Predictors of infection, clinical severity and immunological legacy of SARS-CoV-2 in extant longitudinal LifeCourse population cohorts of children and their household/family contacts

Research Opportunity
PhD students
Department / Centre
Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Associate Professor Kirsten Perrett +61417342022 Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Professor David Burgner David Burgner

Summary This project will use data from the COVID-Immune and YoungLives cohort studies which harness the MCRI’s unique population cohorts of children to investigate whether pre-COVID immune phenotypes and biomarkers predict susceptibility to and severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection. In addition, this project offers the opportunity to further understand the clinical features, natural history, transmission dynamics and long-term effects/legacy of SARS-CoV-2 infection in children, adolescents and young adults. The findings will have immediate translational importance and will inform prevention, interventions and policy.

Project Details

COVID-19 epidemiology and pathophysiology are unprecedented but poorly understood, hampering short- and long-term management. Infection-related, dysregulated immune responses are central and likely underpin the increasingly recognised long-term impacts. A striking feature of the current COVID-19 pandemic is the relatively low incidence of symptomatic infection and milder disease in children. This is markedly different to almost every other infectious disease, particularly those due to viruses. Key scientific questions are therefore, why children are less susceptible to infection and, if infected, why the clinical severity is much less than in adults, who is at risk and what is the immunological legacy of infection. The successful applicant will analyse immune data and biosamples from up to 3500 children, adolescents and young adults from 4 of MCRI’s unique population cohorts. The project combines hands-on clinical research, laboratory work, and data analysis and interpretation. The project would suit a clinician (e.g. paediatrician, infectious diseases) or a scientist with an interest and some content knowledge in these areas. Full training of assessments, laboratory techniques and other key skills will be given. Excellent people skills are essential and some experience of data management and statistical analysis would be beneficial. The successful candidate is expected to be competitive for own scholarship funding (APA or similar). Top-up funding may be available.

Faculty Research Themes

Child Health

School Research Themes

Child Health in Medicine

Research Opportunities

PhD students
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.

Department / Centre


Research Node

Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

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