Back Honours/Masters projects

Honours/Masters projects

Interested? Reach out to supervisors to ask about a project, or to GenV’s Student Coordinator Ella Perlow for general enquiries about Honours/Masters projects. 

Statewide outcomes for babies in special care nurseries – a pilot study

Statewide outcomes for babies in special care nurseries – a pilot study

Project description: Newborn babies who require specialist care account for substantial immediate and lasting burden of disease. More than 10% of newborns are admitted to special care nurseries (SCN), many experiencing lifelong adverse outcomes. Despite decades of research, deficiencies remaining in knowledge of risks and outcomes pertaining to babies. To rapidly improve care for babies, comprehensive knowledge of incidence, health/developmental outcomes, risk factors and care pathways, coupled with a uniform whole-of-population approach, is urgently needed.

The ‘Generation Victoria’ cohort is targeting all 160,000 Victorian births over two years commencing Dec 2020 for Joan Kirner. Within GenV, we are establishing a depth data collection for all newborns admitted to Victoria’s 40 SCNs, covering important events during pregnancy and the postnatal admission. These unique whole-state data will complement data already available for the 5 neonatal ICUs and build a statewide evidence base for better physical, mental and developmental outcomes for these vulnerable babies.

Project objective: For the expected 200 babies admitted to Joan Kirner hospital from Dec 2020 to Mar 2021 (pilot study), we aim to determine the population incidence of morbidities (eg respiratory distress, hypoglycaemia, infection, jaundice, and feeding difficulties) in the neonatal period, and the characteristics of the babies who experience them.

Working with the GenV and the SCN study team, the student will learn how registries are set up, assist with data extraction and develop definitions, coding and recording of morbidities and characteristics before proceeding to quantitative analyses to address the study objective.

This opportunity enables an outstanding student to be involved in both developing a registry with a lasting legacy (with subsequent PhD and career opportunities), and in GenV, one of the world’s most exciting new child health projects.

Supervisors: Dr Jing Wang, Dr Jessika Hu

A pilot study to investigate impact on prenatal and perinatal medication use on birth outcomes

A pilot study to investigate impact on prenatal and perinatal medication use on birth outcomes

Project description: When a new medicine is developed through clinical trials, pregnant women are often excluded due to ethical concerns and technical difficulties. This means that large-scale pharmacovigilance is urgently needed for adverse maternal and child outcomes from drugs/medicines taken by pregnant women. This requires population-level data on two fronts: (1) whole-population cohorts that can measure potentially subtle adverse outcomes, both short-term (eg birth outcomes) and long-term (eg diabetes, childhood infections, neurodevelopmental outcomes); and (2) complete data on medications prescribed during pregnancy, labour and the newborn period. In Australia, outpatient prescriptions are meticulously documented via the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). However, medications prescribed via other routes, including hospitals, are not available at the population level.

Project objective: This pilot project will fill this critical gap to investigate the feasibility and preliminary analysis in one of the GenV birthing hospitals, working with GenV (Generation Victoria) and GenV relevant working group; The student will:

  1. Map how and where prescribed and record medication data for pregnant women and newborns are located in the hospital system.
  2. In a proof-of-principle analysis, study associations between hospital-prescribed medications and pregnancy and newborn outcomes for all births over a 6-month period.

This Honours/Masters project may be stand-alone, or work with a second student examining antibiotic stewardship policies and prescribing more specifically. In addition to the GenV team, it is expected they will work with experts spanning GenV’s Pregnancy, Newborns, Data Linkage and other relevant Working Groups. This opportunity enables an outstanding student to develop skills in a public health area critical to lifelong human health (with subsequent PhD and career opportunities), and in GenV (https://genv.org.au/), one of the world’s most exciting new child health projects.

Supervisors: Dr Jessika HuProf Melissa Wake,  Dr Jing Wang

Antibiotic stewardship and outcomes in Victorian birthing hospitals

Antibiotic stewardship and outcomes in Victorian birthing hospitals

Project description: Optimising the use of antibiotics is critical to effectively treat infections, protect patients from short- and long-term harms and combat antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic stewardship programs can help clinicians improve these outcomes by improving antibiotic prescribing. The forthcoming GenV cohort (see below) provides the opportunity to model the costs and benefits of variations in antibiotic prescribing and stewardship across an entire state. However, this requires complete data on antibiotic prescribed during pregnancy, labour and the newborn period.

Project objective: This project will fill this critical gap, working with GenV (Generation Victoria), a new birth cohort targeting all 150,000 Victorian births and their mothers over two years from early 2021. The student will:

  1. Map antibiotic prescribing and stewardship policies for pregnant women and newborns across Victoria’s 70 birthing hospitals.
  2. Assist GenV in developing systems to link to these datasets, via this mapping and via hospital interviews and surveys.
  3. In a proof-of-principle analysis, further analysis the current antibiotic stewardship gaps and future research directions.

This Honours/Masters project may be stand-alone, or work with a second student examining hospital prescribing more generally. In addition to the GenV team, it is expected they will work with experts spanning GenV’s Pregnancy, Newborns, Data Linkage and Optimising Antibiotics Working Groups. This opportunity enables an outstanding student to develop skills in a public health area critical to lifelong human health (with subsequent PhD and career opportunities), and in GenV (https://genv.org.au/), one of the world’s most exciting new child health projects.

Supervisors: Dr Jessika HuProf Melissa Wake,  Dr Jing Wang