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Chief Investigators

Professor Rebecca Bentley

Rebecca Bentley is a Professorial Research Fellow in Social Epidemiology and the leader of the Healthy Housing Research Group in the Centre for Health Equity, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health. Over the past ten years, Rebecca has developed a research program exploring the role of housing and residential location in shaping health and wellbeing in Australia. This research has a particular focus on housing affordability, tenure and their measurable effects on individual health and wellbeing. Professor Bentley leads the Life Course research stream. 

Professor Tony Blakely

Tony Blakely is an epidemiologist and public health medicine specialist at The University of Melbourne. He is committed to answering questions about which public health interventions will achieve the greatest improvements in health and social outcomes, reduce inequalities in health, and do so cost-effectively.

His research covers a range of topic areas, intersected with methodological advancements. Whilst principally an epidemiologist, he uses and combines methods from multiple disciplines: biostatistics, economics, econometrics, and computer and data science.

Tony is Director of the Population Interventions (PI) Unit within the Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health. PI aims to:
"provide robust evidence on the health and cost impacts of population interventions, through causal inference and simulation approaches from epidemiology, economics and data science."

Professor Blakely leads the Health Gains research stream. 

Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman

Philippa Howden-Chapman, Sesquicentennial Distinguished Professor of Public Health at the University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand, is co-director of He Kāinga Oranga/ Housing and Health Research Programme and director of the New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities.  She has conducted a number of randomised community housing trials in partnership with local communities, which have had a major influence on housing, health and energy policy. She was chair of the WHO Housing and Health Guideline Development Group and currently chair of the ISC Scientific Committee for Health & Wellbeing in the Changing Urban Environment: a systems approach. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Professor Emma Baker
Deputy Director

Emma Baker is Professor of Housing Research at the University of Adelaide where she leads the Healthy Cities Research Group. Her research examines the cumulative effects of housing, environmental, locational and socioeconomic vulnerabilities on wellbeing, with particular interests in utilising large longitudinal, administrative datasets to create knowledge that responds to real policy problems. She is currently leading the construction of a national rental housing conditions dataset and has a track record of successful collaboration with industry, government and non-government organisations.

Professor Baker leads the Capturing Complexity research stream. 

Professor Sandra Eades

Sandra Eades is Dean and Head of Curtin Medical School at Curtin University. Prior to this, Professor Eades was the Head, Indigenous Maternal and Child Health and Associate Head, Preventative Health Research, at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute.

Professor Eades’ health research career began with a focus on the epidemiology of Indigenous child health in Australia and she is acknowledged as a leader and role model in Indigenous health research and is Australia’s first Aboriginal medical doctor to be awarded a Doctor of Philosophy.

Professor Eades also leads CRE REACH - a centre for research excellence leading the evidence to improve Aboriginal child and adolescent health. 

Dr Natasha Howard

Dr Natasha Howard is the Wardliparingga Platform Lead: Implementation Science at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. The Platform incorporates a systems view and privileges Indigenous knowledges to deliver mixed-method inter-disciplinary perspectives which aim to generate policy and practice-based evidence on the social determinants of health. Her experience spans both the health and social sciences, applying population approaches to investigate how the social and built environment enables and promotes cardiometabolic health and well-being, notably for priority populations. She has been active in advocacy and mentoring of the local population health community in both research and practice. Dr Howard leads the Capacity Building objective. 

Professor Andrew Beer

Andrew Beer is Executive Dean of UniSA Business. He previously worked at the University of Adelaide and the Flinders University of South Australia, and holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Adelaide and a PhD from the Australian National University. Beer has served as a Research Fellow at the University of Plymouth, a Leverhulme Fellow at the University of Ulster and a Visiting Professor at the University of North Texas. He served on the College of Experts for the Australian Research Council and is a Fellow of the UK’s Academy of Social Sciences. Beer is currently undertaking research in three major areas: the changing role of Australian local governments in Australia's housing system; the cross national analysis of the leadership of places; the quality and condition of Australia's housing stock; and, the use of services and housing by Australia's ageing population. Professor Beer leads the Knowledge Transfer objective. 

Professor Alex Brown

Professor Alex Brown is an Aboriginal medical doctor and researcher. He has led Aboriginal research at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Insititute since 2012. 

In 2007 he was appointed to set up a research program in Central Australia with Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, with a focus on heart disease and diabetes in Aboriginal people. During this time, Alex commenced and completed his PhD on depression and heart disease in Aboriginal men.

Over the last 20 years, Alex has established an extensive and unique research program focused on chronic disease in vulnerable communities, with a particular focus on outlining and overcoming health disparities. He leads projects encompassing epidemiology, psychosocial determinants of chronic disease, mixed methods health services research in Aboriginal primary care and hospital settings, and randomised controlled trials of pharmacological and non-pharmacological chronic disease interventions.

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Professor Anton van den Hengel

Anton van den Hengel is the Director of the Australian Institute for Machine Learning (AIML), Australia’s largest machine learning research group, and on many measures it’s most successful. He is a Chief Investigator of the Australian Centre of Excellence in Robotic Vision, and a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Adelaide. Professor van den Hengel has been a CI on over $60m in research funding from sources including Google, Facebook, Canon, BHP Billiton and the ARC.


He has also recently taken on the role of Director of Applied Science at Amazon, leading a Machine Learning research group, working on Visual Question Answering, Conversational Agents, and general Computer Vision.

Prof van den Hengel has won a number of awards, including the Pearcey Foundation Entrepreneur Award, the SA Science Excellence Award for Research Collaboration, and the CVPR Best Paper prize in 2010. He has authored over 300 publications, has an h-index of 58, has had 8 patents commercialised, formed 3 start-ups, and has recently had a medical technology achieve first-in-class FDA approval. Current research interests include deep learning, vison and language problems, interactive image-based modelling, large-scale video surveillance, and medical machine learning.

Prof van den Hengel and his team have developed world leading methods in a range of areas within Computer Vision and Machine learning, including methods which have placed first on a variety of international leaderboards such as: PASCAL VOC (2015 & 2016), CityScapes (2016 & 2017), Virginia Tech VQA (2016 & 2017), and the Microsoft COCO Captioning Challenge (2016). Professor van den Hengel’s team placed 4th in the ImageNet detection challenge in 2015 ahead of Google, Intel, Oxford, CMU and Baidu, and 2nd in ImageNet Scene Parsing in 2016. ImageNet is one of the most hotly contested challenges in Computer Vision.

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Professor David Jacobs

David Jacobs is the Chief Scientist at the U.S. National Center for Healthy Housing. He also serves as Director of the U.S. Collaborating Center for Research and Training on Housing Related Disease and Injury for the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO WHO), an adjunct associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, and as a faculty associate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is one of the nation’s foremost authorities on childhood lead poisoning prevention and was principal author of both the President’s Task Force Report on the subject in 2000 and the Healthy Homes Report to Congress in 1999. Dr. Jacobs is the former director of the Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he was responsible for program evaluations, grants, contracts, public education, enforcement, regulation, and policy related to lead and healthy homes.

His current work includes research on asthma, international healthy housing guidelines, lead poisoning prevention, and green sustainable building design.

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