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Research and Innovation

Associate Professor Heidi Smith-Vaughan

Higher Degree by Research
Associate Professor Heidi Smith-Vaughan

Heidi heads Child Health Laboratory Research and is Director of HealthLAB at the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin.

Heidi’s primary research focus is improving child health in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and in the Asia-Pacific region. Her primary research translation focus is through HealthLAB, a travelling interactive health promotion unit.

Heidi is an investigator on the National Health and Medical Research Council’s industry and philanthropic-funded clinical trials of the efficacy of vaccines and antibiotics for ear and lung disease in Indigenous children.

She leads studies of antibiotic resistance in important disease-causing bacteria, and genomic analyses to study new ways to protect against and treat infections. She leads  fund research in developing a traditional medicines agribusiness in northern Australia.

In the international arena, Heidi has the role of microbiology coordinator of a pneumococcal vaccine trial in Vietnam and is involved in a growing body of work in other neighbouring countries.

She is passionate about growing the next generation of researchers and established the Menzies Youth Engagement Strategy, Gap Year traineeships, and Indigenous traineeships at Menzies. Heidi also supervises young Vietnamese scientists working on trials in Vietnam.

Heidi leads HealthLAB, a pop-up lab that travels to remote communities, allowing participants to measure their own biomedical risk factors for chronic disease and to learn about changing lifestyle behaviours for their health now, in the future, and for the next generation.

Heidi supervises PhD students in microbiology, molecular biology, and epidemiology. She is looking for PhD students to work on projects on the antimicrobial effects of traditional medicinal plants, management of antibiotic resistance, and HealthLAB.

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