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Facts & figures

Our research

  • 12th globally for anatomy and physiology (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022)
  • $80M in research income over past five years
  • 3,773 publications in past five years
  • 56,760 generated citations in past five years
  • 2.1 average category normalised citation impact (CNCI) in past five years
  • 162 Higher degree by research (HDR) students currently enrolled
  • 197 Higher degree by research (HDR) students graduated over past five years

Research at the School of Medical Sciences

Tackling global issues from the molecule to large population studies
We aim to improve overall human health by investigating how the human body functions, the maintenance of health and the ways we can treat and prevent disease using pharmacological treatment.

Research highlights

  • Partnership to develop 'variant-proof' COVID-19 vaccine
    Delivering safe, affordableand highly effective vaccines to combat existing and future SARS-CoV-2 variants is at the essence of a new international collaboration awarded up to US$19.3 million by The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. This research is led by Professor Jamie Triccas.

  • Meat-eating link to inflammation, worse gut health and MS
    Eating more meat and changes in the blood, immune system and gut ecology correlate with worse MS symptoms, according to a longitudinal study of 49 people that used advanced multi-OMICS to investigate complex relationships. This research involves Associate Professor Laura Piccio.

About medical sciences research

Our active researchers study the cause and treatment of diseases, with the aim of addressing the most important global issues. 

Our research takes a "bench to bedside" approach with projects that range from basic research at the molecular level, through to the application and translation of research findings in a clinical setting. 

Biomedical informatics and digital health

We're pursuing a future in which health data and information are seamlessly integrated into biomedical discovery and the continuous improvement of health and healthcare delivery. 

Our research focuses on developing, applying, implementing, and evaluating informatics tools used to support human health.

It spans applications in omics and precision medicine, applied machine learning and other computational methods applied to data from patients and people in the community, to the implementation and evaluation of digital health technologies.

We have research groups working in cyberpsychology and virtual reality, human factors research, implementation science, bioinformatics, wearables and sensors, clinical pharmacology, and applied machine learning and data science. 

We are the largest comprehensive teaching and research group of its kind in Australia.

Our researchers draw on a diverse set of multidisciplinary strengths across health, medicine, science, and engineering to produce high-quality research and translate research into changes in practice and policy. 

Our leaders

Research Groups

Project name:  Empowering Pacific adolescents to use digital technology for their health. 

Our experts

  • Professor Corinne Caillaud
  • Dr Rowena Forsyth
  • Dr Krestina Amon
  • Dr Adeola Bamgboje-Ayodele
  • Associate Professor Louisa Peralta
  • Dr Juliana Chen
  • Dr Stephanie Partridge
  • Prof essorKalina Yacef
  • Professor David Raubenheimer
  • Professor Margaret Allman-Farinelli
  • Dr Naseem Ahmadpour
  • Associate Professor Kate Owens (Environmental law)

Our collaborators

  • University of New Caledonia (Associate Professor Olivier Galy)
  • University of Auckland, Liggins Institute (Dr Jacquie Bay)
  • University of Melbourne (Dr Viliamu Iese)
  • National University in Vanuatu (Professor Pascal Michon)
  • Pacific Community (
  • Ministry of Education (Vanuatu), Mr Pierre Metsan
  • Secondary schools
  • Alira Health

Summary of project

Our research aims to empower adolescents in Australia and in the Pacific Islands to effectively use digital technologies for their health and wellbeing.

The rise of digital technologies, social media, and artificial intelligence provides opportunities to develop and deliver new interventions promoting healthy lifestyles. We are specifically interested in diets and physical activity behaviours. These are particularly relevant in the context of the obesity epidemic happening in the region. Ensuring the formation of healthy behaviours in adolescents is essential for their adult behaviours and non-communicable disease prevention. Our work also explores how digital health literacy can unlock the potential of digital technology and online health information for this population.

This research, using collaborative participation and co-design with adolescents fills the lack of research involving Pacific Island adolescents in obesity and non-communicable disease prevention.

We work in partnership with schools and communities to better understand challenges faced by young people when it comes to sustaining health lifestyles. We use research participation approaches to explore challenges and potential solutions.



RERIPA European Scheme for Pacific countries. Climate change and the futures of Coastal communities: transformation of society, livelihoods and lifestyle in the South Pacific. AU$580,000.


Addressing health and climate challenges in Australia and the Pacific region through partnerships with schools and co-design with young people. USYD SDGs grant AU$149,000.


Pacific Fund. Understanding lifestyle behaviours in the Pacific using human-centred artificial intelligence from activity sensors and nutrition digital tools. AU$92,000.


European H2020-MSCA-RISE-2019. Project lead: University of New Caledonia – Australia scientific lead: C Caillaud. Project 873185 — FALAH: Family Farming, Lifestyle and Health in the Pacific. AU$2,000,000


Cancer cells exhibit specific hallmarks that distinguish them from normal cells, including an unrestrained capacity to divide, survive and spread throughout the body. 

Our aim is to identify and describe the mechanisms that drive the development, progression and dissemination of human tumours and to exploit this information to develop new biomarkers and therapeutic strategies. 

Our researchers perform world-class research in numerous cancer-related disciplines and investigate various types of human malignancies.

We are committed to the training of the next generations of internationally competitive cancer researchers and promote multi-disciplinary networks addressing cancer-related questions both internally and externally, interacting with healthcare professionals and the broader community.

Our leaders

Chronic diseases

Chronic diseases are common, long-lasting conditions with major social and economic consequences. Over 50% of hospitalisations in Australia are due to chronic diseases and the burden on the healthcare system is significant.

The ten major chronic diseases listed by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare include arthritis, asthma, back pain, cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, mental health conditions and osteoporosis.

Improved insights into the causes and mechanisms underlying these diseases, as well as the pathological processes that progress and sustain them, are critical for the design of better preventive and therapeutic strategies including, drug treatments and implants.

We're developing a research pipeline to progress new solutions from discovery, through pre-clinical validation towards better translational outcomes. 

Our researchers possess a wide array of expertise encompassing molecular, developmental and cellular physiology, genomics, immunology, metabolomics, proteomics, bioengineering but also physical activity and nutrition.

Our leaders

We are supported by exceptional research labs and teaching spaces including the Charles Perkins Centre, Kolling Institute and Westmead.

Education and innovation

Our aim is to develop, foster and support quality evidence based-research into the education initiatives that place the School of Medical Sciences as a leader in medical science education.

We play a key role in developing and adapting innovative and effective curriculum in an ever-evolving higher education landscape.

We conduct research into ways of improving, sustaining, scaling and managing the ways in which we learn and teach. This research and refinement is essential to retain currency and underpin our reputation for educational excellence. 

We draw on our already established and productive institutional, national and international networks to provide multiple opportunities for our members, colleagues and students to learn new ways or refine existing effective practice so that it is fit for purpose.

This is an intentionally hands-on and learning-by-doing collaborative environment. Individuals or groups are supported in their learning experience by domain-specific experts in a co-design and peer-to-peer manner.

Our leaders

Integral to our objective is the Media Lab, our research hub that provides the platform for exploration, training and consolidation using existing and emerging technologies and other educational strategies. ​​​​​​​

Infection, immunity and inflammation

Our research focuses on the interplay between the host immune system and a wide range of medically important human diseases.

By understanding the mechanisms that enable the development of both infectious and non-infectious diseases, as we all as the inflammatory conditions that develop, we can provide a rational basis for the development of novel treatments, immunotherapies, vaccines and other preventative measures to lessen the impact of such diseases on the human population.  

Our research expertise lies in the study of a range of autoimmune and pathogen driven diseases and host immunological responses to these conditions especially inflammation. 

We comprise of researchers across the central, western and northern precincts. 

We bring together both basic science and clinician researchers, with the goal of generating the most comprehensive definition of key determinants that underpin these diseases. 

Our leaders

Molecular biomedicine

Our research focuses on understanding the structure, properties, and function of biomolecules, including proteins, peptides, DNA, RNA, lipids, carbohydrates, and metabolites, within the cellular environment.

A deep understanding of this molecular and cellular orchestra allows us to better understand mechanisms of disease when one or more of the players is out of tune.

We dissect molecules and cells put them back together in new ways as a powerful platform for innovating and designing new technologies, including diagnostics, cellular factories, therapeutics, chemical probes, chemical tools, and imaging agents.

Our molecular and cellular discovery-based research uncovers new disease paradigms, disease targets, and treatment approaches. 

We bring together scientists from aligned disciplines, including chemical biology, structural and synthetic biology, chemistry, biophysics, stem cell genomics and developmental biology, redox biology, bioengineering and nanomedicine, which strengthens the reach and impact of our research.

We work alongside clinical researchers to guide the value of our fundamental discoveries and knowledge gain in medicine and health.​​​​​​​

Our leaders


Neuroscience is a multidisciplinary theme whose research focus is understanding the structure and function of the nervous system and the underlying pathophysiology of neurological disorders.

Applying cellular and molecular biology, genomics, neural imaging and integrated anatomical, physiological and pharmacological approaches in both humans and animal models, we aim to understand the fundamental properties of neurons, glia, neural circuits and integrated systems.

We aim to apply both basic and clinical neuroscience research to translate or develop into novel therapies and clinical applications for nervous system disorders and to impact and improve health and well-being more broadly.

The key translational target areas are neurocognitive, neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders; movement disorders; neuroinflammatory conditions; headache, pain and spinal cord injury.

Our leaders

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