Professor Melissa Anne Wake

MBChB, FRACP, FAHMS, MD

Biography

Professor Melissa Wake (MBChB, FRACP, FAHMS, MD) is a paediatrician, community child health researcher, and Scientific Director of the Generation Victoria (GenV) initiative. Her “population paediatrics” agenda spans common childhood conditions and antecedents of diseases of ageing.

Her goals are to speed up children’s research and to test interventions that change children’s care. Having led numerous community-based randomised trials, her major focus for this triennium is building the Generation Victoria (GenV) and Child Health CheckPoint platforms for generations of researchers.

Awards include the 2009 Australian Health Minister's Prize for Excellence in Health & Medical Research and consecutive NHMRC Excellence Awards (2009-12, 2013-16) as top-ranked Research Fellow in Australia. Melissa’s projects have twice appeared in the NHMRC's annual 'Ten of the Best' publication (2008, 2017).

Successes in research translation include securing the Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program, which now screens 80,000 babies annually and is springboarding a continuing program of population-based hearing research.

Research | Current

The Australia-New Zealand Partnership in Genes, Environment, Nutrition and Obesity (GENO) - providing essential knowledge for next-generation translational research to improve nutrition, obesity and health

Child Obesity: Data to Action - generating insights into potential interventions to reduce obesity from the Australian and New Zealand Growing Up studies

The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (Growing Up in Australia) - following the development of 10,000 children and families from all parts of Australia since 2004, with the data released for all researchers 

The Child Health CheckPoint - LSAC's physical health and biomakers module, illuminating how health and interrelated diseases develop across generations and across the lifecourse 

Postgraduate supervision

Melissa has supervised students at all levels: Honours (x7), University of Melbourne MD Research Projects (formerly Scholarly Selectives/Adv Medical Science) one-year attachments (x28), Masters (x4), Doctoral (PhD, MD, DPsych x20), and Postdoctoral (x11). She encourages team-based projects that enable new researchers to learn to collaborate and to attain internationally-significant findings.

Available PhD projects? See:

- The University of Auckland's FindaThesis (Liggins Institute)

- FindaPhD.com (Liggins Institute - primary supervisors Martin Kussmann, Justin O'Sullivan)

- The 2018 Child Health CheckPoint Student Projects Booklet (https://www.mcri.edu.au/research/projects/growing-australias-child-health-checkpoint/students-and-researchers)

Distinctions/Honours

2017

Australian NHMRC ‘Ten of the Best’ 2017: For ‘The Memory Maestros Translational Randomised Trial’ (NHMRC Project Grant 1005317)

2013-2017

NHMRC Elizabeth Blackburn Fellow: Highest-ranked Public Health Research Fellowship to a female applicant (#1046518)

2013

MCRI Director’s Award for Outstanding Achievement ($100,000 prize)

2013

NHMRC Excellence Award: Highest-ranked Research Fellowship across all disciplines

2010

Victorian Government Early Years Minister’s Award: Improving Infant Sleep Patterns and Maternal Mental Health ($15,000; CIs Harriet Hiscock and Melissa Wake)

2009

The 2009 Australian Health Minister’s Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research (medal and $50,000 prize)

2009-2012

NHMRC Population Health Career Development Award Level 2 (#546405)

2008

NHMRC Excellence Award for top-ranked Career Development Award in Public Health

2008

NHMRC ‘Ten of the Best’ 2008: For ‘Overweight/obesity, activity patterns, and health in 4-year-olds: Longitudinal Study of Australian Children’ (NHMRC Project Grant 334308)

2006

Inaugural MCRI ‘Rising Star’ Award: For excellence in research achievement in 2005 awarded to an outstanding researcher less than 10 years postdoctoral

2004-2008

NHMRC Population  Health Career Development Award #284556

Areas of expertise

Population paediatrics; obesity; sleep; language and literacy; hearing; diseases of ageing; randomised trials; cohorts studies; health services research.

Committees/Professional groups/Services

2017-

Scientific Advisory Committee, Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI), Wollongong University, NSW Australia

2015-2017

Scientific Advisory Committee, Robinson Research Institute, The University of Adelaide.

2015-

Research Excellence (REx) Expert Scientific Review Panel (ESRP), Melbourne Academic Centre for Health (Member)

2011-

The Australian Men’s Health Longitudinal Study (Foundation Member)

2015-

Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences – Foundation Elected Fellow

2014-

The DOHaD Society of Australia and New Zealand – Member

2013-

US Society for Pediatric Research – Member

 

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Wake, M., Hu, Y. J., Warren, H., Danchin, M., Fahey, M., Orsini, F., ... Davidson, A. (2020). Integrating trials into a whole-population cohort of children and parents: statement of intent (trials) for the Generation Victoria (GenV) cohort. BMC medical research methodology, 20 (1)10.1186/s12874-020-01111-x
  • Dumuid, D., Martin-Fernandez, J. A., Ellul, S., Kenett, R. S., Wake, M., Simm, P., ... Olds, T. (2020). Analysing body composition as compositional data: An exploration of the relationship between body composition, body mass and bone strength. STATISTICAL METHODS IN MEDICAL RESEARCH10.1177/0962280220955221
  • Matricciani, L., Paquet, C., Fraysse, F., Wake, M., & Olds, T. (2020). Sleep profiles of Australian children aged 11-12 years and their parents: sociodemographic characteristics and lifestyle correlates. Sleep medicine, 73, 53-62. 10.1016/j.sleep.2020.04.017
  • Lange, K., Lycett, K., Ellul, S., Saffery, R., Mensah, F., Carlin, J., ... Sawyer, M. (2020). Cross-sectional metabolic profiles of mental health in population-based cohorts of 11- to 12-year-olds and mid-life adults: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. The Australian and New Zealand journal of psychiatry, 54 (9), 928-937. 10.1177/0004867420924092
  • Hu, Y. J., Wake, M., & Saffery, R. (2020). Clarifying the Sweeping Consequences of COVID-19 in Pregnant Women, Newborns, and Children With Existing Cohorts. JAMA pediatrics10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.2395
  • Lycett, K., Juonala, M., Magnussen, C. G., Norrish, D., Mensah, F. K., Liu, R., ... Saffery, R. (2020). Body Mass Index From Early to Late Childhood and Cardiometabolic Measurements at 11 to 12 Years. Pediatrics, 146 (2).10.1542/peds.2019-3666
  • Liu, M., Lycett, K., Wong, T. Y., Kerr, J. A., He, M., Juonala, M., ... Wake, M. (2020). Do body mass index and waist-to-height ratio over the preceding decade predict retinal microvasculature in 11-12 year olds and midlife adults?. International journal of obesity (2005), 44 (8), 1712-1722. 10.1038/s41366-020-0584-9
  • Hiscock, H., O Loughlin, R., Pelly, R., Laird, C., Holman, J., Dalziel, K., ... Freed, G. (2020). Strengthening care for children: pilot of an integrated general practitioner-paediatrician model of primary care in Victoria, Australia. Australian health review : a publication of the Australian Hospital Association, 44 (4), 569-575. 10.1071/ah19177