Mater Research launches QLD Family Cohort Study

Tuesday 21 January 2020

Mater Research and Mater Mother’s Hospital are holding the second round of the Queensland Family Cohort Study and are looking for expectant parents to participate.

The project, which is a pilot for a much larger scale study, will help collect a biobank of information and biological samples for Queensland that will help investigate causes of disease to establish links between risk factors and healthcare outcomes.

Mater Research Professor Vicki Clifton is leading the pilot study in readiness for the larger study and said the information collected will be invaluable.

“So far a large number of families have been inducted to the pilot study by our research midwives who are contacted after their antenatal visit to Mater Mothers’ Hospitals. Researchers then assessed the health of both mother and father,” Prof Clifton said.

“The study is tracking the health outcomes from pregnancy until six weeks after birth; and will follow the health and social experiences of the babies and their parents into the future.

“The experience is non-invasive and the data will be used by top Australian researchers in their field of investigation potentially leading to medical breakthroughs.”

Andy Smith participated in the study while his wife Lotta was pregnant with their first child.

“I found the experience really positive, we were able to help gather information
for one of the largest medical studies conducted by the Mater,” Andy said.

“One of the biggest benefits we found were the multiple extra ultrasound scans. Being first time parents, it was great to be able to have the extra peace of mind that everything was going ok as opposed to the two standard scans we would have otherwise received had we not taken part in the study.

“We dealt with a couple of lovely midwives during the study, one particular, Claire followed us in the lead up to, and then after the birth of our Daughter Mia whilst providing a familiar face at the hospital as neither me nor my wife have family here in Brisbane.

“As a father, you can sometimes feel a little helpless during the pregnancy period so it was a great opportunity for me to be able to take part and assist my wife, the Mater, and also find out a little more about pregnancy along the way.”

The pilot study includes antenatal visits at 24, 28, and 36 weeks of gestation and a 6 week postpartum follow up, as well as biological samples during each visit and at the time of delivery.

Professor Clifton said the study will provide a blueprint for researchers in developing the much larger Queensland Family Cohort study, while also supporting a wide range of research.

“More than 150 researchers will be accessing the information captured as part of the trial for research into allergies, obesity and melanoma, to name a few,” she said.

The Queensland Family Cohort study will aim to answer a range of research questions including:

List of bullet points of recent substudy questions. For example:

•              What contributes to allergies during pregnancy and childhood in Queensland children?

•              Is pregnancy associated with the development of chronic back pain after birth?

•              Why do cancerous melanomas develop at a higher rate in pregnant women?

•              Does the risk of ovarian cancer in Queensland women increase with pregnancy?

•              Can scan data of the fetus identify future cardiovascular disease risk?

•              What genetics factors contribute to kidney disease and kidney disease risk?

•              Medication usage through pregnancy and its impact on pregnancy outcomes

•              Genetic factors that contribute to obesity in childhood

•              Link between genetics and pregnancy complications

The Pilot study of 200 participants will test the feasibility of expanding the family cohort to reach the goal of having 10,000 participants at the Mater Mothers’ Hospital and across Queensland.

To register your interest or to find out more information please contact,



Phone: 07 3163 2571
SMS: 0439 945 068