Associate Professor David Harley

Deputy Director

Queensland Centre for Intellectual and Developmental Disability
Faculty of Medicine
d.harley@uq.edu.au
+61 7 3163 1587

Overview

Introduction

I am a clinician researcher and Deputy Director and Research Director of The Queensland Centre for Intellectual and Developmental Disability (QCIDD). Before commencing in my current role I held academic positions at The Australian National University (2008-16) and The University of Queensland (2002-7). I have practiced medicine for over two decades in Far North Queensland, Brisbane, and Canberra.

I am a general practitioner and public health physician. I commenced my clinical career in Far North Queensland in the early 1990s. I gained experience in Indigenous health, remote health, obstetrics and other areas of medicine. I also completed my specialist training in Public Health Medicine in Cairns in the early 2000s. From 2002 to 2008 I combined clinical work in adult developmental disability medicine at QCIDD with general practice and travel medicine. While working as an academic at the Australian National University (ANU) I continued part-time with Interchange General Practice, a clinic specialising in the health of people who use drugs, refugee health, and blood-borne viruses, among other areas (http://www.igp.net.au/). I will continue in general practice one day per week while with QCIDD.

I've maintained a strong interest in the biological world since my first degree in zoology and via study of vector associations of Ross River virus during my PhD. The biological factors involved in the transmission of arboviruses has remained a particular interest, especially for Ross River virus and dengue. In the case of the former I have published a highly cited review detailing vector associations and reservoir hosts (Harley, Sleigh and Ritchie, Clinical Microbiology Reviews, 2001) and original research on vector associations in Far North Queensland (Harley et al., American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2001). More recently I have published on rainfall cut-points for outbreak prediction in the Northern Territory (Jacups et al., Journal of Medical Entomology, 2011), and modelling incorporating vegetation and macropod populations (Ng et al., Vector-borne and zoonotic diseases, 2014). I have published modelled projections for populations of Aedes aegypti, the vector of dengue, with climate change (Williams et al., Parasites and Vectors, 2014).

Qualifications

I hold general and specialist registration as a medical practitioner. I am a Fellow of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine (Royal Australasian College of Physicians) and the Australian College of Tropical Medicine.

I have a PhD in Tropical Health from the University of Queensland and a Master of Medical Science in Clinical Epidemiology from The University of Newcastle. I also have a first class honours degree in zoology from the University of Queensland.

Supervision

I commenced at the University of Queensland on 23 January 2017. Already I have joined the supervisory panel for a PhD student researching autism in Vietnam.

In my time working at The Australian National University (2008-2016) five honours students completed projects under my supervision. All obtained first class degrees. My first student, Melanie Bannister-Tyrrell was awarded a university medal, published her honours research (Bannister-Tyrrell et al., American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2013), and is now a Trans Global Health PhD candidate, supported via an Erasmus-Mundus PhD fellowship. Her research is on the micro-epidemiology of malaria in South East Asia. Other students completed projects on tuberculosis management in the Torres Strait (Ellen Hart), tuberculosis diagnosis in Thailand (Eileen Baker), hypertension among Thai caregivers (Laura Saville), and mapping of renal disease risk in South Australia (Scott Pearce).

Seven PhD students completed under my supervision during my tenure at ANU. I gained an ANU top supervisor award for my supervision of Yanni Sun's PhD project on tuberculosis in Henan province, China. Dr Sun has now gone on to a role as Technical Officer of the World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in People's Republic of China, specialising in tuberculosis control. My other PhD students have completed projects on climate change and health in the Pacific (Lachlan McIver), visceral leishmaniasis in Bangladesh (Kazi Rahman), modelling Ross River virus transmission in New South Wales (Vicky Ng), tuberculosis in the Pacific (Kerri Viney), the economic impacts of disability in Vietnam (Michael Palmer), and screening for drug and alcohol use in Indigenous community controlled health organisations (Ray Lovett). Lachlan McIver has gone on to a position as Medical Advisor for Infectious Diseases, Epidemic Response and Antimicrobial Resistance at MSF's International Office in Geneva, Kazi Rahman is an academic with Griffith University School of Medicine, Vicky Ng is now with the University of Guelph, Department of Population Medicine, Public Health Agency of Canada, Kerri Viney is currently seconded to WHO in Manilla, and Michael Palmer is an academic with Melbourne School of Population and Global Health. Ray Lovett is a research fellow with the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at The Australian National University. In 2013 he won the ANU student of the year alumnus award.

Sifat Sharmin submitted her PhD thesis on dengue and climate in Bangladesh in 2016. I remain on supervisory panels for ANU students examining motor vehicle trauma in Vietnam (Tam Tran), child health, particularly fetal alcohol spectrum disorder in the Fitzroy Valley of the Kimberly in WA (Pip Dossetor), and benchmarking of ACT and NSW neonatal intensive care units (Professor Abdel-Latif Mohamed). I am chair and principal supervisor for Professor Mohamed's PhD project. I also continue as supervisor for a Master of Philosophy (Applied Epidemiology) candidate, Alexandra Marmor. I supervise (Lachlan McIver) and mentor (Belinda Jones) FAFPHM registrars.

Research

I was chief investigator on two NHMRC project grants worth over $2 million while with the ANU. I was CIA for one of these grants, to research weather and dengue virus epidemiology in Far North Queensland. The second grant funded the Thai Health-Risk transition project, a longitudinal study of the health of Thai people living throughout the country. Both projects have produced important publications in my areas of interest including dengue and climate (e.g. Williams et al., Epidemiology and Infection, 2016; Viennet et al., Parasites and Vectors, 2014), disability and health (Yiengprugsawan et al., Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health, 2010), and the health of carers (Yiengprugsawan et al., BMC Public Health, 2012). Fruitful collaborations have arisen from both grants including co-supervision of my PhD student Sifat Sharmin with my NHMRC-funded post-doctoral researcher Elvina Viennet and honours student projects related to the Thai study (Eileen Baker and Laura Saville). Before commencing at ANU I gained research funding from The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Rotary, The University of Queensland, and James Cook University.

Major themes in my research are infectious diseases epidemiology, environment and health, and the health of disabled people.

In the first of these I have focussed on arboviruses, particularly Ross River and dengue viruses, but have also published on Chikungunya, Zika, Adenovirus, tuberculosis, and invasive meningococcal disease. Since the publication of my highly cited and wide ranging review on the first of these (Harley, Sleigh and Ritchie, Clinical Microbiology Reviews, 2001; 276 citations, Google Scholar, 31/1/2017) I have remained an authority on this virus. I am first author on the chapter on Ross River virus in the authoritative textbook Hunter's Tropical Medicine and Emerging Infectious Diseases (Harley and Suhrbier, Hunter's Tropical Medicine, 2012) and have just been asked to revise the chapter. I have also published on vector associations (Harley et al., American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2001), clinical manifestations (Harley et al., Medical Journal of Australia, 2002), and behavioural risks (Harley et al., International Journal of Epidemiology, 2005). More recently I have published on environmental determinants of risk (Jacups et al., Journal of Medical Entomology, 2011; Ng et al., Vector-borne and zoonotic diseases, 2014). I also have a major interest in dengue and have published on the epidemiology of this important virus in Australia (e.g. Viennet et al., PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 2016; Williams et al., Epidemiology and Infection, 2016) and Bangladesh (Sharmin et al., Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2015; PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 2015; Statistical Methods in Medical Research, 2016). I have also published on the epidemiology of tuberculosis in China (e.g. Sun et al., PLoS One, 2017) and the Pacific (e.g. Viney et al., Tropical Medicine and International Health, 2015).

I have a particular focus on environment and infectious diseases (see dengue research in paragraph above; Harley et al., Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health, 2011; Harley et al., Infectious diseases: a geographic guide, 2010). I was an invited speaker on climate change and infectious diseases at the International Congress on Infectious Diseases in Hyderabad, India, during March 2016. I also co-authored, with Colin Butler, a conceptual paper on levels of impact from climate change on health (Butler and Harley, Postgraduate Medical Journal, 2010), and have written on the education of medical students on climate change and health (Green et al., Australian Family Physician, 2009) and impacts of climate change on immune function (Swaminathan et al., Children, 2014).

When working at QCIDD ealier I led the Australian arm for an international multi-centre RCT on antipsychotic medication for aggressive behaviour in adults with developmental disabilities (Tyrer et al., Lancet, 2008; cited 246 times, Google Scholar, 31/1/17). I have also researched the economic impact of disability in Vietnam (Palmer et al., International Journal of Health Planning and Management, 2011) and the asssociations of hearing impairment in Thailand (Yiengprugsawan et al., Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health, 2010) and co-authored an international review on models and measurement of disability (Palmer and Harley, Health Policy and Planning, 2011).

Teaching

I taught epidemiology and evidence based medicine to medical students at The University of Queensland and ANU from 2002 to 2016. I was theme chair in population health for the ANU post-graduate medical degree between 2009 and 2016. I was invited annually from 2012 to 2015 to teach epidemiology and outbreak control at Institut Pasteur and The Oxford University Clinical Research in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I was a foundation member of the teaching team for the ANU Master of Public Health (MPH) core subject, Fundamentals of Epidemiology, and have also instructed students on global health and climate change and health in the MPH. In addition I've provided clinical teaching for ANU medical students in general practice and was an accredited GP supervisor with GPSynergy, the training provider for RACGP registrars in Canberra.

Research Interests

  • Epidemiology
  • Infectious disease epidemiology
  • Health services research
  • Adult developmental disability medicine
  • Indigenous health

Research Impacts

My expertise on Ross River virus has led to two pharmaceutical industry consultancies. I have also completed consultancies in China for AusAid investigating a tick-borne Bunyavirus (2010), and consulted to WHO on climate and health in Cambodia (2009 and 2012). I also completed consultancy work on climate change and health in Pacific for the Commonwealth Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (2011). Consequent upon my research in the area (Tyrer et al., Lancet, 2008) and clinical expertise I provided expert advice to the Queensland Government Department of Disability Services on management of aggressive behaviour in adults with developmental disability (2008).

I have contributed to building capacity internationally through strong engagement in supervision and teaching. I have supervised students from China, Vietnam, and Bangladesh. I have also taught epidemiology and outbreak control to many students from low income countries in South East Asia as an invited instructor with Institut Pasteur and Oxford University in Ho Chi Minh City annually from 2012 to 2015.

I've contributed actively to my college, The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), and faculty, The Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine. I have joined working parties on Indigenous health, the health of disabled people (deputy chair), and most recently climate change and health. The work on the second and third working parties resulted in production of RACP position papers. In 2016 I represented the college in meetings with parliamentarians in Canberra on climate change and health.

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Science, The University of Queensland
  • BSc (Hons I Zoology), The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Medicine and Bachlor of Surgery, The University of Queensland
  • FAFPHM, RACP
  • PhD, The University of Queensland

Publications

View all Publications

Available Projects

  • I am currently deputy director of The Queensland Centre for Intellectual and Developmental Disability (QCIDD). I am keen to take on new students to research the health of adults with intellectual and developmental disability. We have a number of rich datasets within QCIDD that would form the basis for PhD programs.

  • I have considerable experience in research and supervision of projects on the epidemiology of infectious diseases. I have a particular interest in arboviruses, especially dengue and Ross River virus. I have also published on tuberculosis and visceral leishmaniasis. I am happy to discuss projects with interested students.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Featured Publications

Book

Book Chapter

  • Bannister-Tyrrell, Melanie, Harley, David and McMichael, Tony (2015). Detection and attribution of climate change effects on infectious diseases. In Colin Butler, Jane Dixon and Anthony Capon (Ed.), Health of people, places and planet: reflections based on Tony McMichael's four decades of contribution to epidemiological understanding (pp. 447-459) Acton, ACT, Australia: ANU Press.

  • Williams, Craig R. and Harley, David O. (2014). Impact of environmental and social factors on Ross River virus outbreaks. In Sunit K. Singh (Ed.), Viral infections and global change (pp. 419-432) Hoboken, NJ, United States: John Wiley & Sons. doi:10.1002/9781118297469.ch22

  • Harley, D. and Suhrbier, A. (2012). Ross River virus disease. In Hunter's tropical medicine and emerging infectious diseases (pp. 315-317) New York, United States: Elsevier.

  • Harley, David, Swaminathan, Ashwin and McMichael, Anthony J. (2011). Climate change and the geographical distribution of infectious diseases. In Eskild Petersen, Lin Hwei Chen and Patricia Schlagenhauf (Ed.), Infectious diseases: a geographic guide (pp. 414-423) Chicester, West Sussex, United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • I am currently deputy director of The Queensland Centre for Intellectual and Developmental Disability (QCIDD). I am keen to take on new students to research the health of adults with intellectual and developmental disability. We have a number of rich datasets within QCIDD that would form the basis for PhD programs.

  • I have considerable experience in research and supervision of projects on the epidemiology of infectious diseases. I have a particular interest in arboviruses, especially dengue and Ross River virus. I have also published on tuberculosis and visceral leishmaniasis. I am happy to discuss projects with interested students.