Dr David Martino is an NHMRC biomedical research fellow at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute. His research interests include genetic and epigenetic regulation of the immune response with a focus on pediatric food allergy. This involves understanding how both genetic and environmental factors converge on genome regulation and influence disease outcomes. David has published a wide range of mechanistic and developmental studies utilizing genome-wide technologies to yield novel insights into complex diseases mechanisms.
Dr Debbie Palmer (BSc, BND, PhD) is head of the Childhood Allergy and Immunology Research Team at the University of Western Australia. She is one of a few dietitians worldwide undertaking research in the area of nutritional strategies for allergy prevention. After ten years of clinical paediatric dietetic experience and specialising in the area of food allergy, Debbie commenced her research career. Her current research activities include conducting randomised controlled trials focusing on nutritional interventions for the prevention of allergic disease, including 1) maternal prebiotics supplementation during pregnancy, 2) optimal exposure of egg protein through breast milk to infants during lactation 3) optimal timing of egg introduction into the solid food diet of infants and 4) vitamin D oral supplementation to infants.
Dr Caroline Lodge (M.B.B.S. Grad Dip Hort Grad Dip Epi) is a postdoctoral fellow based at the University of Melbourne. She completed a PhD in 2012 under the supervision of Professors Shyamali Dharmage, Katie Allen, Michael Abramson, A/Prof Lyle Gurrin and Dr Adrian Lowe. Her thesis examined early life factors associated with childhood allergies in a high-allergy-risk birth cohort, The Melbourne Atopy Cohort Study (MACS). She has five first author publications from the thesis to date, additionally a further manuscript has been accepted and another is under review. The subjects of these manuscripts include sensitization to dust mite in early life as a predictor of later allergies, early pet exposure and allergy risk and investigation of early life factors and later life outcomes of childhood wheeze phenotypes, defined using latent class analysis. She is currently responsible, under the guidance of Dr Lowe, for coordinating a study of neonatal vitamin D levels at birth (from Guthrie cards) and allergic disease including possible food allergy in the MACS, along with supervision of an Master of Public Health student and co-supervision of a doctoral student investigating the causes and consequences of food sensitization in the MACS. She has recently won a bid to conduct a Cochrane review of the role of vitamin D in the prevention of allergies and a grant to investigate the effect of air pollution on allergic disease and its genetic modifiers.
Dr Koplin is a postdoctoral research fellow in the field of epidemiology. She has a strong interest and research track record relative to opportunity in environmental and genetic risk factors for food allergy. Her PhD and early postdoctoral work was undertaken within the NHMRC funded HealthNuts study. Dr Koplin is currently undertaking an National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), early career fellowship based at the University of Melbourne Centre for Molecular, Environmental, Genetic and Analytic (MEGA) Epidemiology to investigate gene environment interactions in childhood food allergy.
Peter is a general paediatrician at the Geelong Hospital, and principal investigator on the Barwon Infant Study (BIS). In 2009 he completed his PhD regarding the prevalence, pattern and management of asthma among children. Peter has a general interest in the early life determinants of disease and has worked to develop the Barwon region as a center for population based research. In particular he is interested in understanding the interplay between maternal and infant diet, gut microbiota, vitamin D status and allergic disease.
Dr Thanh Dang
Thanh completed his Bachelor of Biomedical Science with First Class Honours at Monash University in 2006 before continuing his research in evaluating the cross reactivity of grass pollen allergies and purifying their major allergens. He has since completed his PhD through the University of Melbourne at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in the characterisation of immunological differences of food allergic individuals from the HealthNuts cohort, one of the largest population based cohorts in the world. His research focuses (1) elucidating immunological biomarkers to improve the diagnosis of food allergy, and (2) understanding the role of regulatory T cells on the development of the tolerance in food allergy.
Dr Rachel Peters is a postdoctoral research fellow based at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. She completed the Masters of Public Health (epidemiology and biostatistics) in 2011 and Doctor of Philosophy in 2014. Her thesis investigated predictors and phenotypes of IgE-mediated food allergy and the development of tolerance in children. Her research focuses on the natural history of food allergy and the role that infant food allergy phenotypes play in the development of chronic allergic diseases such as asthma.