Research Director, Early Start

Professor Tony Okely - Research Director

Professor Tony Okely

Expertise: Physical activity; sedentary behaviour; and gross motor skills in toddlers, preschoolers and children.

Research: Observational studies that describe the prevalence and patterns of these behaviours; relationships with health, education, and other developmental outcomes; interventions; and guideline development. Current research: Interventions to promote physical activity and gross motor skills in early childhood and childhood.

Deputy Director

Professor Sue Bennett

Expertise: Information and communication technologies in education.

Research: My research investigates how people engage with technology in their everyday lives and in educational settings. My aim is to develop a more holistic understanding of people’s technology practices to inform research, practice and policy.


Professor Paul Chandler

Expertise: Cognitive load theory.

Research: Currently, our research team is focused on the phenomena of self-managed load effect, where young people can use flexible learning environments to have control over how much information they learn at a time and how they structure it pictorially.

Professor Edward Melhuish

Expertise: Expert on research and policy in the area of early childhood.

Research: Contributed to discussions of social policy for children in Norway, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Portugal, South Korea, Australia, Canada and Chile, as well as the European Commission, Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Professor Iram Siraj

Expertise: Expert in primary and early childhood education research and the impact of home learning, staff training, pedagogy, curriculum and assessment on young children’s learning and development; particularly those children and families from vulnerable backgrounds. Interested in what shapes learners’ life-course trajectories over time.

Professor Fred Paas

Expertise: Cognitive load theory; the design of effective and efficient learning environments by applying current multidisciplinary scientific knowledge about the human cognitive system.

Professor Marc de Rosnay

Dr Elisabeth Duursma

Expertise: father involvement, early language and literacy development, low-income families.

Research: Focus on how fathers are engaged in young children’s lives and the impact on their language, literacy and cognitive development.

Professor Jan Wright

Expertise: Using feminist and poststructuralist theory to critically engage issues associated with the body, health and physical activity; the body as central to subjectivity and as necessary to an understanding of the self; movement-based pedagogies and media constructions of gender and physical activity.

Research: Committed to making a difference to the ways physical and health education are conceived in curriculum and policy and how it is taught in schools.

Professor Ian Wright

Expertise: Development, physiology and care of children in health and disease; developmental origins of health and disease including cardio-metabolic programming.

Research: Understanding the physiology, markers and modifiability of cardio-metabolic programming from in utero to adolescence.

Associate Professor Lisa Kervin

Expertise: Literacy development of children; the use of technology to support student learning; teacher professional development.

Dr Mitchell Byrne

Dr Dylan Cliff

Expertise: Physical activity, sedentary behaviour and electronic media use in children: objective measurement and effects on health and development.

Dr Shirley Agostinho

Expertise: Educational technology; documenting teaching and learning practice to facilitate sharing, adaptation and reuse by teachers and designers; self-management of cognitive load.

Dr Wendy Nielsen

Expertise: Science education; conceptual change; metacognition; complexity thinking in education; environmental education; educational technology for science learning.

Dr Sarah O’Shea

Expertise: Higher education participation, access and equity.

Research: Currently examining the intergenerational educational impacts when first in family students return to education, and part of an ARC team examining the Australian; Indigenous Mentoring Experience mentoring model.

Dr Rachel Jones

Expertise: Physical activity and healthy lifestyles programs for preschool children and their families; interested in educating families about physical activity and healthy eating and thereby helping them to modify their lifestyles and improve their quality of life.

Research: Working on projects centred around physical activity and gross motor programs for preschool children from disadvantages communities; educator-led physical activity; online healthy lifestyle programs for parents of preschool children; interaction and engagement of early childhood educators in regards to physical activity.

Dr Bridget Kelly

Expertise: Public health nutrition; nutrition promotion; food environments; childhood obesity.

Research: Currently investigating the nature and impact of unhealthy food marketing on children; food labelling and impact on food choice; settings-based nutrition promotion programs, including in child care and the mining sector.

Dr Anne-Maree Parrish

Expertise: Factors influencing children and adolescents sedentary behaviour and physical activity levels.

Research: Current research focuses on promoting children’s and adolescent physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviour through environmental and psychosocial interventions in the school environment.

Associate Professor Irina Verenikina

Expertise: The application of sociocultural psychology to the study of teaching and learning; the effective pedagogical use of digital technologies for education.

Research: Currently researching the use of digital technologies to enhance young children’s imaginative play; scaffolding productive online discussion to support students’ construction of knowledge and communication competencies.

Dr Yasmine Probst

Expertise: Dietary assessment methodology and dietary modelling, with the application of nutrition informatics to its processes; food composition databases and their appropriate use in nutrition practice.

Associate Professor Stuart Johnstone

Expertise: The psychological processes of inhibition and attention, as they relate to healthy children and those who show deficits in these areas such as children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD), and the use of training techniques to improve these process and behaviour.

Associate Professor Steven Roodenrys

Expertise: Working/short-term memory; methods of improving cognitive function, including nutritional intervention and cognitive training; reading and reading development.

Dr Sarah Howard

Expertise: Technology integration in schools; teachers’ practice; technology-related change; individual and cultural risk perceptions.

Dr Amy Conley Wright

Expertise: Child maltreatment prevention; family support for parents and caregivers of young children with disabilities; social policy for children and families; child advocacy.

Associate Professor Heather Yeatman

Expertise: School kitchen gardens; food and nutrition knowledge; local food issues; food policy and professional competencies.

Last reviewed: 14 May, 2018