Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Unit (CEBU)

Research Overview

The Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Unit (CEBU) specialises in biostatistics, epidemiological methods and data management. The group is supported by the Murdoch Children's Research Institute and the University of Melbourne Department of Paediatrics, to provide expertise and support in these areas to all researchers on The Royal Children's Hospital (Melbourne Children's) campus. The group collaborates with a wide range of clinical and biomedical investigators and also conducts methodological research to develop and strengthen the biostatistical methods underpinning modern health research.

The unit’s work is fundamentally important across many clinical and health problems, because almost all modern research involving patients and children relies heavily on statistical methods in order to design high-quality studies and to interpret the resulting data appropriately. The Melbourne Children's has developed a national profile in this area and CEBU is widely regarded as a leading example of how internationally-respected biostatistical expertise can be developed and integrated into major health research programs. The group’s work on the method of multiple imputation for managing missing data problems has attracted international recognition, and it has a growing reputation in methods for causal inference. The team’s work contributes to the improvement of clinical care for children by providing research evidence and increasing the understanding of disease causes, and potential prevention pathways, from epidemiological studies.

CEBU offers a number of highly regarded short courses in research methods, biostatistics and data management


  • Associate Professor Margarita Moreno-Betancur (Co-Group Leader)
  • Professor Katherine Lee (Co-Group Leader)
  • Professor John Carlin (Senior Principal Research Fellow)
  • Associate Professor Susan Donath (Principal Research Fellow)
  • Luke Stevens (Research Data Systems Manager)
  • Dr Anneke Grobler (Senior Research Fellow)
  • Dr Cattram Nguyen (Senior Research Fellow)
  • Francesca Orsini (Senior Research Fellow)
  • Dr Ghazaleh Dashti (SRO)
  • Dr Monsurul Hoq (SRO)
  • Dr Robert Mahar (SRO)
  • Dr Rheanna Mainzer (SRO)
  • Dr Cecilia Moore (SRO)
  • Dr Rachel Schembri (SRO)
  • Suzanna Vidmar (SRO)
  • Diana Zannino (SRO)
  • Kate Francis (SRO)
  • Dr Tong Chen (RO)
  • Dr Marnie Downes (RO)
  • Dr Kaushala Jayawardana  (RO)
  • Dr Daisy Shepherd (RO)
  • Dr Rushani Wijesuriya (RO)
  • Chris Selman (RA)
  • Xiaofang Wang (RA)
  • Susan Ellul (PhD student)
  • Melissa Middleton (PhD student)
  • Jiaxin Zhang (PhD Student)
  • Ross Dunn (Data Manager)
  • Sri Joshi (Database Manager)
  • Peter Xiberras (Data Manager)
  • Nessie Mupfeki (Data Management Specialist)
  • Julie Perkins (Business Manager)
  • Fiona Snashall (Administrative Officer)


Research Opportunities

This research project is available to Honours students to join as part of their thesis.
Please contact the Research Group Leader to discuss your options.

Research Publications

  • Latouche A, Andersen PK, Rey G, Moreno-Betancur M. A note on the measurement of socioeconomic inequalities in life years lost by cause of death. Epidemiology 2019; 30(4):569-572.
  • Bines JE, Thobari JA, Satria CD, Handley A, Watts E, Cowley D, Hera N, Ackland J, Standish J, Justice F, Byars G, Lee KJ, Barnes GL, Bachtair NS, Icanervilia AV, Boniface K, Bogdandovic-Sakran N, Pavlic D, Bishop RF, Kirkwood CD, Buttery JP and Soenarto Y. Human Neonatal Rotavirus Vaccine (RV3-BB) targets rotavirus from birth. N Engl J Med 2018; 378:719-730.
  • Moreno-Betancur M, Carlin JB. Understanding interventional effects: a more natural approach to mediation analysis? Epidemiology 2018; 29(5): 614-617.
  • Downes M, Gurrin L, English D, Pirkis J, Spittal M, Carlin JB. Multilevel regression and poststratification: a modelling approach to estimating population quantities from highly selected survey samples. Am J Epidemiol, 2018; 187(8), 1780–1790.
  • Moreno-Betancur M, Koplin J, Ponsonby A-L, Lynch J, Carlin JB. Measuring the impact of differences in risk factor distributions on cross-population differences in disease occurrence: a causal approach. Int J Epidemiol, 2018; 47(1):217-225.
  • Mahar RK, Carlin JB, Ranganathan S, Ponsonby A-L, Vuillermin P, Vukcevic D. Bayesian modelling of lung function data from multiple-breath washout tests. Statistics in Medicine, 2018 May 30;37(12):2016-2033.
  • Moreno-Betancur M, Lee KL, Leacy FP, White IR, Simpson JA, Carlin JB. Canonical causal diagrams to guide the treatment of missing data in epidemiological studies. American Journal of Epidemiology 2018; 187(12):2705-2715.
  • Moreno-Betancur M, Carlin JB, Brilleman SL, Tanamas SK, Peeters A, Wolfe R. Survival analysis with time-dependent covariates subject to missing data or measurement error: Multiple Imputation for Joint Modeling (MIJM). Biostatistics 2018; 19(4):479-496.
  • Nguyen CD, Carlin JB, Lee KJ. Model checking in multiple imputation: an overview and case study. Emerging Themes in Epidemiology. 2017; 14:8. doi: 10.1186/s12982-017-0062-6.
  • Lee KJ and Carlin JB. Multiple imputation in the presence of non-normal data. Statistics in Medicine, 2017; 36:606-617.
  • Moreno-Betancur M, Sadaoui H, Piffaretti C, Rey G. Survival analysis with multiple causes of death: Extending the competing risks model. Epidemiology 2017; 28(1); 12-19.
  • Sullivan TR, White IR, Salter AB, Ryan P and Lee KJ. Should multiple imputation be the method of choice for handling missing data in randomized trials?Statistical Methods in Medical Research 2016;
  • Greenland S, Senn SJ, Rothman KJ, Carlin JB, Poole C, Goodman SN, Altman DG. Statistical tests, P values, confidence intervals, and power: a guide to misinterpretations. Eur J Epidemiol. 2016; 31:337–350.
  • McNab S, Duke T, South M, Babl F, Lee KJ, Arnup S, Young S, Turner H, and Davidson A. A randomised controlled trial of a solution containing 140mmol/L of sodium compared to a solution containing 77mmol/L of sodium for maintenance intravenous fluid therapy in hospitalised children: The PIMS (Paediatric Intravenous Maintenance Solution) study. Lancet. 2015; 385 (9974): 1190–1197.
  • Patton GC, Coffey C, Romaniuk H, Mackinnon A, Carlin JB, Degenhardt L, Olsson C, Moran P. The prognosis of common mental disorders in adolescents: a 14-year prospective cohort study.  Lancet. 2014; 383:1404-1411.
  • Gelman A, Carlin JB.  Beyond power calculations: Assessing type S (sign) and type M (magnitude) errors. Psychological Science.  2014; 9:641.651.
  • Babl FE, Borland ML, Phillips N, Kochar A, Dalton S, McCaskill M, Cheek JA, Gilhotra Y, Furyk J, Neutze J, Lyttle MD, Bressan S, Donath S, Molesworth C, Jachno K, Ward B, Williams A, Baylis A, Crowe L, Oakley E, Dalziel SR. Accuracy of Pecarn, Catch, and Chalice head injury decision rules in children: a prospective cohort study. Lancet. 2017;389(10087):2393-402.
  • Dalziel SR, Borland ML, Furyk J, Bonisch M, Neutze J, Donath S, Francis KL, Sharpe C, Harvey AS, Davidson A, Craig S, Phillips N, George S, Rao A, Cheng N, Zhang M, Kochar A, Brabyn C, Oakley E, Babl FE. Levetiracetam versus phenytoin for second-line treatment of convulsive status epilepticus in children (ConSEPT): an open-label, multicentre, randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2019;393(10186):2135-45.
  • Donath S. baselinetable: A command for creating one- and two-way tables of summary statistics. Stata Journal. 2018;18(2):327-44.
  • Engelman D, Kado JH, Remenyi B, Colquhoun SM, Carapetis JR, Donath S, Wilson NJ, Steer AC. Focused cardiac ultrasound screening for rheumatic heart disease by briefly trained health workers: a study of diagnostic accuracy. Lancet. 2016;4(6):E386-E94.
  • Forster DA, Moorhead AM, Jacobs SE, Davis PG, Walker SP, McEgan KM, Opie GF, Donath SM, Gold L, McNamara C, Aylward A, East C, Ford R, Amir LH. Advising women with diabetes in pregnancy to express breastmilk in late pregnancy (Diabetes and Antenatal Milk Expressing [DAME]): a multicentre, unblinded, randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2017;389(10085):2204-13.
  • Hsiao KC, Ponsonby AL, Axelrad C, Pitkin S, Tang MLK. Long-term clinical and immunological effects of probiotic and peanut oral immunotherapy after treatment cessation: 4-year follow-up of a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet. 2017;1(2):97-105.
  • Kaufman J, Fitzpatrick P, Tosif S, Hopper SM, Donath SM, Bryant PA, Babl FE. Faster clean catch urine collection (Quick-Wee method) from infants: randomised controlled trial. British Medical Journal. 2017;357(ARTN j1341).
  • Manley BJ, Owen LS, Doyle LW, Andersen CC, Cartwright DW, Pritchard MA, Donath SM, Davis PG. High-Flow Nasal Cannulae in Very Preterm Infants after Extubation. New England Journal Of Medicine. 2013;369(15):1425-33.
  • Muggli E, Matthews H, Penington A, Claes P, O'Leary C, Forster D, Donath S, Anderson PJ, Lewis S, Nagle C, Craig J, White SM, Elliott EJ, Halliday J. Association Between Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and Craniofacial Shape of Children at 12 Months of Age. Jama Pediatrics. 2017;171(8):771-80.
  • Roberts CT, Owen LS, Manley BJ, Froisland DH, Donath SM, Dalziel KM, Pritchard MA, Cartwright DW, Collins CL, Malhotra A, Davis PG, Investigators Hipstert. Nasal High-Flow Therapy for Primary Respiratory Support in Preterm Infants. New England Journal Of Medicine. 2016;375(12):1142-51.
  • Tang MLK, Hsiao KC, Ponsonby AL, Donath S, Orsini F, Axelrad C, Pitkin S. Probiotics and oral immunotherapy for peanut allergy reply. Lancet. 2017;1(3):E1-E2.

Research Projects

This Research Group doesn't currently have any projects

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Research Co-Group Leader Associate Professor Margarita Moreno-Betancur

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