Adelaide.
Verity Booth: 2016-2018
Databases of physical activity in Australian children: an audit, an online repository, and recommendations on survey instruments, School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia.
Jago Van Dam: 2017-2019
Effects of pro-inflammatory conditions of pregnancy on cortical physiology and neuroendocrine function in children and adolescents, Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide.
Joyce Haddad: 2017-2019
Can the Dietary Guideline Index for children and adolescence be used as an effective monitoring and feedback intervention?, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University.
Rosa Virgara: 2018-2020
Physical activity, screen time and wellbeing in Out of School Hours Services: how can we provide better programs for Australian children?, School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia.
Fan Jia: 2018-2020
Application of a new vaccine technology to protect children against multiple diseases painlessly and economically, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, University of South Australia.
Shabnam Kashef: 2019-2021
The relative impact of four public health nutrition strategies to increase vegetable intake of children’s attending long day care, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University.
Nghi Pham: 2019-2021
Development of an integrated lab-on-chip device for the isolation and analysis of circulating fetal trophoblastic cells towards detecting pre-eclampsia in early pregnancy, Future Industries Institute, University of South Australia.
HDA Executive Officer, Anne Jurisevic