Chief Investigators

Professor Rebecca Bentley
Director

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.

Professor Anton van den Hengel
Professor David Jacobs

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.

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.

Associate Investigators

Dr Amy Clair

Amy Clair is a Research Fellow in the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, UK. Her work explores the relationships between housing, health and well-being with particular emphasis on the well-being of children. Recent work has demonstrated associations between housing experiences and health biomarkers, developed a measure of housing precariousness and highlighted the importance of housing to child well-being. 

Dr Kate Mason

Kate is currently a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Public Health, Policy and Systems at the University of Liverpool. She has broad research interests in social and geographical health inequalities, and applying quantitative methods to understand how individual, social and environmental factors combine to influence physical and mental health. Kate recently completed her PhD in Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, focussing on how neighbourhood built environments influence obesity-related outcomes in the UK, examining in particular how this might vary for different people and in different places. Her current research examines the impact of local and national social, economic and welfare policies on child health inequalities. Kate previously lived and worked in Melbourne, contributing to Australian research on housing and health, and since then has continued to collaborate with CRE leads Professors Bentley and Baker. 

Dr Melanie Andersen

Dr Melanie Andersen is a Research Fellow at the School of Population Health at UNSW Sydney and an Honorary Research Fellow at The George Institute for Global Health. Melanie is a mixed methods researcher with expertise in the social and environmental determinants of health across the life course and a special interest in housing. Much of Melanie’s work involves working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations to address community priorities. 

Professor Peter Phibbs

Peter is Director of the Henry Halloran Trust at the University of Sydney (a research trust established as a result of philanthropy).  He is also a member of the WHO Housing and Health Guidelines group with a particular interest in the accessibility of housing. He was trained as a social economist and geographer and has been a housing researcher for over thirty years. He recently reflected that he spent the first half of his career building evidence to assist the development of housing policy and the second half of his career researching why politicians do not seem all that interested in evidence. 

Dr Ankur Singh

Ankur Singh is a Research Fellow in Social Epidemiology and Lecturer (Epidemiology) at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health. His PhD was conferred in January 2018, and was awarded the Dean’s Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence by the University of Adelaide. In the short time since the awarding of his PhD, Dr Singh has published 26 peer-reviewed publications, the majority of which were first-authored, in journals such as American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Tobacco Control and in Journal of Dental Research. Ankur has applied advanced quantitative methods (multilevel modelling, causal mediation analysis and computer simulation models using multi-state life table approaches) as well as evidence synthesis methods (systematic and scoping reviews). In post-doc, Ankur has developed his capacity in the discipline of social epidemiology particularly through high quality research in the area of housing and health and health inequalities. Ankur is currently the Chair of the Global Working Group on Social Determinants of Health in the International Union for Health Promotion and Education, Montreal, Canada

Dr Lyrian Daniel

Lyrian Daniel is a Research Fellow in the Healthy Cities Research Group at The University of Adelaide. She is interested in hazardous housing and its implications for population health and wellbeing. Her recent work has focusses on Australia’s hidden cold housing problem, energy hardship among tenant households, and thermal standards for homes.

Associate Professor Nevil Pierse

Associate Professor Nevil Pierse is co-director of He Kainga Oranga/Housing and Health Research Programme. Originally a statistician by training, his current work is done in partnership with a wide variety of stakeholders including government and community organisations, and is focused on the design and implementation of randomised trials and natural experiments to improve the home and community enviroments. His previous studies have shown the benefits of efficient home heating and insulation, which was instrumental in the $300 Million EECA, Warm Up New Zealand, Heat Smart programme. Nevil’s other previous work includes the HRC funded Home Injury Prevention Intervention, which showed that simple home repairs and modification reduced the number of falls in homes by 27%. He was part of the group awarded the 2014 NZ Prime Ministers prize for Science. He is currently working on the Healthy Housing Initiative with which looks at home interventions to prevent rehospitalisation of children with respiratory disease. This programme has accessed and remediated 15,530 homes in New Zealand, and resulted in a decrease in hospital admission and GP visits.  In 2019 it was won the prime ministers prize for best public service programme.  Nevil current leads the 'Ending Homelessness in New Zealand: Housing First' MBIE funded research programme. Nevil has a keen interest in big data and leads many Housing and Health projects on the integrated data infrastructure. 

Professor Rachel
Ong ViforJ

Rachel Ong ViforJ is currently an ARC Future Fellow and Professor of Economics at Curtin University. Her research focuses on housing and population ageing in Australia. These include housing wealth in retirement, intergenerational housing concerns, housing and the economy, and the links between housing precariousness, health and wellbeing. Rachel was the recipient of the Economic Society of Australia’s Young Economist Award in 2018. She is currently a member of the CEDA Council on Economic Policy. 

Dr Rowan Arundel

Rowan Arundel is Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography, Planning and International Development at the University of Amsterdam, specializing in Geographic Information Science (GIS) and housing research. His research examines dynamics of housing inequalities and interactions between housing, labour and welfare, as well as more broadly spatial analysis and macro and micro quantitative methods. His current research focuses on the interaction between growing spatial divides in housing markets and divided housing access in driving wealth inequalities. 

Professor Richard Ronald

Richard Ronald is Professor of Housing in the Department of Geography and Planning, and the Center for Urban Studies at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. He is the current Editor of Palgrave Macmillan’s ‘Contemporary City’ book series and former Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Housing Policy. Richard sits on various funding and scientific advisory boards in Australia, Canada, Poland, Sweden and the UK. His own research focuses on housing in relation to social, economic and urban transformations in Europe and Pacific Asia, and has been funded by, among others, the European Research Council, the Australian Research Council, The Dutch Ministry of the Interior, the Japan Foundation and the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science. He has also been an Honorary, Visiting or Distinguished Professor at the University of Birmingham (UK), National University Singapore (Singapore), Kyung Hee University (South Korea), and the Open University of Hong Kong (China).  Richard originally graduated from Nottingham University and Nottingham Trent University in the UK and was a Doctoral and Postdoctoral Fellow at Kobe University in Japan.

Research fellows and graduate researchers

Dr Ang Li

Ang Li is a Research Fellow at the Healthy Housing Unit at the Centre for Health Policy, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health. Her research interests are in demographic economics, health economics and social epidemiology. Her current work focuses on the nexus between housing and health over the life course. Her PhD thesis on housing and fertility was awarded Walter Noel Gillies Prize for Best PhD Thesis in Economics by Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sydney. She previously worked as a health econometrician at the University of Sydney and Sydney Local Health District, applying econometrics and statistics to assess health services, clinical interventions, and public policies using longitudinal, administrative and linked data.

Research Manager

Holly Jones

Holly Jones is a research manager and communicator based at The University of Melbourne. Contact her via our contact page for queries on media, research or partnerships. 

Translation Advisory Group

Coming soon

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