Chief Investigators

 

Professor Neville Owen

NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow

Head, Behavioural Epidemiology Laboratory, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute

 

Brief Biography

Professor Owen is a NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow, an Adjunct Professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Queensland, an Honorary Professorial Fellow in the School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Medicine at Monash University.

 

His previous positions have included Foundation Professor of Human Movement Science and Head of the School of Human Movement at Deakin University (1995-1999) and Director of the Cancer Prevention Research Centre at the University of Queensland (2002-2011).

 

His research relates to the primary prevention of diabetes, heart disease and cancer, through identifying the health consequences and environmental determinants of physical inactivity and sedentary behaviour ? too little exercise and too much sitting. This involves laboratory-based experimental work, large-scale prospective observational studies and real-world intervention trials.

 

He has published some 450 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters and several policy- and practice-related monographs related to his original research on the health consequences of physical inactivity, measurement, intervention trials and environmental determinants of physical activity and sedentary behaviour.

 

His (Google Scholar) career citation total is 39,000 and his H index 93. He has been supported continuously by grants from the NHMRC since 1992. He currently leads his second five-year Program Grant (Sitting less and moving more: population health research to understand and influence sedentary behaviour).

  

Role in the CRE

As CI-A, Owen will provide overall leadership and management, chairing the CRE's Steering Committee, liaising on strategic matters with national and international collaborators, maintaining an overview of the CRE's capacity-building processes and outcomes and attending to the mentoring other CIs, AIs, Research Fellows and PhD students. 


 

Alfred Deakin Professor Jo Salmon

Co-director, Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research

NHMRC Principal Research Fellow

School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University

 

Brief Biography

Alfred Deakin Professor Jo Salmon holds a Personal Chair in the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences. She is Co-Director of the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research (IPAN) and currently holds a 5-year National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Principal Research Fellowship (to finish July, 2017). She supervises 8 research degree students and 5 post-doctoral fellows.

 

Professor Salmon is an active researcher in understanding and influencing physical activity in populations, in particular children and families. Professor Salmon's program of research focuses on the behavioural epidemiology of children?s and adolescents? physical activity and sedentary behaviour. She is interested in the assessment of these behaviours; in understanding the individual, social and environmental factors that influence participation; and the development of strategies to promote physical activity and reduce sedentary time among children and adolescents.

 

Recent research includes the development and validation of instruments to assess physical activity and sedentary behaviour among children; descriptive studies of influences on child and youth physical activity and sedentary behaviour; and examination of the effectiveness of strategies to reduce children?s sitting time and promote physical activity at school and at home.

 

In 2011, she was awarded the NHMRC Achievement Award as the top ranked applicant for a Career Development Fellowship (Level 2) in Population Health. She has over 220 publications (the past 5 years, her papers have been cited a total of 6,926 times (Scopus) or 12,385 (Google Scholar).

 

Salmon has been CI on 24 nationally competitive grants (NHMRC, ARC Discovery and Linkage) totalling more than $13 million. She has been or is currently involved in 12 funded international collaborations (e.g., NIH, WCRF; European Union FP7; NHMRC-FEAST Grants Scheme; Hong Kong Research Grants Council; FWO, Belgium). She has been an invited or keynote speaker at 26 international scientific conferences or meetings.

 

Salmon currently Chairs the National Physical Activity Program Committee (NPAPC), National Heart Foundation of Australia (since 2010), and was a member of the National Health Survey Physical Activity Measurement expert group for the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing (2009-11).

 

Salmon?s research has contributed to public health physical activity initiatives nationally. She has played a key advisory and authorship role on the steering committee for the National Child and Youth Physical Activity Recommendations for 0-5 year olds (2008-9) and 5-18 year olds in Australia (2004) as well as the recent updated guidelines (pending Ministerial approval).

 

Role in the CRE

CI-B Salmon is co-Chairing the Intervention Theme 3 in this CRE with CI Eakin. Salmon will contribute her expertise through the development and testing of the effectiveness of interventions to reduce children?s and adolescents? sitting time.

 

She will lead the translation of the Transform-Us! research study; will work with CI Timperio on the youth intervention to reduce car dependency and the family-based pilot intervention; and with CI Dunstan on the school pilot study with height-adjustable desks. She will also provide mentoring of the post-doctoral fellow and PhD student in Theme 3 as well as her four current post-doctoral fellows who have independent funding and several PhD students who will benefit from involvement in the CRE.


 

Professor Stewart Trost

Faculty of Health

School of Exercise and Nutrition Science, Queensland University of Technology.

 

Brief Biography

Professor Stewart Trost has research interests that include measurement of physical activity and sedentary behavior, psychosocial and environmental correlates of physical activity behavior, and community-based interventions to promote physical activity and prevent obesity in children and youth.

 

Trost is an authority on the use of accelerometers in field-based research. He has established accelerometer count cut-points for assessment of physical activity in toddlers, preschoolers, and school aged children.  He has developed software programs for reducing accelerometer data into estimates of daily time spent in sedentary, light, moderate, and vigorous physical activity.

 

His work directly informed the analysis of accelerometer data collected in large surveillance studies, including NHANES, the European Youth Heart Survey, and the International Children's Accelerometry Database.  He has 126 publications in peer-reviewed research journals, 14 book chapters, and 6 government/agency reports. Trost has an H-Index of 40, with 8,248 total citations, with an average citation rate of 77.8 per article. Trost has 21 articles with > 100 citations; and 7 articles with > 250 citations.  

 

Trost has served as a consultant on matters related to measurement of physical activity to many domestic and international research groups and public health organizations including the Australian Federal Government, the U.S. National Institutes of Health, US Centers for Disease Control, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

 

Trost headed the scientific committee responsible for drafting the first children's physical activity recommendations for Australian youth, was a member of the scientific committee for drafting physical activity and screen time recommendations for Australian children under five, and was a member of the CDC panel to establish evidence-based guidelines for physical activity in school aged youth in the United States.

 

In 2012, he served on the USA President?s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition Science Board.  As a Principal Investigator, he has received extramural funding from the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, and various research foundations totaling $3.84 million. As a PI or co-investigator, he has generated just approximately $14.5 million in funding from research grants and contracts.

 

Role in the CRE

CIC Trost, in conjunction with CIF Healy, will provide oversight of the Measurement Theme. Specifically, he will lead efforts related to the development and application of novel analytic methods for device-based data on active and sedentary time. He will also contribute to the mentoring of postdoctoral fellows working in this area.

 

Professor Trost is an internationally-recognized authority on device-based measurement of physical activity and sedentary behaviour. His expertise will be utilised extensively in the work related to application of pattern-recognition or machine learning approaches to accelerometer data reduction. Professor Trost has an extensive research and funding track record in community-based interventions and paediatric exercise science and will contribute knowledge and expertise in that domain of the CRE.


 

Professor David Dunstan

ARC Future Fellow

Head, Physical Activity Laboratory, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute

 

Brief Biography

Professor Dunstan holds an NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship (2015-2019). An exercise physiologist by training, Dunstan interacts with behavioural scientists, clinicians, physiologists and epidemiologists to oversee an international research program broadly focusing on the role of physical activity and sedentary behaviour in chronic disease prevention and management.

 

Findings from his research into the benefits of strength training in the management of type 2 diabetes have influenced the American Diabetes Association?s exercise recommendations and led to the creation of the nationally implemented Lift for Life strength training program in the Australian community.

 

Over the past 17 years he has had a key leadership role (National Project Manager) in the development, implementation and analysis of the landmark AusDiab baseline study and has led a highly productive collaborative research group on the role of sedentary behaviour in chronic disease prevention.

 

Dunstan has attracted $11.1 million in competitive research funds ($3.7 million as CI-A) and was the recipient of a Young Tall Poppy Award from the Australian Institute of Policy and Science in 2007. His research focuses on the role of physical activity and sedentary behaviour in the prevention and management of chronic diseases.

 

His research program has attracted considerable external funding from the NHMRC, VicHealth and the National Heart Foundation. He has published 150 peer-reviewed papers, including publications in high impact journals such as Circulation, Diabetes Care, Diabetologia, BMJ, Obesity Reviews, Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, Journal of the American College of Cardiology (H index = 45; lifetime citations total = 9577; Scopus as of 05-10-2015).

 

Professor David Dunstan is a Professor in the Centre for Exercise and Nutrition within the Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research at the Australian Catholic University, an Adjunct Professor in the School of Sports Science, Exercise and Health at the University of WA, an Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Population Health at the University of Queensland, an Adjunct Associate Professor the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences at Deakin University and an Adjunct Lecturer in the Department of Epidemiology and Preventative Medicine at Monash University.

 

Over the past 17 years, David has established an extensive media profile including interviews with National Public Radio, Wall Street Journal, CNN, the New York Times and the LA Times.

 

Role in the CRE

CID Dunstan has primary oversight of the mechanistic studies under Theme 2. He also plays a key role in the coordination of field intervention studies in conjunction with CIB Salmon and CIE Eakin at Deakin and UQ respectively, particularly the classroom and workplace-based trials.

 

His expertise will be utilised in the development of protocols, ethics submissions, project materials and testing arrangements for the mechanistic investigations. He is responsible for the collaborative arrangements related to Theme 2, including facilitating periodical collaboration meetings to report and discuss the overall direction of the various projects.

 

He contributes to the training of research team for the mechanistic investigations and has supervisory responsibility for postdoctoral researchers and PhD students working in this area. He provides input and advice for publications, reports and recommendations arising from the CRE project.


 

Professor Elizabeth Eakin

NHMRC Senior Research Fellow
Director, Cancer Prevention Research Centre

School of Population Health, University of Queensland

 

Brief Biography

Professor Eakin is a NHMRC Senior Research Fellow. As a behavioural scientist working in the field of population health, she has developed an internationally recognised program of research in health behaviour interventions in chronic disease prevention and management. The program targets the health risk behaviours (physical activity/sedentary behaviour, dietary behaviour/weight loss) underpinning our most prevalent chronic conditions/National Health Priority Areas (diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer).

 

It has a further emphasis on broad-reach intervention delivery modalities, including the telephone and newer work in text messaging. A central focus is on CONSORT-designed, randomised controlled trials targeting underserved and at-risk groups, with eight such RCTs involving over 2500 trial participants having been conducted in health-service, community and workplace settings.

 

This work has established an evidence base that is now informing uptake into population health practice across Australia, along with a shift in the emphasis of the research program to rigorous evaluations of the outcomes achieved in translational settings.

 

Findings from a series of telephone-delivered health behaviour/weight loss intervention trials and related systematic reviews have led to requests for consultation from state health departments in NSW and QLD on the delivery of such programs as part of state wide initiatives. The largest of these is the Get Healthy Information and Coaching Service ? a free, telephone health coaching service offered by health departments in NSW, QLD, the ACT, Tasmania and SA, and for which Liz is a member of the evaluation group.

 

She has recently been awarded a NHMRC Partnership Project (as CIA) in which her team will work with Cancer Councils in NSW, VIC, SA and WA on the integration and evaluation of their telephone health coaching model (targeting cancer survivors) in the context of the Cancer 13 11 20 Information and Support Service.

 

Liz attracted $26m in competitive research funds (career total) across 38 funded proposals, with $6m of this as lead investigator on 14 funded proposals and fellowships. This includes three previous and one current NHMRC project grants, two NHMRC partnership projects, one NHMRC CRE (in sedentary behaviour), three NHMRC Fellowships and two National Breast Cancer Foundation project grants.

 

She has also held competitive grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in the USA. She has published 138 peer-reviewed articles in the top-ranking journals within the specialist fields of population health and psychology (H-index = 35; lifetime citations = 3,850; Scopus as of 14-02-15); 51% as senior (first or last) author.

She is ranked first in Australia and internationally for publications in the area of telephone-delivered physical activity interventions within the last 5 years (Web of Science as of 12-01-2015).

 

Role in the CRE

CIE Eakin (UQ), along with CIB Salmon, will provide oversight of Theme 3 ? Interventions. Eakin is a behavioural scientist with extensive experience in the conduct of randomized controlled trials of health behaviour interventions, and the translation of theseinto population health practice.

 

Her expertise will be utilised extensively in determing the strategic direction of the Interventions theme for the proposed CRE, and in the development of intervention and evaluation protocols. She will also contribute to the training of the research team for the field-based intervention studies, the mentoring of PhD and post-doctoral fellows working in this area, and liaison with stakeholders in relation to research translation.


 

Dr Genevieve Healy

Heart Foundation/NHMRC Research Fellow

Cancer Prevention Research Centre

School of Population Health, University of Queensland

 

Brief Biography

Dr Genevieve Healy is a Senior Research Fellow at the School of Public Health at the University of Queensland, Australia. Her research examines population-level variations in prolonged, unbroken sedentary time as well as the feasibility and acceptability of reducing this behaviour in key settings, including the office workplace. Her work has influenced policy and guidelines regarding the importance of reducing prolonged sitting time, and has been featured in >1200 online, print or broadcast media articles including in the New York Times. Dr Healy co-leads the Stand Up Australia program of research: a program which aims to investigate the benefits of reducing prolonged sitting time in the workplace. A fundamental element underpinning her work is the use of objective measures of sedentary time.

 

Dr Genevieve Healy 

 

Role in CRE

CIF Healy (UQ), in conjunction with CIC Trost, will develop and progress Theme 1 ? Measurement. Further, building on her background in laboratory-based studies and her track record in measurement and behavioural research, CIF Healy will take a particular interest in the cross-talk between findings from all three Themes.

 

She will be responsible for guiding the early-career research fellows and PhD students in refining and applying innovative outcome measures to their studies and for promoting cross-talk between the themes. The career development agenda for Healy in the CRE program is to build high-level research leadership and management skills through working closely with the other CIs in managing the work program on the CRE.


 

Professor Bronwyn Kingwell

NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow

Head, Metabolic and Vascular Physiology Laboratory
Executive Director, Science Policy, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute

 

Brief Biography

Professor Kingwell?s work addresses important clinical questions across the obesity-diabetes-cardiovascular disease continuum via a multidisciplinary linkage approach between fundamental research and clinical application.  Her early work was in the area of exercise and circulatory regulation where she performed landmark studies in rodents and humans, including the first credible clinical trial evidence that walking reduces cardiovascular risk. This seminal work influenced physical activity recommendations worldwide. She has a long-standing track-record in elucidation of the mechanisms by which exercise provides health benefits, including evidence that aerobic exercise improves endothelial function, arterial stiffness and cardiac autonomic function contributing to a rational basis for international exercise prescription guidelines.
Professor Kingwell has specific experience with mechanistic clinical trials for potential new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches in diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Professor Kingwell has published >170 peer-reviewed manuscripts including in top ranked general science (eg PNAS), cardiovascular (eg Circulation, Circulation Research, J Am Coll Cardiol) and diabetes (Diabetes, Diabetologia) journals.  She currently holds grants to a total value of over $20 M including an NHMRC Program grant, 3 Clinical Research Excellence Grants and a Project grant. 
Professor Kingwell has held key leadership positions for the NHMRC and the Australian Society for Medical Research President (2005). Through these roles she has contributed to national research policy & practice continues to do so as:
·         Chair, National Committee for Medicine of the Australian Academy of Science
·         Chair, NHMRC Translation Faculty Steering group, Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke
·         National Heart Foundation Research Committee
.         NHMRC Research Committee

Role in the CRE

Professor Bronwyn Kingwell (Baker IDI) In conjunction with CID Dunstan and CIH Lambert, CIG Kingwell will provide oversight of Objective 2, specifically relating to the biological mechanisms that underlie the benefits of breaking up prolonged sitting. As an integrative physiologist with extensive experience in the conduct of clinical intervention trials encompassing molecular and cell biology investigations, her focus will be on providing the strategic direction of the mechanistic studies.

 

Her expertise will be utilised extensively in the development of the protocols, ethics submissions, and the metabolic mechanistic testing arrangements for the proposed CRE. She will also contribute to the training of the research team for the laboratory-based studies and the mentoring of post-doctoral fellows working in this area. She has extensive experience in research translation and will provide high-level guidance in that domain of the CRE.


 

Professor Gavin Lambert

NHMRC Senior Research Fellow

Head, Human Neurotransmitters Laboratory, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute

 

Brief Biography

Professor Lambert is a NHMRC Senior Research Fellow. Professor Lambert has made contributions to the understanding of brain neurotransmitter function in a variety of clinical conditions including hypertension, cardiac failure, obesity and, more recently, panic disorder and depressive illness.

 

With over 20 years experience as a neurochemist/clinical research scientist, CIH Lambert has made substantial contributions to the understanding of brain neurotransmitter function in a variety of clinical conditions including hypertension, cardiac failure, obesity and, more recently, depressive illness.

 

Major achievements of CI-H Lambert?s research include: the refinement and application of techniques for studying the turnover of monoamines in the CNS which has yielded insights into pathogenic mechanisms of hypertension, depression, panic disorder and obesity; identification of the key role that the sympathetic nervous system plays in heart failure pathophysiology (this demonstration underpins the use of b-blockade therapy in this condition); demonstration of leptin release to plasma by the human brain; and documentation of the pivotal role played by the sympathetic nervous system in the pathogenesis of hypertension (this work has culminated in the development of a catheter-based technique of renal denervation for treatment of resistant hypertension).

 

Professor Lambert has specific experience with the conduct of research methodologies focusing on the assessment of autonomic function within human clinical trials. This includes microneurography ? the only direct method for assessment of central sympathetic outflow to the skeletal muscle vasculature and noradrenaline isotope dilution methodology to estimate the rate of neural release of noradrenaline into and clearance from the plasma compartment.

 

Lambert has attracted approximately $6m in competitive NHMRC research funds. He has published over 250 articles in the top-ranking journals within the specialist fields of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes and psychiatry (H index = 47; lifetime citations, 6,593; Web of Knowledge as of 05-02-13).

 

Role in the CRE

CIH Lambert (Baker IDI) In conjunction with CID Dunstan and CG Kingwell, CIH Lambert will provide major input into Objective 2, specifically relating to the biological mechanisms that underlie the benefits of breaking up prolonged sitting. CII is a neurochemist and expert in autonomic function and has significant experience in clinical investigation.

 

His focus will be on providing strategic direction of the mechanistic studies and will additionally assist in protocol development, ethics submissions, and the mechanistic testing arrangements for the proposed CRE with a particular empahsis on autonomic function and its impact on metabolic function. He will also contribute to the training of the research team for the laboratory-based studies and the mentoring of post-doctoral fellows working in this area.


 

Professor Anna Timperio

National Heart Foundation of Australia Future Leader Fellow

Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition

School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University

 

Brief Biography

Prof Timperio is a senior researcher in the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN) within the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences. She currently holds a Future Leader Fellowship from the National Heart Foundation of Australia. Her research is focuses understanding contextual (family and environmental) factors on physical activity and sedentary behaviour among children and youth. This predominantly longitudinal work has identified a range of aspects of the family and neighbourhood environments that can be targeted in interventions to reduce sedentary behavior in children and youth.

 

Prof Timperio has published >150 peer review publications and is recognised as a Thompson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher. She has a career total of > 6000 citations and a H-index of 44 (Scopus). She has attracted over $14 million of external funding as a Chief Investigator, including funding from the NHRMC and ARC. She played a key role in updating the national physical activity and sedentary behaviour recommendations for school-aged children and youth.

 

Role in the CRE

Building on her extensive research examining family, home and neighbourhood correlates of children?s physical activity and sedentary behaviour, CI-Timperio will lead the development and testing of the pilot intervention in the family setting under Theme 3 (Intervention trials) and contribute to provide expertise for the development of a pilot intervention to reduce car dependency.

 

She will contribute to the training of the research team for child and youth interventions and, together with CI-Salmon, will supervise postdoctoral researchers and PhD students based at Deakin University. CI-Timperio will take particular interest in the cross-talk between the intervention and measurement themes. She will contribute to strategies for the wide dissemination of the findings of the CRE and will contribute to the interpretation of analyses and drafting of publications.