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MDRP projects

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

Studying the establishment of the infant microbiome and considerations for population health research

Studying the establishment of the infant microbiome and considerations for population health research

Project description: Generation Victoria is Australia’s most ambitious children’s and parents’ study, targeting all 150,000 Victorian babies born in 2021-23 and their parents (genv.org.au). GenV will investigate the biological processes associated with childhood health and disease. One of the key research areas GenV will investigate is infant microbiome establishment.  Assembly of the infant microbiome is complex, with factors such as maternal stress, infection, antibiotic exposure, mode of delivery and feeding practices influencing the final microbial composition. Because these are modifiable, understanding their roles for individuals and for populations in the developing microbiome has the potential to make major contributions to the health of the developing baby. However, few prospective epidemiological studies investigating the role of microbiome establishment in human health have been published and many factors surrounding microbiome establishment remain inconclusive. This project will evaluate current literature on microbiome establishment and identify the research questions that can be answered using GenV platforms.

Project type: Narrative Review with Systematic Approach

Supervisors: Prof Mary Wlodek (Primary), Co-supervisor: Dr Samuel Forster

Accessing and transmitting EMR hospitals prescription data into GenV

Accessing and transmitting EMR hospitals prescription data into GenV

Project description: Generation Victoria is Australia’s most ambitious cohort, targeting all 150,000 Victorian newborns in 2021-23 and their parents (genv.org.au). Almost all pregnant women are prescribed medicines in the primary care and hospital sectors, and GenV could improve the currently weak evidence base for medicine safety. This student will help develop a protocol to access, transmit, upload and store raw prescribing information from those birthing hospitals statewide with electronic medical records (EMRs). Mapping EMRs formats, linkage process and agreement with hospitals will be developed through this project. A student will develop a parallel protocol for accessing prescribing data from hospitals without EMRs (handwritten/typed; paper/scanned records). Combined with primary care (PBS) data, these two protocols will help bring comprehensive pre/perinatal prescribing data into GenV’s outcomes repository, enabling research to understand the impacts of pre/perinatal medicines use and help improve the next generation’s health.

Project type: Protocol Development

Supervisors: Dr Yanhong Jessika Hu (Primary), Co-supervisor: Dr Daniel Capurro

Accessing and transmitting handwritten/printed hospitals prescription data into GenV

Accessing and transmitting handwritten/printed hospitals prescription data into GenV

Project description: Generation Victoria is Australia’s most ambitious cohort, targeting all 150,000 Victorian newborns in 2021-23 and their parents (genv.org.au). Almost all pregnant women are prescribed medicines in the primary care and hospital sectors, and GenV could improve the currently weak evidence base for medicine safety. This student will help develop a protocol to access, transmit, upload and store raw prescribing information (handwritten/typed; paper/scanned records) from the many birthing hospitals statewide who do not yet have electronic medical records (EMRs). Process for agreement with hospitals, mapping the prescriptions formats and data transmission will be defined through this project.  A second student will develop a parallel protocol for accessing prescribing data from hospitals with EMRs. Combined with primary care (PBS) data, these two protocols will help bring comprehensive pre/perinatal prescribing data into GenV’s outcomes repository, enabling research to understand the impacts of pre/perinatal medicines use and help improve the next generation’s health.

Project type: Protocol Development

Supervisors: Dr Yanhong Jessika Hu (Primary), Co-supervisor: Dr Daniel Capurro

Multi ‘omics analysis from archival neonatal blood spots: limitations and opportunities

Multi ‘omics analysis from archival neonatal blood spots: limitations and opportunities

Project description: The newborn bloodspot (NBS) screening programme is available to all babies in Victoria to identify those at risk of potentially serious medical conditions soon after birth. Generation Victoria is Australia’s most ambitious children’s and parents’ study, targeting all 150,000 Victorian babies born in 2021-23 and their parents. GenV will investigate the biological processes associated with childhood health and disease, and will collect and store NBS cards in its biorepository.  These samples have broad scientific utility, but because are of limited quantity, future analyses need to be carefully considered. Of particular interest are ‘omics’ technologies, as they can measure a vast number of components to obtain a snapshot of the underlying biology from a biosample. This project will summarise current literature on ‘omics’ analyses performed on NBS cards, discuss issues arising from time and temperature conditions associated with storage to inform researchers on optimal downstream applications and limitations.

Project type: Narrative Review with Systematic Approach

Supervisors: A/Prof Ronda Greaves (Primary), Co-supervisors: Prof Vera Ignjatovic, Prof Jeanie Cheong, Prof Richard Saffery

Analysis of placental morphological characteristics derived from photography-based pipelines for inclusion in GenV (Generation Victoria)

Analysis of placental morphological characteristics derived from photography-based pipelines for inclusion in GenV (Generation Victoria)

Project description: The placenta is a crucial regulator of early development, functioning as the primary interface between mother and foetus. Given its importance in early development, it is a vital organ for research of future health outcomes. Valuable information regarding maternal and child health can be derived from macroscopic examination of the placenta. Despite this, there is no standardised clinical placenta examination protocol in Victoria, as it can be time consuming and require specialist knowledge. GenV is Australia’s most ambitious children’s study, aiming to recruit all 150,000 Victorian babies born in 2021-23 and their parents, and will investigate the biological processes associated with childhood health and disease. We are scoping whether we can collect placental morphological features from this cohort, using photography-based pipelines and artificial intelligence platforms. We are seeking a student to analyse this data to determine whether clinically relevant features of placentas can be reliably measured using photographs.

Project type: Retrospective data analysis (with ethics approval)

Supervisors: Dr Emily Camm (Primary), Co-supervisors: A/Prof Tu’Uhevaha Kaitu’u-Lino, Prof Richard Saffery

Determining the feasibility of inclusion of NICU derived biosamples within Generation Victoria

Determining the feasibility of inclusion of NICU derived biosamples within Generation Victoria

Project description: Newborn babies who require neonatal intensive care have higher risk of health and developmental sequalae than those who are not admitted to intensive care.  Those which are born preterm or are critically ill are admitted into neonatal intensive care units (NICU), where they receive specialised treatment which includes multiple sampling of blood and other biosamples. Generation Victoria is Australia’s most ambitious children’s and parents’ study, targeting all 150,000 Victorian babies born in 2021-23 and their parents. GenV aims to build the largest biorepository in Australia. One of the biosamples types that may be included in the GenV biorepository are those from infants admitted to NICU. These biosamples will provide a valuable resource for research in investigating the biological processes associated with early childhood illness and future health outcomes. This project will summarise and evaluate current literature on biosample research in NICU infants to determine the feasibility for inclusion within GenV.

Project type: Narrative Review with Systematic Approach

Supervisors: Prof Jeanie Cheong (Primary), Co-supervisor: Prof Richard Saffery

 

 

GenV - Exploring untapped health data that can be extracted from facial and body images and videos

GenV - Exploring untapped health data that can be extracted from facial and body images and videos

Project description: Generation Victoria is Australia’s most ambitious children’s and parents’ study, targeting all 150,000 Victorian babies born in 2021-23 and their parents (genv.org.au). Due to its large scale, traditional face-to-face assessments are not possible; participants are asked to complete digital measures, spanning survey items, images, videos and interactive adaptive assessments. Images and videos are of high interest for their low-burden, high-value ‘capture once, analyse repeatedly’ potential. For example, a single video of a child walking could generate data on gait analysis, height, body proportions and body fatness, or a facial photo could yield facial landmarks, skin colour and expressions. We welcome 1-2 students to undertake a narrative review of health or wellbeing attributes than can be extracted from images and videos of children and adults, ideally using automated processes, to enhance GenV’s impact. GenV’s Data Innovation and Expert Advisory Groups may also advise the student/s.

Project type: Narrative Review with Systematic Approach

Supervisors: Dr Susan Clifford (Primary), Co-supervisor: Loretta Gasparini

Note: We can offer this project to either one or two students. We would narrow or expand the topic accordingly.

GenV - scoping the Victorian GP data landscape

GenV - scoping the Victorian GP data landscape

Project description: Generation Victoria is Australia’s most ambitious cohort study, targeting all 150,000 Victorian newborns across two years from mid-2021 and their parents (genv.org.au). Its core comprises (1) consent, (2) biosamples, (3) linked clinical and other information and (4) GenV-collected data/samples, minimising participant burden by accessing existing clinical/service data/samples as far as possible. Virtually all Australian children and adults utilise general practice (GP) services. However, as GP episodes-of-care data are not centralized in state or federal systems, this vital sector is under-represented in research to benefit health and wellbeing. Building on 2020 UoM mapping of the Victorian general practice data landscape, we welcome 1-2 students to (1) scope and map the person-level GP data that might be accessible for consented GenV participants and (2) develop a prototype GenV access protocol for the varying landscape components. GenV’s Health Services and Data Linkage Working Groups and data/IT support teams may also advise the student/s.

Project type: Prof Melissa Wake, A/Prof Jo-Anne Manski-Nankervis (if two students – Melissa and Jo-Anne will each be primary supervisor of one), Co-supervisor: Liam Shanahan

Supervisors: Protocol Development

Note: We can offer this project to either one or two students. We would narrow or expand the topic accordingly.

GenV - what can we learn about people’s health from shopping data?

GenV - what can we learn about people’s health from shopping data?

Project description: Generation Victoria is Australia’s most ambitious cohort study, targeting all 150,000 Victorian newborns across two years from mid-2021 and their parents (genv.org.au). Its core comprises (1) consent, (2) biosamples, (3) linked clinical and other information and (4) GenV-collected data/samples, minimising participant burden by accessing existing sources as far as possible. Shopping-related data, eg from supermarkets or pharmacies, can provide person-level objective data on choices and behaviours that may be informative in the development of health and disease. However, paths to accessing such non-traditional datasets are much less clear than for administrative and clinical datasets. Working with leading Australian and UK-based researchers, we welcome one-two students to (1) scope and map the Victorian landscape of shopping data and (2) develop a prototype GenV access protocol for the varying landscape components, including ethical and governance considerations. GenV’s Health Services and Data Linkage Working Groups and data/IT support teams may also advise the student/s.

Project type: Protocol Development

Supervisors: Prof Melissa Wake, Prof Jim Buttery (if two students – Melissa and Jim will each be primary supervisor of one)

Note: We can offer this project to either one or two students. We would narrow or expand the topic accordingly.

Including every newborn: A six-month review of participation in GenV

Including every newborn: A six-month review of participation in GenV

Project description: Generation Victoria is Australia’s most ambitious children’s and parents’ study, targeting all 150,000 Victorian babies born in 2021-23 and their parents (genv.org.au). It is critical that families from all communities and social backgrounds are represented to ensure findings will benefit all families. Particularly those who may experience barriers to research participation.

Six months of recruitment data from the Vanguard site will be reviewed to evaluate trends in participation while establishing the program, and whether approaches such as translation of information have promoted inclusivity. Comparison with hospital level perinatal data will evaluate representativeness of the cohort included. Potential barriers to participation examined will include sociodemographic characteristics e.g. preferred language; and birth and postnatal circumstances including referral to specialist care.

Findings will evidence whether GenV will meet aspirations to improve health and care for every newborn. Recommendations to guide a continuing program of engagement and quality improvement will be a central outcome.

Project type: Retrospective data analysis (with ethics approval)

Supervisors: Dr Fiona Mensah (Primary), Co-supervisors: Dr Katherine Lange, Dr Yichao Wang, Dr Libby Hughes