Special Interest Group Leaders - Raine Study

Special Interest Group (SIG) Leaders

There are currently more than 350 researchers utilising the Raine Study to improve our knowledge on all areas of human health and well-being.  

One of the mechanisms for researchers to participant in the Raine Study is by participating in one of the 14 Special Interest Groups (SIGs).

The SIGs are aligned to the life-course framework, which analyses people’s lives from all contexts and over different time points and are based around key data sets held by the Raine Study within 4 overarching pillars of health research:

  • Physical Health
  • Mental Health
  • Lifestyle
  • Genetics

There is also a cohort methods SIG, to support the quality and efficiency of the way we review and analyse the data collected.

The major role of the SIGs is to develop and enhance the utilisation of the data resources the Raine Study has collected over 30+ years. Our SIG leaders act as champions in their area of research and are drawn from a number of our UJV partners to encourage cross-institutional collaboration.


The Genetics SIG looks at the association of genetic and epi-genetic variations throughout the life-course. Key findings from this group have included the discovery of new gene variants associated with reading and language abilities, how changes in our genes impact our risk of obesity and the genes that influence things like height, blood pressure and sleep disorders.

Prof Craig Pennell
Dr Phillip Melton


The Cardiometabolic SIG looks at factors concerning heart disease and metabolic disorders, such as diabetes. The group also looks at all areas of health and well-being relating to blood vessels, liver, kidneys, microbiome (micro-organisms in the body), the stomach and intestines. Key findings from this group have included how stress in Mums whilst pregnant can impact weight and blood pressure in later life and the impact of breast-feeding on lowering the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Prof Trevor Mori
Dr Koya Ayonrinde

Respiratory, Immunology and Inflammation  

This SIG looks at all areas of health and well-being related to lung function, allergy and  body responses to threats such as inflammation. Key research areas have included external and genetic factors associated with lung development in utero and the impact of breast feeding on asthma and allergy.


Dr Emma de Jong
Dr Rachel Foong

Hormonal and Reproduction 

The Hormonal and Reproduction SIG looks at areas including thyroid function, sex steroids, pregnancy, menstruation, hormonal contraceptive use, breast density and testicular function. Key findings have included the impact of BPA (synthetic compound found in a lot of plastics and resins) exposure on male reproductive function and predictors of irregular menstruation and testicular function.

Dr Melanie Walls
Prof Roger Hart
Prof Martha Hickey


The musculoskeletal SIG looks at all factors to do with muscles, bones and joints including back and neck pain, disability, tissue sensitivity, posture, and pain-related conditions such as knee and hip arthritis. Key findings have included the impact of back pain on school and work absenteeism and the lack of relationship between neck posture and neck pain and headaches.


Dr Rob Waller

Mental Health and Cognition 

The mental health and cognition SIG looks at the areas of cognition, language, mood and mental health. Key findings have included the identification of maternal factors during pregnancy that can influence a child’s behavioural and emotional development.

A/Prof Ashleigh Lin
Dr Monique Robinson


The senses SIG looks at all research to do with the eyes and ears. Currently the group is leading a series of studies examining the longer term developmental effects of otitis media and hearing loss on developmental outcomes. Likewise, data is being used to gather evidence on genetic and environmental risk factors associated with the development and progression of many eye diseases including myopia, pterygium, strabismus, keratoconus and glaucoma.

Prof David Mackey
Adj. Prof Robert Eikelboom
Dr Chris Brennan-Jones


Our bio SIG looks at everything else to with the body including growth, height, weight, body composition (amount of fat,, bone, muscle), 3D facial shape, fitness, nutrients (e.g. levels of iron in the blood), infectious disease and dental health.

Prof Romola Bucks
A/Prof Rebecca Glauert

Sleep and Activity

The physical activity and sleep SIG has access to data from across three generations and looks at sleep behaviours as well as physically active and sedentary behaviours. Key findings have included trajectories of participation in sports across childhood and a positive impact on physical health in young adulthood and screen time exposure in early childhood and impact on physical activity and amount of fatness in later life.

Dr Nigel McArdle
A/Prof Joanne McVeigh


The diet SIG examines all areas to do with diet behaviour including being breastfed, and patterns of food and drink intake. Considerable work is being undertaken using the Raine Study dietary data, to better understand the relationships between dietary intake and the early development of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, bone disorders, and mental health disorders. Key findings to date have included the impact of breastfeeding on asthma and allergies, dietary patterns in childhood and the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and the association between energy drink consumption in adolescence and mental health.

A/Prof Therese O’Sullivan

Health Risk Behaviour

The health risk behaviour SIG looks at alcohol, smoking and other drug use, sexual behaviour and driving. Findings to date have included childhood behaviour and later impacts on risky sexual behaviour in adolescence; the location of liquor outlets near home and the impact on alcohol consumption; and peer aggression and the relationship with substance abuse problems in later adolescence.

Prof Rachel Skinner
Dr Jennifer Marino

Environmental and Perinatal Exposures

Our environmental SIGs look at perinatal (the time just before and just after birth) and later life course exposures and the built and social environment.

The research in this area looks at exposures such as maternal nutrition, exercise, and drug use (medication, smoking, alcohol, illicit) and exposures after birth to things like chemicals (eg plastics, lead).

Dr Peter Franklin
Dr Shin Lee

Education and Work

Our education and work SIG looks at primary and secondary school achievement, post-secondary education, workforce participation, work perceptions, work productivity and economics.

Lynnette Vernon

Cohort Methods 

Our cohort methods SIG supports the quality and efficiency of the way we review and analyse the data collected.

Prof Max Bulsara
Ms Angela Jacques

Should you wish to contact any of our SIG Leaders, please fill out the contact form and area of interest below.

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