Mapping the health futures

of Queensland families

woman lies on bed as doctor performs ultrasound
pregnant woman stands next to doctor
families at showgrounds

The health evolution of Queensland families will be mapped over the next three decades, to establish a link between risk factors and overall health outcomes.

The Mater-Queensland Family Cohort study will follow 10,000 families from pregnancy to adulthood, investigating the causes of disease using biological data.

Mater Research Institute-UQ (MRI-UQ) Principal Investigator Professor Vicki Clifton says the study will focus on life’s most formative years.

“This will take a snapshot of Queensland’s reproductive age population and look at how different physical and environmental influences affect the health of families in the short term and as they age,” Professor Clifton explains.

“The findings will enable us to model future health service requirements to meet the needs of our ageing, reproductive population, and demonstrate the types of paediatric services our children may need as they grow up.

“The research will also look at atmospheric pollutants and track how these environmental factors influence the health of parents and children.

“Mapping this data will show how climate change is affecting the health of Queenslanders and help inform environmental policy.

“We aim to identify how we can introduce preventative measures that influence the health of our children in a positive way.”

Preliminary research into placental genes has already predicted which babies will develop an allergy as they grow.

“Knowing these genes exist enables us to introduce simple practices, such as encouraging breastfeeding for the first 12 months of life and introducing foods that may cause allergy at an early age.

“Findings from this research will allow us to develop new diagnostic tests, predict future health outcomes and introduce ways to prevent those outcomes so families live long and healthy lives”.

The protocol is being piloting at the Mater Mothers Hospital. Families can enrol by contacting

woman in lab coat performs experiment

This story is featured in the Winter 2019 edition of UQMedicine Magazine. View the latest edition here. Or to listen, watch, or read more stories from UQ’s Faculty of Medicine, visit our blog, MayneStream.