NHMRC CRE: Population Health Research on Electromagnetic Energy

Mobile phonePRESEE

This Centre of Research Excellence brings together leading population health researchers to investigate the health effects of mobile phones and magnetic resonance imaging.

It will address high priority research questions identified by the WHO. It will generate new knowledge that leads to improved health outcomes through a 5 year research program.

The outcomes will be translated into health policy and practice through international and national organisations.

The CRE will train PhDs and postdoctoral research fellows.

Our Team

This team of Chief Investigators has been chosen, not only to build on existing collaborative linkages, but also to develop a multi-disciplinary team with the necessary skills, expertise and track records to lead RF research in Australia and make a strong contribution internationally.

Chief Investigators

Michael Abramson

Professor Michael Abramson

Michael Abramson is Deputy Head of the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at Monash University. He is an environmental epidemiologist with broad research interests including radiofrequency electromagnetic energy and air pollution. His particular area of expertise is respiratory diseases including asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and occupational lung disease. His publications range from methodological work to systematic reviews and clinical practice guidelines.

Malcolm Sim

Professor Malcolm Sim

Malcolm Sim is Director of the Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health at Monash University. His main areas of environmental health research are related to mobile phones and air pollution. The outcomes of his research have been used to improve workplace health and safety and reduce exposure to chemical and physical hazards.

Rodney Croft

Professor Rodney Croft

Rodney Croft is a Professor of Health Psychology at University of Wollongong. His research focuses on the delineation of human brain function, particularly as it relates to agents that might affect it, as well as psychiatry more generally. His greatest success is in the area of extremely low frequency (ELF) and RF non-ionising radiation, primarily utilising the electroencephalogram as a means of observing alterations in resting and sleep brain function, but he has also collaborated on RF epidemiological and risk communication research.

Geza Benke

Dr Geza Benke

Geza Benke is a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health at Monash University. His principal research interests include occupational/environmental epidemiology exposure assessment, exposure assessment methodology, occupational cancer and respiratory epidemiology.

Roel Vermeulen

Professor Roel Vermeulen

Roel Vermeulen is a Professor at the Institute of Risk Assessment Sciences at Utrecht University, in the Netherlands and holds an adjunct Professor position at the Public Health Department at the University Medical Center Utrecht. He is trained in occupational hygiene/exposure assessment and molecular/occupational/ environmental epidemiology and is conducting several studies on EMF and health.

Peter Wiedemann

Professor Peter Wiedemann

Peter Wiedemann is employed by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), in Germany. He has extensive work experience in the field of societal conflicts over modern technologies with the focus on risk communication and evidence characterization.

Stuart Crozier

Professor Stuart Crozier

Stuart Crozier is Director of Biomedical Engineering and Director of Research in The School of Information Engineering and Electrical Engineering at The University of Queensland. In 2012 he was awarded the ATSE Clunies Ross medal for research that had societal impact.

Associate Investigators

Professor Brian Priestly PhD
Dr Ken Karipidis PhD
Professor Rory Wolfe PhD
Professor Alistair Woodward MBBS, PhD
Dr Sarah Loughran PhD

Postdoctoral fellows

Anna DaleckiDr Anna Dalecki BPsych(Hons)
Anna's research interests are in brain activity (as measured by the electroencephalogram; EEG) in psychopathology (eg. schizophrenia) and healthy adults as well as in response to radio-frequency electromagnetic field (RF-EMF) exposure. As a part of PRESEE, Anna has been involved in the EXPOSURE (EXamination of Psychological Outcomes in Students Using Radiofrequency devices) study as well as a ‘radio-frequency and thermoregulation’ study conducted with ACEBR. Anna is currently conducting a study aimed at determining whether the EEG of healthy adults is affected during intermittent exposure to pulse-modulated RF-EMF and plans to conduct future studies looking at potential effects of RF-EMF on emotion in healthy adults. Anna is based at the Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research, Illawarra Health and Medical Institute, University of Wollongong.
Dr Berihun Zeleke MD, MPH, PhD
Dr Berihun Megabiaw Zeleke completed his MD in 2006 and MPH degree in 2009 at the University of Gondar in Ethiopia. He was awarded his PhD for his thesis ‘Determining the consequences of persistent oestrogen deficiency in older Australian women’ in 2017. Dr Zeleke took up an appointment as a Research Fellow at the PRESEE in 2017 and is based in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University. He is currently piloting an experimental study to investigate if knowledge of objectively measured radiofrequency electromagnetic energy (RF-EME) exposure levels from far-field sources reduces risk perception of people compared to the provision of only basic information and/or precautionary measures.

PhD students

Mr Christopher Brzozek BSc, MSc Epidemiology
Chris’ PhD focuses on refining and characterizing sources of uncertainty in the exposure assessment techniques of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation sources. He also has a keen interest in applying uncertainty analysis to improve the quality of epidemiological studies. Chris is based in the Occupational and Environmental Health Division, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University.
Mr Ian Evans MPsych(Hons), University of New England
Having escaped a life studying EEG source localisation and neurofeedback training mechanisms, Ian Evans is currently examining the occupational effects of movement through magnetic fields generated around MRI scanners on cognition and the vestibular system, with a view to determining safety thresholds for technicians and medical staff, the mechanisms by which magnetic field strength disturbs vestibular function, and identify effective habituation behaviours used by those working in magnetic fields to avoid these vestibular disturbances. Ian is based at the Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research, Illawarra Health and Medical Institute, University of Wollongong.

Research

Assessment of mobile phone radiofrequency-electromagnetic radiation exposure in selected Australian occupational groups

Mr Chhavi Bhatt, a PhD student on the CRE, is conducting a study to measure mobile phone exposure in occupational settings. The study will evaluate mobile phone exposure based on the information gathered by two mobile phone apps (XmobiSense and QuantaMonitor to be installed into participants' mobile phones) and a short questionnaire.

Please note that only eligible people can take part in this study. If you are interested in volunteering for this study, you can contact Mr Bhatt on chhavi.bhatt@monash.edu or call 03 9903 0060 to find out if you are eligible to participate.

If you have been invited by Monash University to participate in this study, please read the instructions below regarding downloading and installing the Apps.

Before installing the Apps (XmobiSense & QuantaMonitor), please read the FAQs.

After the installation of the Apps, please download the Research Diary and fill up your working times of daily work schedule and return it to the study investigator.

To download and install the App, please click on one of the following options.

  1. XMobiSen_WiFi500kb.apk (Wi-Fi version of the XmobiSense)
  2. XMobiSen_Data500kb.apk (Data version of the XmobiSense)

You should only choose one of the above versions – please read the FAQs for more instructions, then click: http://www.cellraid.com/monash/quantamonitor.apk [QuantaMonitor]


Personal Exposure Monitoring Study (PEMS)

The purpose of the study is to evaluate personal exposures from various radiofrequency radiation sources in different environments (eg. home, workplace, public places, public transport etc.) using state-of-the-art measurement tools and methods.

Chhavi Bhatt, PhD student, conducting research in Melbourne CBD for the PEMS study.


Radiofrequency-electromagnetic radiation exposures in preschool children study

This study aims to assess environmental and personal radiofrequency radiation exposures in preschool children.


Mobi-Kids Study: Risk of brain cancer from exposure to radiofrequency fields in childhood and adolescence:

The Mobi-Kids Study is an international case-control study investigating exposure to radiofrequency radiation from mobile phone use during childhood and adolescence and later onset of brain tumours in people between the ages of 10 and 24 years. The recruitment of participants and the collection of data is now complete. Researchers are currently preparing data for statistical analayses. Results for this study will be released in late 2016.

For more information, go to the study website.


Exposure Study:

The Exposure Study is investigating mobile phones, radiofrequency exposure and the development of cognitive function in primary school children. For more information, go to the study website.


Research Committees

Advisory Board
The Advisory Board represents key stakeholders and is responsible for advising the management of the CRE Grant.

Research Training Sub-committee
The Research Training Sub-committee is responsible for awarding post-doctoral fellowships and PhD scholarships, and overseeing the allocation of mentors and the implementation of the structured program of training.

Research Sub-committee
The Research Sub-committee is responsible for promoting research productivity and collaboration within the CRE Grant, including allocation of seed funding grants.

Seed Funding

The PRESEE Research Sub-committee awarded the following projects seed funding grants for 2017:

Will detailed information about everyday life’s exposure to RF EMF (realized by using an App displaying the actual daily exposure) lead to a change of RF EMF risk perception? – Geza Benke (Monash University)

  • Validity of Mobile Phone Apps for use in Population Based Studies, Christopher Brzozek (Monash University)
  • Does acute RF-EMF exposure affect emotional processing in humans? – Anna Dalecki, Iksheta Verma, Sarah Loughran and Rodney Croft (University of Wollongong)
  • Understanding and Overcoming ‘Risk Communication Traps’ – Frederik Freudenstein, Rodney Croft, Peter Wiedemann

In 2016, the following projects were awarded seed funding:

  • Assessment of mobile phone radiofrequency-electromagnetic radiation exposure in Australian occupational groups – Chhavi Bhatt (Monash University)
  • Measuring acute effects on the vestibular and sensory systems due to movements within strong magnetic fields in a 7T Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Environment – Miguel Fuentes (University of Queensland)
  • The effect of screen time on sleep patterns in children and adolescents – Sarah Loughran (University of Wollongong)

In 2015, the following projects were awarded seed funding:

  • COSMOS-AU: joining the international cohort study of mobile phone use and chronic disease – Malcolm Sim (Monash University)
  • Mobile phone RF EMFs and the influence on brain cortical excitability – Sarah Loughran (University of Wollongong)
  • PEMS: Improving the accuracy of personal RF measurements and characterisation of exposure levels in different environments – Geza Benke (Monash University)
  • Mobile Phone Exposure and Sleep in Children and Adolescents – Sarah Loughran (University of Wollongong)
  • Assessment of Radiofrequency-Electromagnetic Radiation Exposures in Preschool Children in Melbourne – Chhavi Bhatt, Mary Redmayne (Monash University)

Publications

2019 |2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013

Research Translation

News & Events

Research collaboration visit

Frederik Freudenstein

In March 2017, Dr Frederik Freudenstein, from the Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research at the University of Wollongong visited the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine to collaborate with researchers at the NHMRC CRE: Population Health Research on Electromagnetic Energy (PRESEE). Dr Freudenstein shared his expertise in the field of risk perception and risk communication of radiofrequency electromagnetic field sources, and presented some of his research findings. He was also able to provide insight into some of the research projects PRESEE are currently undertaking. Dr Freudenstein will be a valuable collaborator for current and future PRESEE projects.

Farewell

Dr Mary Redmayne has successfully completed her postdoctoral fellowship with the CRE at Monash University and will be returning to New Zealand at the end of January in 2016. During her time here, Mary presented at several conferences and co-authored six papers which were accepted for publication. An afternoon tea was held at The Alfred Centre on 21 January to farewell Mary. On behalf of the CRE members, we thank Mary for the time spent with us and wish her the best of luck for the future.

Mary Redmayne

In other news, Dr Sarah Loughran recently published an informative article, 'Banning under twos from screens has little basis in evidence' on The Conversation discussing the impact of screen time on young children and whether Australian guidelines need reviewing. Read the article here.

Congratulations

  • Congratulations to Chhavi Bhatt on the successful examination of his PhD thesis 'Investigation of health effects from mobile phones and other sources of radio-frequency radiation'. Principal Supervisor Geza Benke, Associate Supervisors Michael Abramson and Mary Redmayne.
  • On 31 May 2016, Dr Sarah Loughran was announced as the winner of the 2016 edition of the Alessandro Chiabrera award by the European Bioelectromagnetics Association.
  • Sarah will give a lecture titled: 'Sleepless in Bioelectromagnetics: Unravelling the Effects of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields on the Brain' during the joint annual meeting of the Bioelectromagnetics Society and the European Bioelectromagnetics Association, BioEM2016: June 8, 2016, 10:30-11:00, (Refter) Het Pand, Ghent. On behalf of the members of PRESEE, we would like to congratulate Sarah on her achievement!
  • Congratulations to Professor Stuart Crozier for his recent achievement in making the list of Top 100 Most Influential Engineers for 2015. To read the full article and to view the list of Top 100 Most Influential Engineers, click here.

Links

Contact Us

For further details about the CRE Grant:

Please contact the Executive Officer Dr Geza Benke
Email: geza.benke@monash.edu
Phone: +61 3 9903 0583

For any other enquiries:

Please contact Dr Sharon Harrison:
Email: sharon.harrison@monash.edu
Phone: +61 3 9903 0892

This CRE is funded by NHMRC.