Helping to improve long-term outcomes for very premature babies.

The Royal Women's Hospital

The Royal Women’s Hospital is Australia’s largest hospital with a sole focus on the improvement of the health of women of all ages and cultures, and newborn babies.

Associate Professor Jeanie Cheong


Convenor of VICS

A/Prof Jeanie Cheong is a Neonatal Paediatrician with expertise in neonatal neurology, neuroimaging and long-term follow up. She completed her undergraduate medical degree at the University of Melbourne, and trained in Paediatrics and Neonatology both in Victoria, Australia and also in London, United Kingdom.  During the final years of her specialist neonatal training, she undertook a higher research MD in the area of high field magnetic resonance imaging at the cutting edge field strength of 4.7Tesla.  Since 2007, she has taken on a consultant neonatologist role at the Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne and is lead clinician in the Growth and Development clinic. She holds appointments with the University of Melbourne, as Associate Professor, and with the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute as a Principal Research Fellow.  As of the beginning of 2015, Jeanie assumed the role as Convenor of the Victorian Infant Collaborative Study group and also takes on Team Leadership of the medical/neurological stream of the Victorian Infant Brain studies group.  Jeanie’s research areas encompass brain injury in high-risk newborns, and how structure-function relationships relate to long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes.

Prof Lex Doyle, MD BS MSc FRACP

Prof LEx Doyle, MD BS MSc FRACP

Ex-Convenor of VICS

Professor Doyle worked in the field of neonatal paediatrics for more than 30 years, and exclusively between 1978, when he was first appointed to the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in the University of Melbourne, and 2006, when he ceased working in the nursery at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne.

As well as training in Melbourne, he was fortunate to work and train for 3½ years in Canada, at McMaster University, where he met and worked with many esteemed international colleagues in neonatal paediatrics.

Professor Doyle has major research interests in evaluating neonatal intensive care, including how to improve on that care, and its economic consequences. He has been a chief investigator on numerous randomised controlled trials of interventions before and after birth designed to improve the outcome for the highest-risk babies, including the tiniest and most immature babies. He leads several research groups interested in the outcome for tiny babies well beyond the nursery and into adulthood; these are the Premature Infant Follow-up Programme at the Royal Women's Hospital, and the Victorian Infant Collaborative Study Group. He is also a senior member of the Victoria Infant Brain Studies (VIBeS) Group. As a consequence of his research activities he has over 400 scientific publications, 1 book, and two completed theses (MSc [McMaster]; MD [Melbourne]) to date (2015).  He is the Chief Investigator on the Centre for Research Excellence in Newbornl Medicine (2014-2018), which is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia. 

In addition to his research activities, Professor Doyle is now Associate Director of Research at the Royal Women's Hospital, and is heavily involved in undergraduate and postgraduate clinical research education, mentoring, and supervision.  He also chairs the Human Research Committee at the Royal Women’s Hospital.

Elaine Kelly

Participating Staff Member Elaine Kelly

Paediatric Neuropsychologist & Paediatric Speech Pathologist

Elaine Kelly has been involved with VICS since its inception over 20 years ago. She is a Neuropsychologist and Speech Pathologist. She works at the Royal Women's Hospital, the Mercy Hospital for Women and Monash Medical Centre as well as working in private with clinical patients. She has been involved in many research projects, and in teaching students from Melbourne University and Australian Catholic University, being an Honorary Fellow of both Institutions.

Kate Callanan


Research Coordinator

Kate is the Research Coordinator of the Premature Infant Follow up Studies.
She especially enjoys seeing the babies grow from such small beginnings into independent young adults.

A/Prof Peter  Anderson



Associate Professor Peter Anderson is a psychologist and Principal Research Fellow at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and The University of Melbourne.  He is Director of the Victorian Infant Brain Studies (VIBeS) team and co-director of the Australian Centre for Child Neuropsychological Studies (AC-CNS), the leading centre for paediatric neuropsychological research in Australia.  Dr Anderson is a world leader in the area of prematurity, with his research focussed on understanding the mechanisms underlying neurobehavioural problems in children born preterm.  He is involved in observational and neuroimaging studies, and randomised controlled trials assessing the effects of obstetric, neonatal, and developmental interventions. 


Dr Noni Davis

Participating Staff Member Dr Noni Davis


Dr Noni Davis is a mother of two and a paediatrician with a strong interest in the follow up of premature babies.


Marion McDonald


Research Nurse/Coordinator

With many years of neonatal nursing experience at RWH, I really enjoy seeing our tiny ex prems  and their families coming back.   It is a real privilege to be involved in long term follow up, to interact with families on this journey of growth and development has been very exciting.



Anjali Haikerwal



Anjali has a background in medicine and public health. She has recently completed her Doctor of Philosophy at Monash University. She has worked as a physician in various hospitals in Australia and India, and as a public health researcher in the area of child health. She has a particular interest in premature birth, and the long term health impacts of prematurity on adult health and wellbeing. Currently she is assisting the VICS team on studies examining the health impacts of both early and late preterm births. She is also actively involved in teaching both undergraduate and post graduate medical students at Monash University and the University of Melbourne.


Alice Burnett


Alice is a clinical neuropsychologist who works at the Royal Women’s Hospital, Royal Children’s Hospital, and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. Her research aims to understand and improve the cognitive skills, behaviour, and wellbeing for children who are born preterm or have other neonatal conditions. 


A/Prof Gehan Roberts

Dr Gehan Roberts


Associate Professor Gehan Roberts is a developmental-behavioural paediatrician. He is involved in researching the long term outcomes of very preterm children and is especially interested in examining interventions to help improve the learning and behaviour skills of preterm children .

Esther Hutchinson

Participating Staff Member Esther Hutchinson

Clinical Neuropsychologist

Esther Hutchinson is a senior paediatric Clinical Neuropsychologist who has worked with children from infancy to adolescence with a variety of conditions and problems. Esther has particular interests in developmental disorders and outcomes as a result of early brain injury. Esther is registered and endorsed with the Australian Board of Psychology and is also a registered supervisor. Esther enjoys training post-graduate students as well as supervising newly graduated clinical neuropsychologists as part of the registrar program. 


Julianne Duff

Participating Staff Member Julianne Duff


Julianne is a paediatrician who has been involved in the follow up of premature babies for almost 15 years. She has two teenage boys.