Key research staff

Adj A/Prof David Armstrong
Philip Berger
A/Prof Philip Berger’s work is directed at the respiratory system with a particular focus on control of breathing.  The intention of all his research is to develop a rigorous mathematical understanding of how the system operates, and to use this knowledge to create new therapies and devices that effectively treat the respiratory disorders that bedevil humans right across the age spectrum, from the preterm newborn with recurrent apnea and profound arterial oxygen desaturation, to the adult with heart failure and repetitive central sleep apneas lasting half a minute or more.
Justin Brown
Dr Justin Brown is a paediatric endocrinologist at Monash Childrens Hospital and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Paediatrics.  He is the Curriculum and Assessment Lead for Childrens Health, within the Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine.  As a member of the Assessment Working Group and the Medicine Curriculum Committee, Dr Brown interacts with other disciplines in Year 4C and all years of the Medicine course to help deliver the best course for our students.  He has been a contributor to the Australian Collaboration for Clinical Assessment in Medicine (ACCLAiM) which seeks to benchmark assessments across Australian Medical Schools.  Dr Brown has research interests in bone health and weight management.  He runs a metabolic bone clinic and bone health collaborations, both paediatric and adult, within Monash Health to improve the health of patients with thalassaemia, cerebral palsy and spina bifida.  As a member of the Australasian Paediatric Endocrine Group bone and mineral subcommittee he has contributed to a consensus statement on the use of bisphosphonates in children and adolescents.  Dr Brown runs a multidisciplinary weight management clinic for children and adolescents, and has collaborated with the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics for the SNAC study investigating appetite hormones in paediatric obesity.  He is a coinvestigator on an NHMRC funded study, in conjunction with the University of Sydney and Westmead Childrens Hospital.  The RCT will assess whether modified alternate day fasting may be more sustainable and lead to greater weight loss than daily energy restriction.  Find out more about Dr Justin Brown
David Burgner
Prof David Burgner is a paediatric infectious diseases clinician and researcher. His research is on the differential susceptibility to early life infection and inflammation and how this impacts on the development of cardiovascular and metabolic risk: the interface between communicable and non-communicable diseases. Prof Burgner also has a clinical and research interest in Kawasaki disease I and in susceptibility and pathogenesis of perinatal inflammation and neonatal infections. His group uses a variety of approaches, including population data linkage, population cohorts and disease specific cohorts.  Prof Burgner collaborates widely, both nationally and internationally. Potential research students (BMedSc(Honours)/Masters/PhD) are encouraged to contact him by email (david.burgner@mcri.edu.au) to discuss possible projects. Find out more about Prof David Burgner ResearchGate link.
Jim Buttery
Prof Jim Buttery’s main research areas are vaccine safety, infectious diseases epidemiology, and clinical child health informatics.  He collaborates nationally and internationally in developed and developing settings.  Prof Buttery is a paediatric infectious diseases physician and Director of Research at Monash Children’s Hospital, head of Monash Immunisation, Monash Health and Professor of Paediatric Epidemiology at Monash University.  He heads Epidemiology and Signal Investigation for SAEFVIC, the Victorian immunisation safety service.  Prof Buttery serves as a member of the Strategic Priority Group of the WHO Global Vaccine Safety Initiative, for the Australian Medical Services Advisory Committee and the Advisory Committee on Vaccines of the Therapeutics Goods Administration.  As Director of Research, Monash Children's Hospital, Prof Buttery is happy to discuss with any prospective students interested in child health research and connect you with the most appropriate supervisors. Please contact him by email jim.buttery@monash.edu.  Find out more about Prof Jim Buttery
Ali Crichton
Dr Ali Crichton is a part-time research fellow in the Department of Paediatrics.  She is the recipient of the Monash University School of Clinical Sciences 2018 Early Career Practitioner Fellowship.  Dr Crichton completed her DPsych (Clinical Neuropsychology) in 2006 and has demonstrated active involvement in both clinical practice and research since that time, combining both clinical and research positions for much of her career.  She completed her PhD at the University of Melbourne in 2017.  Dr Crichton holds a joint appointment at Monash Health as a Senior Clinical Neuropsychologist in Paediatric Rehabilitation. In her clinical role, she is responsible for ensuring a best-practice approach to the delivery of rehabilitation, focussing on the child’s and family’s needs in the context of everyday activities and developmental opportunities.  Dr Crichton is interested in conducting clinically relevant research and her published research has focused on acquired brain injuries and chronic health conditions (particularly cerebral palsy), with the aim of leading to better treatment and daily functioning.  Recent published research has examined the impact of health conditions on cognitive development, and functional outcomes, including investigating fatigue and sleep difficulties after child brain injury. She has presented nationally and internationally as an invited guest speaker, and has lectured in the School of Psychology at Monash University within the DPsych clinical training program for Clinical Neuropsychology for about 10 years, and supervises Masters and Doctorate students on clinical placements. She is an AHPRA approved supervisor (Clinical Neuropsychology) and is the current deputy-chair of the Australian Psychological Society College of Clinical Neuropsychologist.  Find out more about Dr Ali Crichton
Find out more about Prof Richard Doherty
Peter Downie
Dr Peter Downie is the head of Paediatric Haematology-Oncology and Director of the Children’s Cancer Centre at Monash Children’s Hospital.  He is also a Senior Lecturer, Department of Paediatrics, Monash University.  Dr Downie is a member of the leadership group for the Hudson Institute Paediatric Cancer Precision Medicine Program.  This research is developing tumour tissue organoids that can be interrogated at a molecular and epigenetic level, with the aim of identifying and developing new targeted therapies for children with cancer.  The primary focus of the research is on brain cancers, bone cancers, and other solid tumours of childhood.  Dr Downie’s early research focused on the effects of chemotherapy on fertility in pre-pubertal boys.  After training in general paediatrics at the Royal Children’s Hospital, he was appointed Chief Resident and then Clinical Research Fellow in the Department of Haematology-Oncology.  He was Consultant Paediatrician and Consultant Paediatric Haematologist-Oncologist at Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham before taking the position of Research Fellow, Pediatric Oncology, University of Chicago (Wyler Children’s Hospital), where he spent two years studying the biology and molecular signaling pathways involved in childhood leukaemias.  On returning to Melbourne in 1994, he was appointed as a staff consultant in the Paediatric Oncology Unit of the Royal Children’s Hospital and took the position as Director of Clinical Oncology at RCH from 2007 until 2011.  Dr Downie has previously held the positions of Chair of the Australian and New Zealand Children’s Oncology Group (ANZCHOG), and the Medical Director of the Victorian Paediatric Integrated Cancer Service (PICS).  He is a member of the Australian Children’s Cancer Trials executive, and a member of the Scientific Council for Cancer Council Victoria.  Peter Downie is currently Medical Director of the PICS State-wide Long Term Follow-up Program, for survivorship, following childhood cancer.  Find out more about Dr Peter Downie
Michael Fahey 2018
The paediatric neurology unit and Monash Children's Hospital is focused on developing treatments for neurological conditions. These are facilitated through our collaborations with the Hudson Institute. We are determined to develop a pipeline of neuroprotective agents from basic science in animal models through to the bedside. Key agents include stem cells, antiepileptic therapies (ganaxolone) and anti-inflammatories (melatonin). We are fortunate to work with some of Australia's leading neuroscientists and imaging experts. We have collaborations across Victoria, interstate and internationally. In addition, we have a number of industry partnerships which allow us to be lean sites for sponsored clinical trials, particularly for neurogenetic conditions.  Find out more about A/Prof Michael Fahey
Nick Freezer
Prof Nick Freezer is the Head of Paediatrics, Medical Director of the Women's and Children's Program for Monash Health and Medical Director of Monash Children's Hospital.  As a practising respiratory physician, he continues to research the dangers of corticosteroid use in children, especially children aged under six.  Prof Freezer was among the first group of researchers to alert the world to the dangers of overdosing asthmatic children with inhaled corticosteroids.  Find out more about Prof Nick Freezer
Edward Giles
Dr Ed Giles is a consultant paediatric gastroenterologist at Monash Children’s Hospital and lead for paediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease (PIBD) at Monash.  He is a Research Fellow in the department of paediatrics and has an appointment in the Centre for Innate Immunity and Infectious Disease at the Hudson Institute for Medical Research.  Dr Giles is the paediatric representative on the research committee for the Gastroenterological Society of Australia.  His current laboratory research projects include exploring the microbiota in PIBD, and developing small intestinal organoids (“mini-guts”) for laboratory study.  Dr Giles has established the first young adult IBD clinic in Australia and his clinical research focuses on transition to adult services.  Find out more about Dr Edward Giles
Rupert Hinds
Dr Rupert Hinds is a paediatric gastroenterologist.  With an academic appointment in the Department of Paediatrics, his responsibilities are predominantly related to construction, maintenance and review of the curriculum and examinations as well as including a prominent role in undergraduate teaching.  Dr Hinds's clinical practice at Monash Children’s Hospital encompasses all aspects of paediatric gastroenterology with particular responsibility for nutrition and hepatology. This broad spectrum of practice allows him to be ideally placed to consider clinical questions for research and to translate research into practice directly. The Department of Gastroenterology at Monash Children’s Hospital has forged strong links with collaborators at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne as well as the Hudson Institute of Medical Research.  Dr Hinds's areas of clinical and preclinical research within our department includes mucosal immunology, inflammatory bowel disease and the gut microbiome.  Find out more about Dr Rupert Hinds
Rosemary Horne
Prof Rosemary Horne is a Senior Principal Research Fellow and heads the Infant and Child Health research group within the Ritchie Centre, Hudson Institute of Medical Research and Department of Paediatrics, Monash University. Her research interests focus on numerous aspects of sleep in infants and children.  Rosemary has published more than 170 scientific research and review articles. She is Chair of the Physiology working group of the International Society for the Study and Prevention of Infant Deaths and the Red Nose (formerly SIDS and Kids Australia) National Scientific Advisory Group, a Director of the International Paediatric Sleep Association, and is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Sleep Research, Sleep and Sleep Medicine.  Find out more about Prof Rosemary Horne
Atul Malhotra
Dr Atul Malhotra is a consultant neonatologist at Monash Newborn, Monash Children’s Hospital, a research scientist at The Ritchie Centre, Hudson Institute of Medical Research and is the current recipient of a RACP Foundation Research Fellowship.  He holds a senior lecturer appointment in the Department of Paediatrics.  Dr Malhotra's clinical research interests focus on improving respiratory and neurological outcomes of high risk infants. The lead site investigator of a large NHMRC funded trial on neurodevelopment of the preterm infant, his basic science research interests include understanding and treating brain injury related to high risk perinatal conditions.  He has been instrumental in the translation of a number of preclinical therapies from the laboratory to the clinic.  Recently, Dr Malhotra led a world first trial on the use of stem cells in chronic lung disease in the premature infant.  He is also heavily involved in education and simulation activities of the Department.  In particular, he regularly travels to South Asia to facilitate simulation workshops for local health workers in obstetric and neonatal emergencies.  This work has been supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and RACP.  Find out more about  Dr Atul Malhotra
Ram Nataraja
Mr Ram Nataraja is a general paediatric surgeon, director of simulation at Monash Children's Hospital, senior lecturer at Monash University and a clinical researcher.  He has an interest in the minimally invasive techniques for both paediatric and neonatal surgery, including surgical robotics, and also in education and surgical training. Mr Nataraja co-ordinates two research streams in the department with a colleague; clinical paediatric surgical research and also simulation-based medical education research.  This research involves prospective RCTs for common paediatric conditions, systematic reviews and also retrospective trials, many of which have been Monash University medical student led. There are currently 4 RCTS recruiting in the department.

He developed one of the first validated paediatric surgical laparoscopic bench trainers at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London over 15 years ago and continues to be at the forefront of innovation in surgical simulation-based learning. This includes novel techniques such as additive manufacturing.

The Paediatric Surgical Simulation Center in the new Monash Children’s Hospital is the largest paediatric center of its kind in Australasia and will also have a significant role in the international development and integration of simulation into surgical training. This includes work in SBME in both Australia, and also in a global health setting. Mr Nataraja is the country project lead for Myanmar with MCHI and has led multiple successful simulation-based education strips into the country over the last few years.  He is also acting as a temporary adviser to the W.H.O. on SBME in transition economic countries.

As part of his academic appointment he co-ordinates all undergraduate and postgraduate paediatric surgery educational programmes at Monash Children's Hospital, as well as being the co-chair of the MCH Simulation Service which he established in 2017.  Find out more about Mr Ram Nataraja

Gillian Nixon 2018
A/Prof Gillian Nixon, a paediatric respiratory and sleep physician, is the head of Paediatric Sleep Research, Melbourne Children’s Sleep Centre .  Her clinical practice at Monash Children’s Hospital is centered on the management of children with respiratory and sleep disorders, placing her in an ideal situation to raise clinical questions for research as well as to translate research into practice.  With an academic appointment in the Department of Paediatrics, A/Prof Nixon's research is focussed on improvements in the diagnostic and treatment pathway for snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea in children, including developing simplified diagnostic tools and driving improvements in evidence-based treatment pathways.  She has built cross-disciplinary collaborations and works with the state government on related quality improvement projects regarding the management of the large number of children with snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea, a condition with significant negative effects on learning and development.  Find out more about A/Prof Gillian Nixon.
Caludia Nold
A/Prof Claudia Nold is a pharmacist by training with broad expertise in cytokine biology, inflammation and immunology. After her graduation from pharmacy school in 2000, she was awarded a competitive three-year PhD Fellowship by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (the German NHMRC equivalent) and started her PhD at the Pharmazentrum Frankfurt, Germany. This fellowship entailed a 6-month tenure at the Institute of Asthma and Allergy at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.  Find out more about A/Prof Claudia Nold.
Marcel Nold
Prof Marcel Nold is a clinician-scientist, paediatrician and neonatologist.  His work, carried out in Germany, the USA and lately in Australia, is focussed on interventional immunology and has attracted the interest of opinion-leading journals and pharmaceutical companies. Prof Nold is passionate about his research, making a meaningful difference to his baby patients and their families. Therefore, aiming to lay the foundations for much-needed new therapies, he employs bedside-to-bench-and-back approaches to explore the molecular mechanisms underpinning severe diseases of premature infants, such as bronchopulmonary dysplasia, pulmonary hypertension and necrotising enterocolitis.  Find out more about Prof Marcel Nold.
Calum Roberts
As a neonatologist and clinical researcher, Dr Calum Roberts's goal is to improve the care of preterm infants, who are at increased risk of adverse outcomes in comparison with those infants born at full term. His principal area of interest is optimising the provision of breathing support to these infants in the early stages of life.  Dr Roberts's research focuses on strategies to aid transition at birth, including how best to stimulate breathing and aerate the lungs in the first minutes of life, and investigating whether establishing ventilation prior to umbilical cord clamping enhances physiological stability in newborn infants requiring resuscitation.  He has expertise in research relating to the use of ‘non-invasive’ respiratory support methods, in particular nasal High Flow therapy, a newer, more comfortable mode of treatment, and is studying how these methods can be used most effectively. Dr Roberts is also investigating the best methods to administer surfactant treatment to the lungs, so that infants can avoid the need for endotracheal ventilation.  Find out more about Dr Calum Roberts.
Ina Rudloff
Dr Ina Rudloff is a postdoctoral researcher in the Nold laboratory at the Ritchie Centre, Hudson Institute of Medical Research and the Department of Paediatrics.  Focusing on cytokine biology and inflammation, she currently investigates the function, regulation and therapeutic potential of the interleukin (IL)‑1 family members IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) and the more recently discovered IL‑37 and IL‑38.  With a strong interest in promoting the translation of basic science into applied interventional immunology, Dr Rudloff also explores the role of these cytokines in diseases that affect the health of newborn babies.  Using human samples and applying clinically relevant disease models, her ultimate aim is to discover novel, urgently needed treatment options for diseases such as bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), pulmonaryhypertension (PH) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).  Find out more about Dr Ina Rudloff
Kenneth Tan
A/Prof Kenneth Tan is a consultant neonatologist at Monash Newborn.  He trained in Melbourne and in the United Kingdom where he also worked on fuzzy logic control in the NICU for his  PhD thesis.  His research interest in engineering applications for the NICU has involved collaborations with biomedical engineering in the United Kingdom and Canada and continues with the Monash Institute of Medical Engineering (MIME).  A/Prof Tan is an active member of the Australian and New Zealand Neonatal Network (ANZNN).  He is also a collaborator on a number of NHMRC funded multi-centre randomised control trials such as ProPREMS, BOOST-II, N3RO and OPTIMIST-A.  A/Prof Tan is an active reviewer and author with the Cochrane Neonatal Review Group for over 15 years with numerous published systematic reviews.  He supervises research students undertaking Bachelor of Medical Sciences (Honours) and PhD. A/Prof welcomes medical students looking for short-term projects.  He lectures and tutors on the undergraduate MBBS Children’s Health course.  Find out more about A/Prof Kenneth Tan
Lisa Walter
Dr Lisa Walter is a research fellow  in the Infant and Child Health research group at the Ritchie Centre, Hudson Institute of Medical Research and the Department of Paediatrics. The main focus of her research is sleep in children, including children with conditions such as sleep disordered breathing and most recently cancer. Dr Walter is currently investigating light therapy to improve sleep and quality of life in children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.  Find out more about Dr Lisa Walter
Flora Wong
A/Prof Flora Wong, a senior consultant neonatologist at Monash Newborn, is the head of the Neonatal Brain Protection Laboratory at The Ritchie Centre, with research interests in newborn cerebral blood flow and oxygenation in relation to brain injury in newborn infants undergoing intensive care.  She has been awarded the NHMRC Career Development Fellowship to continue her research commitment.  Since 2010, she has successfully obtained around $4.3M of research funding from NHMRC and various Philanthropic foundations.  A/Prof Wong's projects aim at investigations of the mechanisms of newborn brain injury, development of cotside monitoring and neuroprotective strategies.  Translational research is an important theme of her projects, involving complementary experimental studies in the animal models and clinical studies in preterm infants to examine cerebral pathophysiology.  A/Prof Wong has pioneered the research, utilising Spatially Resolved Spectroscopy in Australia to measure brain oxygenation in babies.  With more than 60 publications and over 1000 citations, her publications demonstrate a strategic set of studies for the identification of circulatory factors that contribute to neonatal brain injury and testing new clinical interventions.  Find out more about A/Prof Flora Wong.
Find out more about Mr Paul Wood