Centre for Perinatal Infection Research

Infections passed from mother to child around the time of birth are important causes of disability in early life. We aim to reduce the impact of perinatal viral infections and (re)emerging infectious diseases on infants and children. Through understanding these infections better, we will find new ways to prevent or treat them.

The Centre for Perinatal Infection Research (CPIR) is based at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead and led by Professor Cheryl Jones.  We are part of the Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity and two NHMRC Centres for Research Excellence - Critical infections and Immunisation in under studied and special risk populations.

For general enquiries please contact Office Manager, Grace Sui: grace.sui@health.nsw.gov.au

Current projects

Our research program spans laboratory research, epidemiology, and surveillance of infectious diseases to clinical and translational research into practice and policy. We lead a collaborative translational research program which aims to reduce the burden of infectious disease through active surveillance of perinatal and emerging paediatric infection, developing and testing novel therapies to prevent and or treat these infections, engaging with health care professionals and the community about risk reduction, diagnosis and treatment.

Our Epidemiology, Population Health and Clinical Research includes:

  • The Australian Childhood Encephalitis (ACE) study - a national study to characterise childhood encephalitis
  • Identification of new infectious causes of encephalitis and management of emerging infectious encephalitis epidemics
  • Determination of the global burden of cytomegalovirus (CMV) in developing countries like Bangladesh
  • Surveillance studies for viruses such as rubella and influenza, including infections during pregnancy
  • Immunisation in special risk and underrepresented groups

Our Laboratory Research program investigates:

  • Herpes Simplex virus (HSV) neonatal infections and immunology, with the aim of vaccine development
  • The role of CMV infection during pregnancy and development of cerebral palsy
  • How viral infections are transmitted from mother to baby

The research team

> Professor Cheryl Jones, Head of the Centre for Perinatal Research, email: cheryl.jones@health.nsw.gov.au

Cheryl is a Paediatric Infectious Diseases specialist at the Children's Hospital at Westmead, Deputy Dean of the Sydney Medical School and Leader in Maternal and Child Health at the Marie Bashir Insitute for Infectious Diseases. Her research interests include mother-to-child transmission of viruses, and emerging childhood brain infections. Cheryl's research has been used to fill knowledge gaps, inform practice and generate international and national practice guidelines in infectious encephalitis and perinatal infections. More information can be found on Cheryl's University of Sydney profile page.

> Other Research Team Members

Key publications

Khandaker G, Jung J, Britton PN, King C, Yin JK, Jones CA (2016) Long-term outcomes of infective encephalitis in children: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Dev Med Child Neurol. doi: 10.1111/dmcn.13197. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed PMID: 27422743.

Britton PN, Dale RC, Nissen MD, Crawford N, Elliott E, Macartney K, Khandaker G, Booy R, Jones CA, PAEDS-ACE Investigators (2016) Parechovirus Encephalitis and Neurodevelopmental Outcomes. Pediatrics 137(2):e20152848

Britton PN, Eastwood K, Brew BJ, Nagree Y, Jones CA (2015) Consensus guidelines for the investigation and management of encephalitis. Med J Aust 202(11):576-7

Smithers-Sheedy H, Raynes-Greenow C, Badawi N, Khandaker G, Menzies R, Jones CA (2015) Cytomegalovirus-related childhood mortality in Australia 1999-2011. J Paediatr Child Health 51(9):901-5

Khandaker G, Jones C, Zurynski Y (2014) Surveillance for congenital rubella in Australia since 1993: cases reported between 2004 and 2013. Vaccine 32(50):6746-51

Britton PN, Khandaker G, Booy R, Jones CA (2014) The Causes and Consequences of Childhood Encephalitis in Asia. Infect Disord Drug Targets 14(2):78-88

Jones CA, Raynes-Greenow C, Isaacs D; Neonatal HSV Study Investigators and Contributors to the Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit (2014) Population-based surveillance of neonatal herpes simplex virus infection in Australia, 1997-2011. Clin Infect Dis 59(4):525-31

Smithers-Sheedy H, Raynes-Greenow C, Badawi N, McIntyre S, Jones CA; Australian Cerebral Palsy Register Group (2014) Congenital cytomegalovirus is associated with severe forms of cerebral palsy and female sex in a retrospective
population-based study. Dev Med Child Neurol 56(9):846-52

Fernandez MA, Yu U, Zhang G, White R, Sparwasser T, Alexander SI, Jones CA (2013) Treg depletion attenuates the severity of skin disease from ganglionic spread after HSV-2 flank infection. Virology 447(1-2):9-20

Britton P, Perez-Velez C, Marais B (2013) Diagnosis, treatment and prevention of Tuberculosis in Children. NSW Public Health Bulletin 24: 15-21.