Meet The Team

The CATS team is based at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, in the Population Health Studies of Adolescents group, at the Royal Children's Hospital. The team is led by Professor Susan Sawyer.

To get in touch with one of our team members, please send an email to [email protected] or call (03) 9936 6272. We'd love to hear from you!

Are you a student looking for a project or supervision? Prof Sawyer is available for student supervision and can be contacted directly.

Professor George Patton AO MBBS MD FRANZCP was the founder and chief investigator of the Child to Adult Transition Study (CATS) until his untimely death in late 2022. Please see his obituary under his MCRI Profile link. George was a medically qualified epidemiologist with a clinical background in child and adolescent psychiatry, who in addition to establishing CATS, also established the Victorian Adolescent Health Cohort Study and the ground-breaking Victorian Intergenerational Health Cohort Study. George was a national and global leader in adolescent health with extensive engagement with the various UN agencies, particularly the World Health Organisation (WHO). Together with Professor Sawyer, he coordinated two special series on adolescent health for the Lancet, chaired the 2016 Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing and convened the commissioners for the 2nd Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health (to be published in 2024).

Professor Susan Sawyer AM MBBS MD FRACP is the Director of the Centre for Adolescent at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI) and Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH), Australia and holds the Geoff and Helen Handbury Chair of Adolescent Health within the Department of Paediatrics at The University of Melbourne. Her clinical, research, education and advocacy efforts have helped shape the field of adolescent health and medicine in Australia, in the Asia Pacific region, and globally. Susan has been involved in CATS since its inception, having been a chief investigator on each of the three NHMRC grants that have funded CATS since 2011. Together with Professor George Patton, Susan coordinated two special series on adolescent health for the Lancet, co-chaired the 2016 Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing and is part of the executive team for the 2nd Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health (to be published in 2024).

  • Carolina Murphy
  • CATS Manager

Carolina manages both the Child to Adult Transition Study (CATS) and the Victorian Adolescent and Intergenerational Health Cohort Study (VAHCS & VIHCS). She has a Masters in Educational Psychology, a PhD in Psychology and a decade’s experience of working with the Centre for Adolescent Health’s longitudinal studies.

  • Nandi Vijayakumar
  • Senior Research Officer

Nandi completed her PhD in developmental psychology at the University of Melbourne. Her research program uses longitudinal methods to improve our understanding of endocrine and neurobiological risk processes for adolescent-onset mental health problems. She is also interested in the moderating role of environmental factors such as parent and peer relationships, early life adversity and socioeconomic status. Nandi joined the CATS team as a senior research officer, and works jointly across MCRI and the School of Psychology, Deakin University.

  • Ellie May Robson
  • Research Officer

Ellie completed a PhD in life-course epidemiology at Loughborough University, UK. Her PhD focused on early life adversity (both psychosocial adversity and socioeconomic deprivation), weight histories, and later weight and cardiometabolic health profiles. Ellie joined the CATS team in July 2022 to fulfil a post-doctoral role as a research officer. Ellie’s role includes working within the publication team of the CATS study. She plays a key role in engaging and collaborating with study investigators, coordinating analyses, and leading publications.

  • Ghazaleh Dashti
  • Senior Research Officer (Biostatistician)

Ghazaleh (PhD, DDS, MPH) is a biostatistician and epidemiologist within the Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Unit at MCRI. Her primary research interests are developing and using methods to improve causal inference from longitudinal observational studies. She works across a range of health areas, including mental health, adolescent health, and cancer. She joined the CATS team in 2020, working closely with the core team and the collaborators. Her role is to provide high-level expertise in epidemiological and statistical methods to researchers who are interested in using the unique CATS data.

  • Hanafi Mohamad Husin
  • Data Analyst

Hanafi is a recent Masters of Biostatistics graduate from The University of Melbourne. He is particularly interested in analysing longitudinal data in the health and biomedical field. He has joined the CATS team to assist with data analysis for government reports.

  • Lilli Nonneman
  • Tracing Coordinator

Lilli has a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Psychology from the University of Melbourne. She is interested in the social and emotional development of young people as they transition into adulthood and beyond. Lilli began working at MCRI in 2016 and has worked on several projects, before joining the CATS study in 2022 to coordinate participant tracing and reengagement.

  • Louise Canterford
  • Data Analyst

Louise has completed a Master of Biostatistics - she really enjoys working with numbers! Having worked at Murdoch Children's for the past 10 years, she has a lot of experience analysing longitudinal data. She is excited to help senior investigators discover more about puberty and the transition from childhood to adolescence.

  • Janine Griffiths
  • Project Assistant

Janine is a recent graduate from the University of Melbourne after completing her Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Psychology. Based on previous work roles, she enjoys working with young people to better understand how early life experiences shape development. She has newly joined the CATS team to take on a lead role in data collection.

Investigators & Reference Group

Investigators remove

A number of experts in child and adolescent health help to inform the study.

Dr Lisa MundyMurdoch Children's Research Institute
A/Prof Margarita Moreno-BetancurMurdoch Children's Research Institute
Prof Louisa DegenhardtUniversity of New South Wales
Prof Victoria PalmerUniversity of Melbourne
Prof Lena SanciUniversity of Melbourne
Dr Patricia CullenUniversity of New South Wales
Prof Craig OlssonMurdoch Children's Research Institute and Deakin University
Prof Nicola ReavleyMurdoch Children's Research Institute
Prof Sarah WhittleUniversity of Melbourne
Dr Monika RanitiMurdoch Children's Research Institute
Prof Anthony CaponMonash University
Dr Aaron JenkinsUniversity of Sydney and Edith Cowan University
Dr Rohan BorschmannMurdoch Children's Research Institute and the University of Melbourne
Prof Russell VinerUniversity College London, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, UK
Prof Timothy OldsUniversity of South Australia
Dr Holly ErskineMurdoch Children's Research Institute

Reference Group remove

The Reference Group was set up in 2012. It is made up of community members such as teachers and principals, as well as representatives from the research and education sectors. The purpose is to discuss and refine study procedures, and assist with the translation of study outcomes.

Prof John HattieMelbourne Graduate School of Education, MGSE
Kris Arcaro Victorian Department of Education and Training, DET
Cathy Henbest Catholic Education Melbourne, CEM
Janice Boarder Independent Schools Victoria, ISV
Sally Karlovic Principal at North Melbourne Primary School
Don Kirk Teacher at Caulfield Junior College
Dr Sara Glover Mitchell Institute
Jim Rimmer VicHealth
Andrea Krelle Centre for Adolescent Health, CAH