SNOTWATCH: Mapping real-time respiratory and gastrointestinal viral information to inform and improve health outcomes

Research Opportunity
PhD students
Department / Centre
Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Prof Jim Buttery Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Hazel Clothier Personal web page

Summary SNOTWATCH: Mapping real-time respiratory and gastrointestinal viral information to inform and improve health outcomes

Project Details

When Victorians develop a respiratory illness and are tested, most pathology services use molecular diagnostic tests that test for multiple potential pathogens (e.g. viruses) for each sample. This means we have access to de-identified population level data regarding the distribution of many common pathogens across time and place. SNOTWATCH de-identifies and collates these data to improve our understanding of how tested pathogens circulate each year. Additionally, the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how PCR results can be used in conjunction with a range of geographic information systems to track disease spread in real time.  SNOTWATCH then links these viral exposure data ecologically in time and place with health outcomes from de-identified hospital and primary care health data. This has created a statewide matched, unlinked geo-temporal dataset.  Ecologic analyses can accurately describe and help predict the incidence of clinical presentations of interest with relation to specific viral activity in the community. This includes understanding the contribution of different individual viruses to important health conditions, and the contribution of a single virus to a variety of health conditions across the age spectrum.

This PhD will expand on the existing SNOTWATCH platform by:

  • examining viral contribution to important illnesses such as acute myocardial infarctions and stroke
  • describe the total health and economic impact of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
  • correlate antimicrobial prescribing patterns with seasonal viral activity
  • conduct a randomised controlled trial testing whether increasing awareness of circulating viruses changes GP prescribing patterns

The PhD will be conducted at the Centre for Health Analytics at the Melbourne Children's Campus and is suitable for a clinical (adult or paediatric) or epidemiology trained candidate.

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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