RiOAR Research Projects


Research Projects

Research Highlights

The Team




ED Cough Study

Chronic respiratory disease amongst children presenting to a tertiary paediatric emergency department with acute respiratory illness.

Chief Investigators: Dr Kerry-Ann O’Grady, Professor Anne Chang,  Dr Jason Acworth, Dr Natalie Phillips, Dr Julie Marchant, A/Prof Theo Sloots

Funding source: QCMRI Program Grant

Cough in children is one of the most common reasons for presentation to doctors both in Australia and overseas, with the leading cause being acute respiratory infections, such as the common cold or pneumonia.  Chronic cough, a cough lasting longer than four weeks, can be an early sign of more serious lung problems, and hence the early diagnosis and treatment of chronic cough is imperative in preventing lung damage and progression to chronic lung disease. This project aims to identify how many children develop a chronic cough after acute respiratory infection, what the risk factors are and what viruses and bacteria may play a role in its development. This information will not only assist health professionals to work out better ways to diagnose and treat chronic cough early but through doing so may also aid in the prevention of chronic lung disease in children. 


CHiRRP: Combating Haemophilus influenzae related respiratory pathology

Chief Investigators: Dr Kerry-Ann O’Grady, Prof Keith Grimwood, Prof Anne Chang, Prof Allan Cripps, Dr Nicholas Wood

Funding sourceNHMRC (APP1019904)

Non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) is the one of the most common types of bacteria found in the lungs of children with suppurative lung disease.  These children can experience multiple bacterial infections requiring antibiotics and frequent hospitalisations. Recurring infections can cause long term problems for these children as their lungs scar more with each exacerbation.

CHiRRP is a multi-centre double blind randomised controlled trial that aims to determine the efficacy of the 10valent pneumococcal-Protein D conjugate vaccine in preventing respiratory exacerbations in children aged 18 months to less than 6 years with chronic suppurative lung diseases. Study sites include Brisbane, Sydney, Perth and the Northern Territory and will be conducted between 2012 and 2015


FluMum: influenza vaccine in pregnancy and the benefits to infants

Chief Investigators: Prof Ross Andrews, Dr Kerry-Ann O’Grady, Prof Terry Nolan,A/Prof Stephen Lambert, A/Prof Helen Marshall, Prof Peter Richmond, Dr Nicholas Wood, Mr Mark Chatfield.

Funding source: NHMRC (APP1020035)

FluMum is a national cohort study that aims to investigate how many women are receiving the influenza vaccine in pregnancy and whether maternal influenza vaccination may prevent influenza infection in their babies up to 6 months of age. The study is being conducted in Brisbane, Sydney,Darwin, Melbourne and Perth and aims to enrol approximately 10,000 women between 2012 and 2015. Each site will recruit 421 mothers and their newborn babies throughout the influenza season each year. The study involves a questionnaire around the time of delivery and a follow-up telephone contact when the baby turns 6 months of age.

Participating sites in Brisbane include the Northwest Private Hospital, Sunnybank Private Hospital, Mater Mothers South Brisbane, The Royal Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Redlands Hospital and Mater Redlands


LSIMKids: Lung Sickness in Murri Kids: What’s the Story

Chief Investigators: Dr Kerry-Ann O’Grady, Prof Anne Chang , Dr Michael Otim, A/Prof Theo Sloots, Ms Kerry Hall, Ms Anna Bell, A/Prof Peter Newcombe, Dr Noritta Morseu-Diop, Dr Janet Hammill

Funding sources: Queensland Government Smart Futures Fellowship; QCMRI Project Grant; University of Queensland Foundation Research Excellence Award; QCMRI Clinical PhD Scholarship (Anna Bell)

Respiratory infections (RI) are major causes of morbidity and mortality in Australian Indigenous children and have significant social,cultural and economic impacts on individuals, their families and communities and health service providers. To date, however, the focus on RI has been almost entirely on children living in rural and remote regions of Australia, with no community based data on disease and its social, cultural and economic impacts in urban Indigenous children. This is despite socio-economic and health indices being consistently lower for urban Indigenous communities than non-Indigenous urban populations.

LSIMKids is a 3 year prospective cohort study that aims to comprehensively examine the causes, risk factors,socio-economic impacts and health outcomes of respiratory illnesses in urban Indigenous children in Queensland.  An important focus of the research is exploring Indigenous concepts of risk for respiratory illnesses and the impact of these illnesses on families and communities from an Indigenous perspective.


AKAPRI: Aboriginal Knowledge, Attitudes and Perceptions of Respiratory Illness

Chief Investigators: Ms Linda Medlin, Prof Anne Chang, Dr Maree Toombs, Dr Alex Brown, Dr Kerry-Ann O’Grady

Funding source: Queensland Health Statewide Respiratory Clinical Network (COAG Close The Gap Funding)

Queensland’s burden of chronic lung disease in the Aboriginal population is substantially higher than non-Indigenous Queenslanders across all age groups and regions of the state, however there is substantial lack of services, programs, resources and research to address the issue that are culturally appropriate and incorporate Indigenous perspectives.  In July 2011, Queensland Health commenced the Indigenous Respiratory Outreach Care (IROC) program, an initiative of the Statewide Respiratory Clinical Network. IROC aims to (1) increase access to specialised respiratory services for Aboriginal rural and remote Queensland communities, (2) raise awareness of respiratory illnesses, signs and symptoms and (3) enhance community capacity in respiratory diseases

The aims of AKAPRI are to:

  • obtain an Aboriginal perspective on respiratory illnesses, health services and programs; and,
  • evaluate whether the IROC initiative is achieving its goals of increasing community awareness of respiratory disease. 

 Through evaluating the delivery of IROC to rural and remote Aboriginal Queensland communities it is envisaged that it will increase the knowledge, attitudes and perception of respiratory illnesses in individuals and communities thereby, defining ‘what is respiratory health to Aboriginal people thus improving respiratory health services, resources and respiratory health outcomes.


Cervical Auscultation Study

Chief Investigators: Ms Thuy Frakking, Ms Kelly Weir, Dr Kerry-Ann O’Grady, Prof Anne Chang

Funding: QCMRI Clinical PhD Scholarship (Thuy Frakking); Speech Pathology Australia Research Grant

Recurrent oropharyngeal aspiration (OPA),defined as entry of exogenous material into the airway below the level of the true vocal cords, causes substantial pulmonary morbidity in children. The modified barium swallow (MBS) study, which involves radiation exposure, is the current gold standard in the diagnosis of OPA. Cervical auscultation (CA)combined with a clinical feeding examination (CFE), can potentially reduce the need for MBS to diagnose OPA in children.

The aim of this research is to determine the utility of CA in the assessment and diagnosis of OPA in children.The project involves a prospective cross sectional study of healthy children with normal swallowing and a randomised controlled study of 216children aged 0 to 18 years referred for evaluation of swallowing difficulties.

Perceptual and objective acoustic swallowing sounds in healthy children and children with oropharyngeal dysphagia will be established on a range of texture consistencies and fluids. Perceptual swallowing sound features may be linked with objective acoustic features to 1) better define clinical impressions of swallowing sounds heard by clinicians using CA 2) guide assessment of OPA.