Investigating 'silent' newborn viral infections and outcomes in the GenV cohort

Research Opportunity
PhD students
Department / Centre
Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
A/Prof Valerie Sung Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
A/Prof Gabrielle Haeusler
Prof Melissa Wake

Summary Investigating 'silent' newborn viral infections and outcomes in the GenV cohort

Project Details

We are seeking a PhD candidate to examine the prevalence and outcomes of 'silent' newborn viral infections in the statewide GenV cohort. This PhD offers exciting potential for significant discovery in Australia's landmark cohort study, and a research career in population health, epidemiology, infectious diseases and/or child health and development.    Generation Victoria (GenV), Australia's most ambitious longitudinal study, is a whole-of-state cohort targeting all 150,000 newborns born in Victoria Oct 2021-Oct 2023 and their parents, designed to explore how environmental exposures and genetics interact with biology to determine outcomes across the lifecourse.

It is now known that viruses can establish lasting inflammatory/immune effects and/or dormant or low-grade persistence within infected individuals. Large-n population research is now showing paths from virus to disease, such as the recent discovery that Epstein Barr virus (EBV) causes subsequent multiple sclerosis. There is reason for concern that newborn viruses could precede a range of lifecourse conditions such as autism, allergy, schizophrenia and immune disorders, over and above viruses already known to cause intellectual disability and deafness.

This project will build on a successful NHMRC grant (2021-25) with GenV and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI), which uses novel CRISPR gene-editing technology to determine the population prevalence of a single virus (congenital cytomegalovirus, CMV) in GenV's newborn saliva samples.

This PhD will add to this body of research by identifying additional viruses to add to the testing panel, reporting the prevalence of 'silent' newborn viruses within a Victorian sample of newborns, and to explore child health/development outcomes in the first 2 years of life and beyond.

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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