Translating research to public health prevention

Meet Professor Anne-Louise Ponsonby – Public health physician, Epidemiology research pioneer and Head of The Florey’s Developing Brain research division. Renowned for her expertise in molecular epidemiology, she is on a mission to better prevent chronic disease and mental health disorders.

Professor Ponsonby’s research tackles population-scale questions by investigating and building evidence on disease-contributing factors and understanding how they interplay in different diseases. This field of research, known as epidemiology, means her skills can combine with other research fields to investigate brain disorders and healthy development of brain structure and function.

Her work so far has contributed to the way that researchers and health practitioners understand, treat and prevent conditions in many disease areas. It has informed Australian and international public health policies and preventative guidelines bringing benefits to people across the globe.

She is currently investigating key issues including possible adverse impacts of modern chemical exposure on brain development, child disorders such as autism, and how environments can contribute to multiple sclerosis onset and progression. Her goal is to not only generate new evidence in these disease areas but also contribute to better preventative activities at individual and population levels.

Professor Ponsonby demonstrates the power that epidemiological studies bring to understanding disease and converting research knowledge to primary disease prevention. In her investigations, Professor Ponsonby looks into the combined effects of environmental factors, underlying molecular pathways, genetics and the effectiveness of preventative interventions. Her approach transforms research into health outcomes.

Professor Ponsonby has helped transform research into health outcomes through the following guidelines: