Evidence synthesis

Using rigorous evidence synthesis methods to reach solutions

Data can be chaotic and overwhelming – this team is working towards synthesising all kinds of evidence around obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and uniting key researchers to collaborate on solutions.

Our vision is to bring order and understanding to the chaos of data that is relevant to health policy decisions.

We are conducting methodological research to advance the science of evidence synthesis in different disciplines. Within the Charles Perkins Centre, we’ll offer training sessions and an ongoing arena for discussion.

More broadly, we work to foster evidence synthesis through collaboration between research teams outside of the Charles Perkins Centre who wish to use systematic review and meta-analytical methods to address a specific research question. We plan to collaborate with the Australian Cochrane Centre and Cochrane review groups through a forum that meets regularly (The Cochrane Centre is an independent organisation that strives to make the vast amounts of evidence generated through health research useful and accessible for individuals, organisations and governments around the world.)

We have two main aims:

  • to support and promote the use of rigorous evidence synthesis methods – we analyse data from various disciplines to improve understanding of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease
  • to carry out cutting-edge methodological research to advance the science of evidence synthesis.

Diverse fields including the social sciences, animal toxicology and environmental science are rapidly adopting evidence synthesis methods.

These methods are being used to assess the harms of environmental exposures by combining evidence from human, animal and mechanistic data streams. Government policy agencies (such as NHMRC, the US Environmental Protection Agency, European Environmental Agency) now require systematic reviews to decide whether exposure to hazards should be regulated.

Our team is addressing the methodological challenges that occur when systematic review methods are applied to different data streams and types of data.

We have launched a series of activities around conducting systematic reviews of animal research and improving transparency and reproducibility in animal research. Our funding has allowed us to:

  • Host visitors from SYstematic Review Center for Laboratory animal Experimentation (SYRCLE).  They conducted a series of seminars and workshops in 2018; 
  • Deliver a workshop on ‘Best Practice in Animal Research’  to support HDR students involved in animal experimentation, to enhance robust research outcomes and publication success.(postponed due to COVID19)

Node members are part of Cochrane COVID-19 taskforce and have contributed to a variety of products, including rapid reviews, living systematic reviews, speical collections and developing registries of studies.

Internal collaborators

External collaborators

  • Dr Emily Atkins, George Institute
  • Dr Jo-An Atkinson, Sax Institute
  • Dr Sue Brennan, Cochrane Centre
  • Dr Thomas Debray, University of Utrecht
  • Dr David Dorman, North Carolina State University
  • Associate Professor Adam Dunn, Macquarie University
  • Dr Kylie Easton, NPS MedicineWise
  • Dr Julian Elliott, Australasian Cochrane Centre
  • Louise Freebairn, ACT Health (and PhD student via Sax Institute)
  • Professor Sally Green, Australasian Cochrane Centre
  • Professor David Howells, University of Tasmania
  • Carole Lunny, Monash University
  • Professor Malcolm Macleod, University of Edinburgh
  • Steve McDonald, Australasian Cochrane Centre
  • Dr Joanne McKenzie, Australasian Cochrane Centre
  • Robyn Mildon, Save the Children
  • Carl Moons, University of Utrecht
  • Professor Merel Ritskes-Hoitinga, Radboud University
  • Professor Lucie Rychetnik, Sax Institute
  • Aron Shlonsky, University of Melbourne
  • Ida Sim, University of California - San Francisco
  • Dr Kris Thayer, NIEHS, NIH
  • Dr Guy Tsafnat, Macquarie University
  • Jo Watson, Consumers Health Forum
  • Dr Melina Willson, Australasian Cochrane Centre
  • Associate Professor Luke Wolfenden, The University of Newcastle
  • Professor Tracey Woodruff, University of California, San Francisco
  • Dr Jim Wright, University of British Columbia


  • Biology


Project Node Leader

Professor Barbara Mintzes
Visit Barbara Mintzes' Profile

Project Node Leader

Dr Lisa Parker
Dr Lisa Parker
Lisa is a postdoctoral research fellow in the School of Pharmacy based at the Charles Perkins Centre.
Visit Lisa Parker's profile