Our People

HDA brings together a highly accomplished network of researchers, clinicians and health and education services.

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  • Convenors

    Professor Claire Roberts head shot

    Professor Claire Roberts

    Claire is well known internationally for her placenta research and is Fellow of the Society for Reproduction Biology, the President of the International Federation of Placenta Associations and the Executive Member of the Australian New Zealand Placenta Research Association.

    Claire’s research focuses on cellular and molecular interactions in placental differentiation, invasion and function and their impacts on fetal and maternal health.

    View Researcher profile


    Associate Professor Pammi Raghavendra head shot

    Associate Professor Pammi Raghavendra

    Pammi is a speech pathologist with extensive research, teaching and clinical experience working with children and young people with disabilities, especially those with severe communication impairments. Pammi’s current research focuses on investigating the impact of mobile technologies on communication and social networks of young people and adults with developmental or acquired disabilities.

    Pammi has been the lead Chief Investigator or named CI or AI on grants totalling over $3 million, in the area of enhancing social networks, communication and educational and employment participation of youth and adults with disabilities using IT, social media and mobile technologies.

    • Disability and Community Inclusion
    • College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University

    View profile


    Associate Professor Carol Maher head shot

    Associate 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

    View profile


    Past convenors

    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)
  • Executive Officer

    Anne Jurisevic portrait

    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.

    Email: anne.jurisevic@adelaide.edu.au
    Telephone: +61 8 8313 8222 (Wednesday and Friday)

    Ground Floor, Norwich Centre
    55 King William Road
    North Adelaide SA 5006 

  • Steering Group

    • Professor Claire Roberts (Chair) HDA Convenor
      Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide
       
    • Associate Professor Pammi Raghavendra HDA Co-convenor
      Disability and Community Inclusion Unit, Flinders University
       
    • Associate Professor Carol Maher HDA Co-convenor
      NHMRC Career Development Fellow, Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity, School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia

       
    • Professor Janna Morrison
      Head, Early Origins of Adult Health Research, University of South Australia
       
    • Professor Maria Makrides
      Head, Healthy Mothers Babies and Children, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI)
       
    • Mr Samuel Luddy
      Manager Strategic Data Development, Department for Education
       
    • Professor Sarah Robertson
      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
  • Executive Committee

    The Executive Committee oversees the implementation of the scholars program, travel grants and event program.

    • Professor Claire Roberts (Chair)
      University of Adelaide
       
    • Associate Professor Pammi Raghavendra
      Flinders University
       
    • Associate Professor Carol Maher
      University of South Australia
       
    • Professor Janna Morrison
      University of South Australia
  • Scholars

    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:

    2019 - 2022

    Shabnam Kashef portrait
    Shabnam Kashef

    The relative impact of four public health nutrition strategies to increase vegetable intake of children’s attending long day care.

    • Nutrition and Dietetics, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University
    • Primary supervisor: Associate Professor Rebecca Golley
    • Co-supervisor: Dr Dorota Zarnowiecki

    Nghia Pham portrait
    Nghia Pham

    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
    • Primary supervisor: Professor Benjamin Thierry
    • Co-supervisors: Dr Marnie Winter

    2018-2020

    Rose Virgara head shot
    Rosa Virgara

    Physical activity, screen-time and wellbeing in Out of School Hours Services: how can we provide better programs for Australian children?

    • Primary supervisor: Associate Professor Carol Maher, Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity; School of Health Sciences, UniSA
    • Co-supervisor: Dr Anna Philips, UniSA; Dr Lucy Lewis, Flinders University and Ms Mandy Richardson, Out of School Hours Care Association of SA (OSHCsa)

    Fan Jia
    Fan Jia

    Application of a new vaccine technology to protect children against multiple diseases painlessly and economically.

    • Primary supervisor: Professor John Hayball, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, UniSA
    • Co-Supervisor: Dr Kerrilyn Diener, University of Adelaide, and Dr Tamara Cooper and Dr Preethi Eldi, UniSA

    2017-2019

    Jago Van Dam head shot
    Jago Van Dam

    Effects of pro-inflammatory conditions of pregnancy on cortical physiology and neuroendocrine function in children and adolescents.

    • Primary supervisor: Dr Julia Pitcher, Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide
    • Co-supervisors: Dr Luke Schneider and Dr Mitchell Goldsworthy, University of Adelaide

    Joyce Haddad head shot
    Joyce Haddad

    Can the Dietary Guideline Index (DGI) for Children and Adolescence be used as an effective monitoring and feedback intervention?

    • Primary supervisor: Associate Professor Rebecca Golley, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, UniSA
    • Co-supervisor: Dr Gilly Hendrie, CSIRO Food and Nutritional Sciences
  • Alumni

    Past convenors

    Professor Michael Sawyer OAM: 2006-2018
    Michael Sawyer is 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, and is currently the Honorary Medical Advisor for Australian Rotary Health. Prior to this appointment he was Chair of the Australian Rotary Health Research Committee and a Director on the Australian Rotary Health Board. In 2008, Michael was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for services to the field of child and adolescent mental health as a researcher and educator.

    Professor Robert Norman: 2004-2013
    Robert Norman holds a personal 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). He is the medical director and an active reproductive medicine specialist at Fertility SA.

    Professor Caroline McMillen: 2004-2011
    Caroline McMillen joined the University of Newcastle as Vice-Chancellor and President in October 2011. Caroline McMillen began her three-year tenure as 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.