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Press Releases

Our press releases showcase the most recent news about programs, events, and announcements throughout GenV.

Sunday 27 December 2020 - Victorian families stand to benefit as MCRI commences one of the world’s largest-ever studies 

Sunday 27 December 2020 - Victorian families stand to benefit as MCRI commences one of the world’s largest-ever studies 

Victorian families stand to benefit as MCRI commences one of the world’s largest-ever studies 

News at a Glance:

  • MCRI has commenced recruiting Victorian families for its innovative Generation Victoria(GenV) birth and parent cohort research project
  • GenV aims to help solve problems like asthma, food allergies, obesity, autism and mental illness
  • In the first phase, GenV is inviting babies born at Joan Kirner Women and Children’s at Sunshine Hospitaland their parents to take part. It will scale up to partner with all Victorian birthing hospitals in 2021

The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) has started inviting Victorian families to take part in its innovative Generation Victoria (GenV) project.

GenV is one of the world’s largest-ever cohort studies. It will follow babies and their parents to help solve problems like asthma, food allergies, obesity, autism and mental illness.

In the first phase, GenV is partnering with Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital at Sunshine Hospital. Parents of all new babies will be invited to take part.

It will scale up to partner with all Victorian birthing hospitals in 2021. Every family with a newborn baby will be able to join up over a 2-year period, no matter where they live.

The MCRI’s GenV Director, paediatrician Professor Melissa Wake, said that, by 2035, GenV’s vision is to have helped create a happier and healthier future for many children and parents.

“By involving children and families in this once-in-a-generation initiative, GenV can help solve pressing problems like asthma, food allergies, obesity, autism and mental illness.

“In addition, we are seeking to address the disadvantages that face so many children and families across Victoria. Because GenV will be in every community, it may be especially helpful to the most vulnerable individuals and communities in our state.

“GenV truly is a collaborative study and a partnership of many. We are profoundly grateful to the team at Joan Kirner Women and Children’s at Sunshine Hospital for partnering with us as we launch this significant research project.

“Given the timing of the launch of GenV, our project is also in a unique position to investigate, understand and mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the next generation of Victorian children,” she said.

Professor Wake said that large whole-of-state research projects such as GenV could speed up answers to the major issues facing children and adults, today and for their futures.

“Over the next two years, around 150,000 children born in Victoria and their parents will have the opportunity to participate in the project. Put simply, by signing up to be a part of the GenV generation, parents will help to create a healthier future for all children and their families,” she said.

GenV is led by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, is supported by the Royal Children’s Hospital and University of Melbourne and is funded by the Paul Ramsay Foundation (PRF), the Victorian Government and the Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Visit the GenV website for more information.


About MCRI

The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) is the largest child health research institute in Australia committed to making discoveries and developing treatments to improve child and adolescent health in Australia and around the world. MCRI pioneers new treatments, trials better vaccines and improves ways of diagnosing and helping sick babies, children and adolescents. MCRI is one of the only research institutes in Australia to offer genetic testing to find answers for families of children with previously undiagnosed conditions.


Spotlight on the ‘Humans of GenV’

A sophisticated research project like GenV has a great many talented and passionate people working behind the scenes to create a stronger approach to child health, development and wellbeing in Victoria.

In our ‘Humans of GenV’ spotlight series, we aim to share the stories of the people supporting this world-first research project.

January 2021 - Branavie (Bran) Ranjithakumaran

January 2021 - Branavie (Bran) Ranjithakumaran

Meet Bran, Acting GenV Area Manager at Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s at Sunshine Hospital (and soon-to-be Area Manager at Box Hill Hospital in early 2021).

I’m a nutritionist and dietitian by backgroundand initially wanted to work as a hospital-based children’s dietitian. After completing my hospital placements I realised that sort of work was not for me and I started looking for work that was a little more abstract for my qualifications and skillset. I ended up joining the Health Services Research Unit at MCRI for around 18 months before moving across to the GenV project. 

initially started with GenV as a recruiter  one of the lovely people who approach families after their newborn arrives to ask if they want to be part of GenV. Throughout the course of 2020 (and all the surprises it brought!) I was lucky enough to be asked to be the Acting Area Manager for our pilot site, Joan Kirner Women’s and Childrens at Sunshine Hospital. It has definitely been a journey! 

“My biggest focus day-to-day is supporting our amazing GenV team at the hospitalThe role for the recruiters is pretty solo so I want to make sure we remember we’re part of a bigger team and amazing initiative. I want to make sure that everyone feels supported, heard, and advocated for whilst we’re in the early stages of such a huge project. It’s important to have breaks together, problem solve together, and celebrate our big wins together too!  

I see GenV as a pioneering research project; nothing like it has been achieved in Australia before. It has the potential to speed up research processes which can give kids – who become adults – the best chance at living their best lives and addressing issues that are relevant to them in a timely manner 

The one feature of GenV that I am constantly in awe of is that it is quite literally open to every single person who gives birth in Victoria. Idoesn’t matter what your cultural background isyour ability to speak English, where you live, or any other characteristic – anyone can join GenV. Being on the maternity ward and seeing how grateful families are to be asked to join makes my heart swell.  

As a person from a diverse backgroundand as a researcher and a health professional, I can see what an impact having people from all cultural backgrounds included in research can have. It can help better shape treatment, guidelines, and foster cultural understanding within the community. Being a part of GenV is also allowing me to learn so much more about the world and the people in it… without having to travel! 

Overall, I just feel incredibly lucky that in addition to my managerial duties, I get to spend my time talking to families during one of the most exciting times of their lives. The things I have learned from people in a short amount of time, the conversations I’ve had, and the babies I’ve been able to meet in the first 24 hours of their lives is an incredible honour, privilege, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. A big thank you to all the families I have met – I look forward to meeting many more throughout 2021!”