Dr Dwan Vilcins

Research Fellow (Environmental Scie

Child Health Research Centre
Faculty of Medicine

Overview

Dwan is an environmental epidemiologist, with a particular interest in children's environmental health. Her current research explores the following:

  • Environmentally persistent free radicals, air pollution, and children's lung outcomes
  • Maternal exposure to green space, ambient temperature and air pollution and the association with neonatal and child outcomes
  • The knowledge of GPs and naturopaths on environmental health issues for preconception care
  • Exposures to phthalates and allergic disease

Dwan has a background in public health and nutrition. She is a founder and co-host of the R Peer Group at UQ/QIMR

Research Interests

  • Environmental exposures and child health
    Understanding the links between exposure to environmental hazards—such as air pollution, endocrine disrupting chemicals and environmentally persistent free radicals— and the health of children.
  • Green space
    The role green space plays in the health and development of children

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Master of Public Health, The University of Queensland

Publications

View all Publications

Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • Smoke from bushfires and hazard-reducing burns (HRB), collectively known as bushfire smoke (BFS), is toxic and poses a significant threat to human health. More information is needed on pollutants in smoke, how much penetrates homes, and what health effects result from exposure. Our novel study uses HRB to measure environmental, occupational, and household exposure before, during and after a BFS event. Results can inform more effective public health advice.

    We are seeking a hard-working and talented PhD to join our project. The successful student will have an interest in environmental health and skills in data analysis. The project involves field-work (local to Brisbane), collecting samples from families and firefighters), collection of environmental samples, and the analysis of health data.

    More information, including details of the scholarship, can be viewed here: https://study.uq.edu.au/study-options/phd-mphil-professional-doctorate/projects/providing-evidence-guide-public-health-messages-during-bushfire-smoke-events

  • Urban green space is perhaps the best example of an environmental factor that may act as a public health good. Research has identified health benefits associated with green space, such as improvement in mental wellbeing, reduction in cortisol, an increase in physical activity, improved neighbourhood cohesion, and exposure to beneficial microbiota. Green space may play a role in ameliorating hazardous environmental exposures, such as air pollution and temperature extremes. Much of the work on green space is in its infancy, and more knowledge is needed on potential mechanisms and specific effects in children.

    This PhD project will use data from a longitudinal cohort of Australian children and explore the association between green space near the residence and nature contact activities with a range of child health outcomes such as physical health, neurodevelopment, and mental wellbeing. Causal mediation analysis will be performed to better test and understand the potential underlying mechanisms that could influence health after nature exposure.

    This project would suit a PhD student with skills in statistics, epidemiology and/or public health. Experience with data analysis is desired.

  • Air pollution exposure has been associated with a range of deleterious health effects in children, including negative respiratory effects. This project seeks to understand whether ambient air pollution is associated with an increased risk of severe lower respiratory tract infections in childhood. This project uses data from the Barwon Infant Study, a longitudinal birth cohort in Geelong, Victoria, and would suit a student interested in environmental health or epidemiology. It is suitable for masters disseration students with good statistical analysis skills.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

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.

  • Smoke from bushfires and hazard-reducing burns (HRB), collectively known as bushfire smoke (BFS), is toxic and poses a significant threat to human health. More information is needed on pollutants in smoke, how much penetrates homes, and what health effects result from exposure. Our novel study uses HRB to measure environmental, occupational, and household exposure before, during and after a BFS event. Results can inform more effective public health advice.

    We are seeking a hard-working and talented PhD to join our project. The successful student will have an interest in environmental health and skills in data analysis. The project involves field-work (local to Brisbane), collecting samples from families and firefighters), collection of environmental samples, and the analysis of health data.

    More information, including details of the scholarship, can be viewed here: https://study.uq.edu.au/study-options/phd-mphil-professional-doctorate/projects/providing-evidence-guide-public-health-messages-during-bushfire-smoke-events

  • Urban green space is perhaps the best example of an environmental factor that may act as a public health good. Research has identified health benefits associated with green space, such as improvement in mental wellbeing, reduction in cortisol, an increase in physical activity, improved neighbourhood cohesion, and exposure to beneficial microbiota. Green space may play a role in ameliorating hazardous environmental exposures, such as air pollution and temperature extremes. Much of the work on green space is in its infancy, and more knowledge is needed on potential mechanisms and specific effects in children.

    This PhD project will use data from a longitudinal cohort of Australian children and explore the association between green space near the residence and nature contact activities with a range of child health outcomes such as physical health, neurodevelopment, and mental wellbeing. Causal mediation analysis will be performed to better test and understand the potential underlying mechanisms that could influence health after nature exposure.

    This project would suit a PhD student with skills in statistics, epidemiology and/or public health. Experience with data analysis is desired.

  • Air pollution exposure has been associated with a range of deleterious health effects in children, including negative respiratory effects. This project seeks to understand whether ambient air pollution is associated with an increased risk of severe lower respiratory tract infections in childhood. This project uses data from the Barwon Infant Study, a longitudinal birth cohort in Geelong, Victoria, and would suit a student interested in environmental health or epidemiology. It is suitable for masters disseration students with good statistical analysis skills.