Back PhD projects

PhD projects

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

Improving lifetime outcomes for babies in special care nurseries

Improving lifetime outcomes for babies in special care nurseries

Project description: More than 10% of newborns are admitted to special care nurseries (SCN), many experiencing lifelong adverse outcomes. Within the ‘Generation Victoria’ cohort, targeting all 160,000 Victorian births over two years from 2021 and encompassing all 28 SCNs, this PhD will assist in setting up a new statewide SCN registry. It will overcome research challenges of dispersed care and difficulties in long-term outcomes measurement to build an evidence base for better physical, mental and developmental outcomes. GenV’s linked datasets, digital ‘ePhenome’ will support exploration of the impacts of variations in care and comparisons with the general population. It offers immense opportunities to establish a career and leadership in transformative newborn and child health services research. 

Supervisors: Prof Melissa Wake, A/Prof Jeanie CheongDr Jing Wang 

Taking placenta to scale: The population burden of disordered placentation and placental function

Taking placenta to scale: The population burden of disordered placentation and placental function

Project description: The placenta regulates a healthy pregnancy. The population burden of disordered placentation and function is unquantified but potentially immense. This highly novel PhD takes placental research to scale, developing innovative high-throughput placental imaging and sampling within the ‘Generation Victoria’ cohort, targeting all 160,000 Victorian births over two years and all 70 birthing hospitals. Initially focusing on the placental pathophysiology of the great obstetric syndromes, the resource once established can later quantify placental roles in maternal, fetal, childhood, adult and transgenerational health. The landmark GenV thus offers immense opportunities to establish a career and leadership in transformative pregnancy and newborn research.   

Supervisors: Prof Melissa Wake, Prof Richard SafferyA/Prof Joanne Said 

Precision prediction of maternal and child outcomes from routine fetal ultrasounds

Precision prediction of maternal and child outcomes from routine fetal ultrasounds

Project description: Prediction of the great obstetric and newborn syndromes remains frustratingly impossible, resulting in avoidable burden to maternal and child health and health care services. Artificial intelligence could transform the predictive value of routine fetal ultrasounds – if a mega-repository existed combining ultrasounds with well-phenotyped outcomes. This PhD will help develop and capitalise on a statewide consented repository of fetal ultrasounds for Victorian babies born 2021-22 and their mothers, working within the ‘Generation Victoria’ cohort, its linked datasets and digital ‘ePhenome’. The landmark GenV offers immense opportunities to establish a career and leadership in the digital transformation of pregnancy and/or childhood health. 

Supervisors: Prof Melissa Wake, Rima Arnaout, A/Prof Joanne Said 

Mapping hospital health records in Victoria, Australia for tracking pregnancy medicines use

Mapping hospital health records in Victoria, Australia for tracking pregnancy medicines use

Project description:More than 80% of pregnant women receive a prescribed medicine during their pregnancy. For many medicines it is unknown whether there are important impacts on fetal and childhood outcomes from in-utero exposure. Within the consented ‘Generation Victoria’ cohort, targeting all 160,000 births over two years beginning in 2021 at all 70 birthing hospitals in the state of Victoria, this PhD candidate will assist to address the research challenges of prescribed medicines during pregnancy and early infants and the related impact on children’s health outcomes. When considered with GenV’s outcomes data, this unique evidence base can quantify the impacts on mother and offspring of variation in prescribed medicine during pregnancy, including both under- and over-utilisation, at the individual and policy level. This project offers immense opportunities to establish a career with leadership in pharmacovigilance and pregnancy health research.   

Supervisors: Dr Jessika HuProf Melissa Wake

Antibiotic stewardship and related policies impact on child health outcomes

Antibiotic stewardship and related policies impact on child health outcomes

Project description: At least one in five pregnant women receive an antibiotic during pregnancy, and many more in the lead up to or during labour. There is a lack of detailed studies on policies’ impact of prescribed antibiotics on health and developmental outcomes in early childhood, both at the individual and the population level. There is evidence for example that antibiotic use during pregnancy influences the frequency of childhood infections. The consented ‘Generation Victoria’ cohort is targeting all 160,000 births over two years beginning in 2021 at all 70 birthing hospitals in the state of Victoria; it will eventually contain both GenV-collected exposure and outcomes data as well as linked clinical and administrative data, for example from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS), hospitals prescribing and neonatal health outcomes. This PhD candidate will focus on investigating associations of hospital antibiotic stewardship and prescribing policies with pregnancy and newborn outcomes in the 70 hospitals over GenV’s first 3-6 months of operation. The landmark GenV platform thus offers immense opportunities to establish a career with leadership in pregnancy pharmacovigilance and child health research.   

Supervisors: Dr Jessika HuProf Melissa Wake