Research Staff, PhD Students, Affiliates

Seema Mihrshahi

Kylie Hunter

Penny Love

David Espinoza

Rebecca Byrne

Sarah Taki

Andrew Tan

Dorota Zarnowiecki

Victoria Brown

Lene Seidler

Michelle Tran

Chelsea Mauch

 Emma Esdaile

Lakshmi Ekambareshwar

Andrea Fuller

Widjane Ferreira Goncalves

Sarah Marshall

Anagha Killedar

 Lucinda Bell

Jazzmin Miaobing Zheng

Konsita Kuswara

Katherine Downing
Brittany Johnson
Limin Buchanan

Li Kheng Chai

Joe Carrello

Danielle Jawad

 

Research Staff


 Konsita Kuswara

APD, MPH, MNutrDiet, BMedSci

 

Konsita commenced her PhD in January 2017 at Deakin University under the Deakin University Postgraduate Research Scholarships.  Her research focuses on the promotion of best practice Infant feeding practices among Chinese immigrants in Australia.  Konsita is an experienced Accredited Practising Dietitian with special interest in maternal and child nutrition.


Kylie Hunter

MPH, BA(Hons) Human Movement, BA (Indonesian)

 

Kylie Hunter is a Senior Project Officer for the Systematic Reviews and Health Technology Assessment team at the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, University of Sydney. She has a background in Human Movement and works as a Research Assistant for EPOCH stream 1. She is also involved with the Cochrane Prospective Meta-analysis Methods Group, works for the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR), and is involved in research projects on breast cancer screening, perinatal medicine, and research transparency.

 


 

Penny Love

PhD, BSc Diet (Hon), PGDip Hosp Diet

 

Dr Penny Love has recently been appointed as a postdoctoral fellow within the EPOCH CRE based at Deakin University, focusing on the translation, implementation and sustainability of early childhood prevention interventions at scale.  She has a background in dietetics and nutrition with experience spanning policy, practice, and research having worked as a public health nutrition practitioner in a range of contexts in urban, rural and remote areas.  Penny's current research areas of interest are community-wide obesity prevention through a systems approach, implementation and sustainability at scale, with a specific interest in remote and rural communities.  Her role within within the EPOCH CRE will be to undertake research to inform the identification of key leverage points for obesity prevention interventions when implemented within existing service delivery systems in Australasia.

 

Profile: https://www.deakin.edu.au/about-deakin/people/penny-love2


David Espinoza

BArch, BSc (Adv.Math), MBioStats

 

David Espinoza as biostatistician employed at the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre (CTC), University of Sydney since 2011. David has worked on the EPOCH1 IPD-PMA as well as various clinical oncology trials;  collaborations with the BODEN institute looking at obesity and consults with the Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Research. He oversees the randomisation system offered by the CTC statistics team.

 

Profile: http://www.ctc.usyd.edu.au/automated-nodes/people/david-espinoza.aspx


 

Rebecca Byrne

BMedSc MNutrDiet PhD

 

Dr Rebecca Byrne is the postdoctoral research fellow within Stream 2 of the EPOCH CRE, based at the Queensland University of Technology - Centre for Children's Health Research.  Rebecca is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and her research interests include what and how young children are fed, understanding how eating behaviours - such as fussy eating - develop, and improving the measurement of obesogenic behaviours.  She has worked on the NH&MRC funded NOURISH trial that evaluated a complementary feeding intervention to prevent childhood obesity, and upscaling of the PEACHTM program - Parenting, Eating & Activity for Child Health - across Queensland.  Rebecca is passionate about ensuring parents and educators feel confident in their ability to foster heathy behaviours in children. http://eprints.qut.edu.au/view/person/Byrne,_Rebecca.html

 

Profile: http://staff.qut.edu.au/details?id=byrnera


 

Sarah Taki

 

Sarah has recently been appointed as the Senior Research Officer and Postdoctoral Research Fellow within stream 4 of the EPOCH CRE based at Health Promotion Service, Sydney Local Health District. Her work will focus on conducting research for the implementation of the Healthy Beginnings program in the real-world setting as part of CRE Translational Research. Sarah is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and recently completed her PhD in the prevention of childhood obesity at the University of Technology Sydney. Her study was embedded in the Growing healthy program, a feasibility mHealth study which supported parents with infant feeding behaviours that promote healthy weight gain.

 

Profile: Sarah Taki COMBINE Study


 

Andrew Tan

BBank(Hons), MIntEcon&F(Adv) and PhD(Econ)

 

Andrew Tan is the postdoctoral fellow within Stream 3 of the Centre of Research Excellence in the Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood (CRE EPOCH), based at the School of Public Health, University of Sydney. He has a background in economics and was previously involved in research projects that investigate the impacts of climate on productivity and population health. Andrew's role in the CRE EPOCH will be to develop a health economic model for progression of obesity in early childhood, which will then be used to compare cost effectiveness of interventions targeted in childhood.

 

Profile: http://sydney.edu.au/medicine/people/academics/profiles/a.tan.php


 

Dorota Zarnowiecki

BAppSc(FoodSci&Nutr), BHlthSc(Hons), PhD, RNutr, (currrently completing MND)

 

Dorota works within Stream 2 to develop validated measures of dietary intake for infants, toddlers and pre-school aged children and is also currently  completing a Masters of Nutrition and Dietetics. Dorota’s PhD explored relationships between socioeconomic status and children’s dietary intake to inform the design of tailored interventions. Since completing her PhD, she has worked on research studies evaluating the effectiveness of programs for improving nutrition, physical activity and health outcomes in pregnancy, infancy and childhood, working with vulnerable target groups including Aboriginal people, socioeconomically disadvantaged groups and individuals with mental illness.

Development of healthy lifestyle behaviours (nutrition focus) in  childhood, reducing socioeconomic health disparities, nutrition for improving mental health, dietary assessment methodology


 

Victoria Brown

BEc (Hons), MPH, PhD

 

Vicki is an Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Deakin University.  She is a health economist with Deakin Health Economics, with interests in the economics of childhood obesity and the cost-effectiveness of interventions for treatment and prevention.  Vicki's Postdoctoral Fellowship aims to: determine the most policy-relevant outcomes for early childhood obesity prevention; estimate the value of these outcomes by stakeholder group; and, explore how these value judgements differ between groups. 

 

Profile:  http://www.deakin.edu.au/about-deakin/people/victoria-brown


Anna Lene Seidler

BSC, MSc, PhD

 

Anna Lene Seidler is a Research Fellow for EPOCH Stream 1 (Acting Lead), based at the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre at the University of Sydney, Australia. Lene has qualifications and track record in psychology, research methods and mathematics. She specialises in systematic reviews, methods development, project management, and individual participant data (IPD) meta-analyses. Her clinical focus areas are early childhood obesity and neonatology.

Lene’s work within the EPOCH CRE involves analysing intervention trials and improving the understanding of early interventions to prevent childhood obesity. Lene leads the TOPCHILD collaboration which stems from collaborative work within the EPOCH CRE. TOPCHILD is bringing together researchers from around the world to address early childhood obesity prevention (https://www.topchildcollaboration.org/).

 

Profile:  https://ctc.usyd.edu.au/about-us/our-people/academics-research-fellows/anna-lene-seidler/


Michelle Tran

MEc

 

Michelle is a research assistant within Stream 3 of the EPOCH CRE.  She has completed her Master of Health Economics in 2019.  Her thesis studied the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of fruit and vegetable subsidy as an obesity prevention intervention in Australia.  Michelle is currently undertaking research in the area of the economics of obesity and other non-communicable diseases at Deakin University.

 


Li Kheng Chai

BNutr&Diet (Hons), PhD, APD

 

Li is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow within Stream 2 of the EPOCH CRE based at the Queensland University of Technology - Centre for Children's Health Research. Li is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and recently completed her PhD in childhood obesity eHealth intervention at the University of Newcastle. Her study investigated the use of innovative clinical telehealth and text messaging to improve child nutrition and weight management. Her research focuses on using technology to develop, deliver and evaluate nutrition and lifestyle interventions to improve children’s health and diet quality, and to prevent and manage obesity in children.

 

Profile: https://research.qut.edu.au/peng/people/li-kheng-chai/


Danielle Jawad

 

Danielle Jawad has recently been appointed as a research assistant within stream 4 of the EPOCH CRE. Danielle has a background in Nutrition and Dietetics and has completed her MPH at the University of Sydney in 2019. She has experience working in paediatric nutrition with UNICEF on projects that aided in the prevention of polio disease outbreak in Lebanon. Since completing her MPH, she has been involved in several research studies focusing on early childhood obesity prevention. Danielle’s role in the EPOCH CRE will be to support in multiple research-related projects that include administrative tasks for research intervention delivery, data collection for evaluation, and manuscript writings. 


 

 

PhD Students

 


Chelsea Mauch

BNutDiet, Bsc(Hons)

 

Chelsea is undertaking her PhD with Stream 2 at Flinders University under the supervision of Associate Professor Rebecca Golley. She was awarded an NHMRC postgraduate scholarship, and commenced her studies in January 2017. Chelsea is an Accredited Practising Dietitian, with more than a decade of experience in public and private paediatric dietetics. She worked on the NOURISH project as a Research Associate for 8 years, and played a key role in intervention design and delivery, and dietary data collection and analysis. Her PhD project aims to design an evidence-based early obesity prevention app addressing the parental provision of food to young children.

 

Profile:  http://www.flinders.edu.au/people/chelsea.mauch


 

Emma Esdaile

APD, BA, MIS, BHlthSc(Nutr&Diet)(Hons)

 

Emma Esdaile commenced her PhD at Sydney University in October 2016, undertaking a project in Stream 4 within the EPOCH CRE. Her work will focus on the policies and infrastructure that could impact upon childhood obesity (0-5 years). Emma is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and worked most recently in the Queensland-wide scaling up of the PEACH - program (Parenting, Eating and Activity for Child Health) with Queensland University of Technology.

 

Lakshmi Ekambareshwar

MHS (Hons), Grad Dip HSM, BSc


 Lakshmi Ekambareshwar commenced her PhD at Sydney University in March 2017, undertaking a project in Stream 4 within the EPOCH CRE. Her work will focus on the Process Evaluation of Communicating Healthy Beginnings Advice by Telephone (CHAT) Trial. For her Master’s research, Lakshmi evaluated the education and training provided to health professionals for web-based incident reporting in the use of New South Wales State-wide Incident Information Management System.  Lakshmi has extensive experience within the New South Wales Health system and most recently was Cancer Systems Innovation Manager at Northern Sydney Local Health District.


 

Andrea Fuller

APD, BBus, BNutr&Diet (Hons)

 

Andrea commenced her PhD at Queensland University of Technology in March 2017, working in Stream 2 within the EPOCH CRE, and based at Centre for Children’s for Health Research.  Her research will include the development and evaluation of a pilot program aimed at parenting skills that encourage healthy lifestyle behaviours in children under 5 attending playgroup. The intervention will cover diet quality, physical activity, sedentary behaviours and sleep.  Andrea is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and conducted an undergraduate research project evaluating the PEACHTM program (Parenting, Eating & Activity for Child Health) for families with a child with special needs, particularly Autism Spectrum Disorder and the evaluation of a pilot PEACHTM program at a Special School.

 

Profile:  https://research.qut.edu.au/peng/people/andrea-fuller/


Widjane Ferreira Goncalves

BSp&ExSc, MHSc

 

Widjane commenced her PhD at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in November 2017. She was granted an EPOCH - CRE scholarship and she is currently based at Queensland Centre for Children’s Health Research with her supervisors Professor Stewart Trost and Dr. Rebecca Byrne. The primary focus of her PhD is to analyse parental health behaviours and parenting practices in rural Brazilian families living in the municipality of Caruaru in Pernambuco, focusing on children aged 3 to 6 years old. The research includes the investigation of the inter-relationships between parental health behaviours, domain-specific parenting practices, child care policies and environment, and children’s physical activity, screen time, and sleep. The way these characteristics impact children’s weight status will also be considered. The results will inform decision-makers in public health and will explore the need for intervention programs targeting parenting practices and obesity-related behaviours in families located in the countryside surrounding Caruaru. Widjane is a professional in Sports and Exercise Science and she completed her Master’s in Health Sciences at Federal University of Pernambuco – Brazil. During her exchange program to Australia (2013-2014) she participated in a research placement mainly in the programs, PEACH – Parenting, Eating & Activity for Child Health and LEAPS – Learning, Eating, Active Play, Sleep with QUT. She has experience on Public Health, with emphasis on the following topics: Parenting practices; Obesity-related behaviours; Epidemiology of Childhood Obesity; and Lifestyle and Health.


Sarah Marshall

MSc (Global Health), BNutr&Diet (Hons), APD

 

Sarah commenced her PhD with the School of Public Health, University of Sydney in March 2018, undertaking a project in Stream 4 of the EPOCH CRE. Her research will focus on the cultural adaption of intervention materials, developed in English through the Healthy Beginnings Trial, to promote healthy infant feeding and active play for the early prevention of childhood obesity among Chinese and Arabic populations in New South Wales. Sarah is an Accredited Practising Dietitian with a background in public health nutrition and global health.

 

 Anagha Killedar

BSc (Adv)(Hons), MPH

 

I commenced my PhD at the University of Sydney in March 2018 and am supported by the Kassulke Scholarship. With supervisors, A/Prof Alison Hayes and Dr. Thomas Lung, my work will be looking at incorporating socioeconomic inequalities into cost-effectiveness analysis of obesity prevention and treatment interventions in children and adolescents. This research aims to inform funding decisions that consider the balance between overall cost-effectiveness and the equity impact of interventions.

Joe Carrello

MPH

 

Joe is a research assistant within stream 3 of the EPOCH CRE. Coming from a clinical background as a Physiotherapist, Joe completed his Masters of Public Health through the University of Sydney in 2018 before commencing a PhD at the same institution in 2019. Under supervision of A/Prof Alison Hayes, Dr Tom Lung and Professor Louise Baur, his project involves life-course modelling and health economic evaluation of adolescent obesity. Outside of this Joe is also secretary for the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) NSW branch and the ‘Emerging leaders’ co-ordinator for the obesity collective, helping to challenge the stigma associated with obesity, create a new narrative and build a movement for change.


 

 

Affiliates

 


Seema Mihrshahi

BSc (Hons), MPH, PhD

 

Background

Seema has a background in public health nutrition and nutrition epidemiology. 

          

Research Interests

Seema’s current research focuses on population-based approaches for the prevention of overweight and obesity in children, effective monitoring and surveillance strategies for overweight and obesity, and program evaluation. She has a keen interest in research translation, particularly implementing effective strategies to achieve optimal growth in early life. She has participated in various research projects with a focus on women’s and children’s health both within Australia and internationally.

 

Profile

https://researchers.mq.edu.au/en/persons/seema-mihrshahi


Lucinda Bell

BNutrDiet (Hons), PhD, APD

 

Dr Lucinda Bell is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Caring Futures Institute at Flinders University, and research associate within Stream 2 of the EPOCH CRE, focused on enhancing preventative care where children and families live, work, learn, eat and play. She is a nationally recognised public health nutrition researcher with a strong track record in paediatric dietary assessment, nutrition epidemiology, qualitative nutrition research, and the delivery and evaluation of child nutrition and weight management initiatives across a range of settings: childcare centres, families, and communities. Dr Bell’s body of research has helped transform approaches to the prevention and management around childhood obesity and improved our ability to routinely monitor and measure diet-related behaviours. She is the recipient of a Flinders University Vice Chancellor’s Early Career Researcher award.


Jazzmin Miaobing Zheng

Bsc(Hons), PhD

 

Jazzmin is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, Deakin University. She holds a National Health and Medical Research Council Early Career Fellowship (2017-2021). She is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and has a background in nutrition epidemiology and public health. Her fellowship focuses on assessing the dietary correlates of rapid growth and adiposity in early childhood, and how rapid weight gain during infancy programs later obesity risks among several Australian longitudinal birth cohorts. Other research interests include the role of dietary intakes such as portion size, energy-dense and nutrient-poor foods in the development of obesity and chronic diseases.


Katherine Downing

BHlthSci, BEx&SpSci(Hons), PhD

 

Katherine is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Deakin University’s Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition. Her research focuses on sedentary behaviour in early childhood. In particular, she is interested in the measurement of sedentary behaviour, patterns of sedentary behaviour, and how we can best educate and support parents to reduce their children’s sedentary behaviour


 

Brittany Johnson

APD, BNutr&Diet, BHSc(Hons)

 

Brittany is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Caring Futures Institute, at Flinders University. Her research interests include improving children’s diet quality by reducing unhealthy food intake, applying behaviour change theory and creating supportive environments where we live, work and play. Her PhD was focussed on identifying intervention content to support parents to reduce provision of unhealthy foods to their young children during the transition to pre-school and school. Brittany is an Accredited Practising Dietitian with a background in public health nutrition and experience in working with Aboriginal communities and the child care sector to make healthy food choices. She is currently managing the deconstructing interventions component of the TOPCHILD Collaboration—a new project that is bringing together researchers from around the world to transform early childhood obesity prevention, by unpacking past interventions using novel methods to understand how they work, and for whom (affiliated with Stream 1).


Limin Buchanan

BSc(Nutr), BSc (Hons), PhD

 

Dr Limin Buchanan is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Prevention Research Collaboration, Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney. She is currently employed as a Research Coordinator for the Healthy Beginnings CHAT Study 2 funded by NHMRC (APP#1169823, 2019-21). She is based at the Health Promotion Unit, Sydney Local Health District. Limin has a background in public health nutrition. Her PhD focused on the influences of unhealthy food and beverage products marketing on young people. Limin has a keen research interest in how the food environments impact on consumption behaviours. Limin is also passionate about improving nutritional status among children for healthy growth and development. Limin has previously worked as a Lecturer at The University of Wollongong. She was involved in a range of research projects including food labelling and policy, commuting and wellbeing, and local food supply research.