Epidemiology and Public Health

Research Overview

The Doherty Epidemiology Unit comprises a broad group of interdisciplinary researchers focused on understanding the drivers and burden of a range of infectious diseases, to develop effective and sustainable strategies for their control. We collaborate widely with researchers across the Parkville precinct, Australia, and internationally. We work closely with key stakeholders in Victoria, Australian Government, the Asia-Pacific region and beyond to promote translation of evidence based solutions into policy and practice.

Our focus areas range from preparedness and response to emerging infectious diseases, seasonal and endemic infections of humans, neglected tropical diseases and vector borne infections, and zoonotic diseases and One Health challenges. We receive funding from a broad range of sources including nationally competitive grants, international agencies and government contracts.

We work to support quantitative researchers across the Doherty by developing communities of practice for methods expertise. We provide a statistical consulting service to all Doherty divisions and groups, supporting the design, conduct and analysis of high quality research across a range of areas.


APPRISE: https://www.apprise.org.au/

  • Miranda Smith, Academic Specialist-Collaborative Research
  • Priyanka Pillai, Health Informatics Specialist
  • Julie Milland, APPRISE Communications Officer
  • Haina Lee
  • Adrian Marcato, PhD Student


NHMRC/MRFF Fellowships

  • Principal Research Fellowship: McVernon J. Defining optimal strategies for sustained control of infectious diseases. Funding: $763,845, Jan 2017-Dec 2021.
  • MRFF Fellowship: Gibney K. Developing a coherent national approach to the clinical and public health management of invasive Strep A disease. 2021-

NHMRC Centres of Research Excellence

  • McVernon J, McPake B, Chades I, McBryde E, Annear P, Andrews R, McCaw J, Ross J, Geard N, Carvalho N. Supporting Participatory Evidence generation to Control Transmissible diseases in our Region Using Modelling (SPECTRUM). Funding: $2,499,915, 2020-2024.
  • Kaldor J, Steer A, Traub R, Clements A, Miller A, Wiseman V, Schierhout G, McVernon J, MacLaren D, Nery S. The Australian Centre for the Control and Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ACE-NTDs). Funding: $2,498,075, 2018-2022.
  • Lewin S, Sorrell T, McVernon J, Webb S, Kaldor J, Andrews R, Cheng A, Gilbert L, Smith D, Alexandersen S. Australian Partnership for Preparedness Research on Infectious Disease Emergencies (APPRISE). Funding: $4,996,415, 2016-2021.

NHMRC Partnerships

  • Stinear T, Gibney K, Johnson P, Hoffman A, O'Brien D, Lynch S, Crouch S, Athan E, Meredith A, Golding N Stopping Buruli ulcer in Victoria. Funding: $1,496,095, 2020-22.
  • McVernon J, Andrews R, Ross J, Duchene S, Subbarao K, Fielding J, Field E, Black A, Marcato A, Crooks K. Piloting, Implementing and Evaluating First Few Hundred Protocols in the Australian Context. Funding: $1,495,570, 2020-2022.

ARC Discovery Projects

  • Firestone S, Duchene S, McVernon J. Nowcasting outbreaks leveraging genomic and epidemiological data. Funding: $465,816, Jan 2021-Dec 2023.

Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

  • McVernon J, Mueller I, McPake B, Andrews R, Paini D. Strengthening Preparedness in the Asia-Pacific Region through Knowledge (SPARK). Final contract negotiations Nov 2019, $3.7M 2020-2022.

Australian Government Department of Health

  • Solicited tender: McVernon J, Baker C, Miller J, Price D, Hoang T, Ross J, Liu D, Boyle L .Strategic approach to testing for SARS-CoV-2 in Australia, Phases 1 and 2. Funding: $96,020. September 2020.
  • Solicited tender: McVernon J, Hoang T, Howden B, Catton M, Williamson D, Miller J, Price D, Shearer F, Wood J, Glass K, Simpson J. Consultancy services to model future laboratory testing demand for SARS-CoV-2 in Australia. Funding: $165,945. April 2020.
  • Solicited tender: McVernon J, Taylor M, Boyle D, Polkinghorne B. First Few X household transmission investigation for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) project. Funding: $1,556,763, April 2020.
  • Solicited tender: McCaw J, McVernon J, Dawson P, Moss R, Wood J, Shearer F, Price D. Situational awareness analytics to support the COVID-19 response. Funding: $673,105, April 2020.
  • Solicited tender: McVernon J, McCaw J, McBryde E, Glass K, Geard N, Moss R, Black A. Provision of technical support and preparedness modelling of COVID-19. Funding: $406,081, March 2020.

World Health Organization

  • Western Pacific Regional Office: Modelling COVID-19 epidemic trajectory and localised outbreak response in French Polynesia. Funding: $64,831, 2020.
  • WHO Emergency Preparedness (Geneva): Analysis and lessons learned on the impact of Public Health and Social Measures on transmission and mortality in Australia (focused on Melbourne/Sydney comparison). Funding: $117,375, 2020-21.

Research Publications

  1. Moss R, Wood J, Brown D, Shearer FM, Black AJ, Glass K, Cheng AC, McCaw JM, McVernon J. Coronavirus disease model to inform transmission reducing measures and health system preparedness, Australia. Emerg Infect Dis. 2020 Dec. https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2612.202530
  2. Price DJ, Shearer FM, Meehan MT, McBryde E, Moss R, Golding N, Conway EJ, Dawson P, Cromer D, Wood J, Abbott S, McVernon J, McCaw J. Early analysis of the Australian COVID-19 epidemic. eLife 2020;9:e58785
  3. Lydeamore MJ, Campbell P, Price DJ, Wu Y, Cuningham W, Carapetis JR, Andrews RM, McDonald MI, McVernon J, Tong SYC, McCaw JM. Estimation of the force of infection and infectious period of skin sores in remote Australian communities using interval-censored data. Accepted for publication PLoS Computational Biology 29th September 2020.
  4. Koolhof IS, Gibney KB, Bettiol S, Charleston M, Wiethoelter A, Arnold A-L, Campbell PT, Neville PJ, Aung P, Shiga T, Carver S, Firestone SM. The forecasting of dynamical Ross River outbreaks: Victoria, Australia. Epidemics 2020 DOI: 10.1016/j.epidem.2019.100377
  5. Villanueva-Cabezas JP, Coppo MJC, Durr PA, McVernon J. Vaccine efficacy against Indonesian highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1: systematic review and meta-analysis. Vaccine, 2017, 35(37):4859-69.

Research Projects

For project inquiries, contact our research group head.

Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

Child Health in Medicine

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Research Group Leader Professor Jodie McVernon

Department / Centre

Infectious Diseases

Unit / Centre

Epidemiology and Public Health

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