About Us

The research team members are from Murdoch University, the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research (TICHR); the University of Western Australia, and Curtin and Edith Cowan Universities. Each of us also has a network of national and international researchers who support this work and will provide additional expertise if this is required as we analyse this information.

The Team
Professor Anne McMurray - Chief Investigator

Anne McMurray AM, RN, Phd, FRCNA is Professor of Nursing and Research Chair in the School of Nursing & Midwifery at Murdoch University in Western Australia. She is the research leader on this collaborative research project Our Children, Our Families, Our Place. Anne’s role at Murdoch University also includes supervising Masters and PhD students in nursing and health related disciplines, primarily in her area of expertise, which is in community health and wellbeing. Her current students have been using a variety of methodologies to investigate the influences of community factors on children’s health and development in the Peel region. She welcomes expressions of interest from other potential students who would like to undertake their research on this dynamic project.
She can be contacted via email: A.McMurray@murdoch.edu.au
Or mobile: 0409587850

Professor Fiona Stanley - Chief Investigator
Martinique Sandy - Study Manager
Julie Lodge - Research Assistant
Deborah Soanes - Research Assistant
Janye Delves - Administrative Assistant

Community Team
Professor Barry Down - Chief Investigator

Barry Down is the City of Rockingham Chair in Education, at Murdoch University, Rockingham campus, Western Australia. He has particular expertise in teacher development at both pre-service and in-service levels, critically reflective practice, action research and collaborative models of whole school reform.

Barry has had extensive involvement in Commonwealth funded teacher development programs including Innovative Links, Quality Teacher Project and Values Education Good Practice Schools Project. He has published in national and international journals on a range of issues including: teachers' work; teacher education; school and community linkages; citizenship education; youth policy; and WA educational history.

He is currently working on a three year Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage grant entitled "Enhancing School Retention: School and Community Linkages in Regional Western Australia" (2005-2007).

Professor Margaret Sims - Chief Investigator
Professor Margaret Sims has research expertise in parenting and child care. In this study she is investigating the impact of various forms of parental and non-parental care on children's outcomes. Professor Sims has an extensive publication record in this area and her most recent work, using cortisol as a biomarker of stress to investigate the impact of child care environment on children, has received international attention. Professor Sims is an advisor to the documentary series associated with the Longitudinal Study of Australia Children. "Life at One" received a Logie nomination for Best Documentary in 2007. "Life at Three" was screened in October 2008 on ABC TV and filming is beginning for "Life at Five."
Email Margaret at margaret.sime@une.edu.au

Dr Garth Kendall RN, BA(Psych), DipSocSci(Nurs), MPH, PhD - Chief Investigator
I am a Nurse and Epidemiologist whose principle research interest is the family’s experience of life-stress and it’s influence on child development. In collaboration with other Investigators I am responsible for the survey data regarding family health and wellbeing, and child health and development. I am also responsible for the setting up of on-line questionnaires and the development of the study databases.
Email Garth at g.kendall@curtin.edu.au

Dr Jianghong Li - Chief Investigator
Dr Jianghong Li has a Masters and a PhD degree in Sociology and a Minor in Economics from the US. Her research interest and expertise centre on social, economic and cultural determinants of health from both theoretical and empirical perspectives. She has earned expertise in socioeconomic determinants of health as evidenced in her peer-reviewed publications in international journals. Her current research interests focus on parental work and child health and wellbeing and gender and health in developing countries. She is one of the leaders of the Social, Economic and Psychological Stream of the Peel Child Health Study, with a strong research focus on social causation of stress and how it impacts on child health and development through the biological embedding process. She combines quantitative and qualitative research methods in her research.
Email Jianghong at jianghongl@ichr.uwa.edu.au


Dr. Anke van Eekelen - Chief Investigator

Dr. Anke van Eekelen received her MSc in 1987 and PhD in 1990 from the University of Utrecht in The Netherlands. Her PhD in the lab of Prof. Ron de Kloet at The Rudolf Magnus Institute for Pharmacology and Neuroscience was focussed on the neuroendocrine implications of corticosteroid receptor diversity in the brain. This research was followed by a postdoctoral study in the lab of Prof. Jan Åke Gustafsson at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. After two more international relocations, she moved to Australia in 2001 to study the role of transcription factors in brain development using genetically manipulated mouse models in the lab of Prof. Glen Begley at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in WA. Currently, she leads neurobiological research on stress and adaptation within the Western Australian Pregnancy (Raine) Study on child health and development. Her developmental neuroscience research in collaboration with A/Prof Jonathan Foster and Dr. Eugen Mattes is focussed on brain development, adolescent brain function and neuroendocrine regulation of stress and adaptation. In addition, Dr. van Eekelen is involved in The Peel Child Health Study, which provides the opportunity to study the effects of early life stress on birth outcomes and brain development during childhood and adolescent years.

Dr Eugen Mattes - Chief Investigator
Eugen’s current roles include:
  •  Research Fellow and Co-Chair: Developmental Neurosciences at TICHR;
  •  Chair: Mental Health Group - Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study;
  •  Co-chief investigator: Peel Child Health Study;
  •  Board member: W.A. Neurosciences (WANS) Board
  •  General Practitioner, Gemini Medical Services

His research interests are:
  •  identifying social, physical and biological exposures in pregnancy and early life; and their influence on trajectories of childhood behavioural and cognitive problems, adolescent psychopathology, drug taking and sexual behaviour;
  •  maternal mental health, stress and HPA function in pregnancy and their influence on intrauterine growth, uteroplacental function, perinatal immunity and the shaping of behavioural and cognitive profiles into adolescence.

Email Eugen at eugenm@ichr.uwa.edu.au

Dr Phil Stumbles Ph.D - Chief Investigator
Phil’s role in the Peel Child Health Study is to co-ordinate the biological sample collection and storage and develop research in the area of early-life stress, environmental exposure and development of the immune system. It is hoped that this area of research will provide new information into the development of diseases such as allergic asthma and susceptibility to respiratory infections. Phil completed a PhD in Immunology from Murdoch University in 1993 under the supervision of Professor John Penhale, studying the immunopathology of Type 1 (insulin-dependant) diabetes in a newly described animal model. From 1993-96 he undertook postdoctoral research fellowship in the MRC Cellular Immunology Unit at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology at the University of Oxford U.K., investigating new immune-based therapies for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis, in the group of Professor Don Mason. In 1996 Phil returned to Perth to work at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research to study the role of immune cells in allergic asthma and at the University of Western Australia working on tumour immunotherapy. Phil currently works on the immunology of the respiratory tract, including diseases such as asthma and influenza infection.
You can email Phil at p.stumbles@murdoch.edu.au

Professor Brendan Waddell - Chief Investigator
Professor Brendan J. Waddell is a Reproductive Biologist in the School of Anatomy & Human Biology at The University of Western Australia, where he has conducted pregnancy research since 1989 (as Professor since 2004, and as Head of School, 2002-2006). Brendan is a UWA graduate, obtaining his BSc (Hons) in 1981 and PhD in 1986. He then completed postdoctoral studies in the Department of Physiology at the Eastern Virginia Medical School, (Norfolk, Virginia; 1986-1989) where he studied placental regulation of foetal adrenal development. His current research is focussed on the impact of stress hormones (glucocorticoids) on the growth and function of the placenta, and the consequences for foetal growth and development.

Recently, this work has extended to an investigation of the developmental programming effects of exposure of the placenta and foetus to excess glucocorticoids, similar to the exposure that occurs with maternal stress. Developmental programming is an exciting new research field that explores how our early environment, including that which we experience as a foetus, can influence our subsequent postnatal development to adulthood. We now know that negative programming effects can increase susceptibility to adult-onset diseases such as diabetes and obesity, and that these detrimental effects can be prevented by dietary changes after birth. This work is currently supported by funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia. Email Brendan at Brendan.Waddell@uwa.edu.au

Emilija Filipovska-Naumovska - Research Assistant

Dr Peter Franklin - Chief Investigator

Dr Peter Franklin conducts research into the effect of environmental pollutants, particularly air pollutants, on the health of children. He completed a PhD in 1999, investigating the impact of indoor air pollution on the respiratory health of children. Since that time he has been employed as a Research Fellow at both the School of Paediatrics and Child Health and School of Population Health, University of Western Australia. He also has a part-time position as Environmental Co-ordinator for the World health Organization Collaborating Centre for Research on Children’s Environmental health at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research.

In the Peel Child Health study Peter will be investigating environmental influences on various aspects of foetal and infant health. Environmental pollutants that will be collected are metals and allergens in house dust, and indoor and outdoor air pollutants. Health outcomes of interest will include foetal growth, infant and child lung function and the development of allergic disease.

Natasha Cunningham - Research Assistant

Dr Cheryl Kickett-Tucker - Chief Investigator

Dr Cheryl Kickett-Tucker is from the Bibbulum nation and has traditional ties to the Wadjuk, Ballardong and Yued peoples. Cheryl was educated in both Australia and the United States of America and has currently completed a Post Doctoral Research Fellowship at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research.

In 1999, Cheryl completed her PhD which explored the sense of self, identity and self-esteem of urban Aboriginal children in the school sport setting. Cheryl is particularly interested in continuing this research to further explore how urban Aboriginal children think and feel about themselves in the world that they live and how this affects their lives. As well as completing her PhD, Cheryl also has a Master of Science, a Bachelor of Applied Science and an Associate Diploma of Applied Science.

Rani Param- Researcher

Post graduate students affiliated with Peel Child Health Study

Gabrielle Brand (PhD - APAI) - The enabling community as support for pregnant adolescents and their children

Afrooz Najafzadeh (PhD - APAI) - Maternal stress and its effects on foetal growth and maternal foetal circulation - an ultrasound study

Jenny Wrightson (PhD - Peel Health Campus Foundation Scholar) - Low risk women's perceived influences on their decision to have an induced birth

Helen Ivory (PhD) - Peel community environmental support for physical activity

Dawson Cooke (PhD) - Clinical Psychology Programme - Curtin University

Robert Laing (PhD) - Midwives' experiences of neonatal death

© 2009 Martinique Sandy - Peel Child Health Study
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