A NSW Government website


Public Health Research

A key role of the Public Health Unit relates to our statutory responsibilities under the NSW Public Health Act 2010 and associated regulations to protect the health of the population. 

In addition, the Public Health Unit conducts applied and translational research across a range of areas of public health. We collaborate with researchers at NSW Health, public health units in other districts, universities, laboratories, hospitals, and other government agencies. Much of the Public Health Unit's applied research relates to investigations of public health incidents or outbreaks.

Our Research Team

The Public Health Unit research team is comprised of a multidisciplinary workforce that works together to research public health issues. The team consists of staff specialists, public health nurses, public health registrars, public health officers, epidemiologists, environmental health officers and our administrative team. The team collaborates across Sydney Local Health District and with our external partners to improve the health and wellbeing of the population.

Selected Grants

Amount awarded

Grant and project details


NHMRC Special Initiative in Human Health and Environmental Change, 2021-2026
Healthy Environments And Lives (HEAL) - National Research Network on Human Health and Environmental Change.

Investigators: Vardoulakis, S., et al (incl. Knibbs, L,D.)

Our Publications


Beyene, T., Zosky, G. R., Gibson, P. G., McDonald, V. M., Holliday, E. G., Horvat, J. C., Vertigan, A. E., Van Buskirk, J., Morgan, G. G., Jegasothy, E., Hanigan, I., Murphy, V. E., & Jensen, M. E. (2023). The impact of the 2019/2020 Australian landscape fires on infant feeding and contaminants in breast milk in women with asthma. International Breastfeeding Journal, 18(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13006-023-00550-8

Burdon, R. M., Atefi, D., Rana, J., Parasuraman, A., Lee, A. S., & Nield, B. (2023). Sustained Mpox Proctitis with Primary Syphilis and HIV Seroconversion, Australia. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 29(3). https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2903.221845

Cerin, E., Barnett, A., Wu, Y. T., Martino, E., Shaw, J. E., Knibbs, L. D., Poudel, G., Jalaludin, B., & Anstey, K. J. (2023). Do neighbourhood traffic-related air pollution and socio-economic status moderate the associations of the neighbourhood physical environment with cognitive function? Findings from the AusDiab study. Science of the Total Environment, 858. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.160028

Gruenwald, T., Seals, B. A., Knibbs, L. D., & Hosgood, H. D. (2023). Population Attributable Fraction of Gas Stoves and Childhood Asthma in the United States. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 20(1). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20010075

Jegasothy, E., Hanigan, I. C., Van Buskirk, J., Morgan, G. G., Jalaludin, B., Johnston, F. H., Guo, Y., & Broome, R. A. (2023). Acute health effects of bushfire smoke on mortality in Sydney, Australia. Environment International, 171. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2022.107684

Li, J. M., Yang, H. Y., Wu, S. H., Dharmage, S. C., Jalaludin, B., Knibbs, L. D., Bloom, M. S., Guo, Y., Morawska, L., Heinrich, J., Steve Hung Lam, Y., Lin, L. Z., Zeng, X. W., Yang, B. Y., Chen, G. B., Liu, R. Q., Dong, G. H., & Hu, L. W. (2023). The associations of particulate matter short-term exposure and serum lipids are modified by vitamin D status: A panel study of young healthy adults. Environmental Pollution, 317. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2022.120686

Nguyen, T. T., He, C., Carter, R., Ballard, E. L., Smith, K., Groth, R., Jaatinen, E., Kidd, T. J., Thomson, R. M., Tay, G., Johnson, G. R., Bell, S. C., & Knibbs, L. D. (2023). Quantifying the effectiveness of ultraviolet-C light at inactivating airborne Mycobacterium abscessus. Journal of Hospital Infection, 132. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhin.2022.10.008

O’Connor, C. M. C., Poulos, R. G., Sharma, A., Preti, C., Reynolds, N. L., Rowlands, A. C., Flakelar, K., Raguz, A., Valpiani, P., Faux, S. G., Boyer, M., Close, J. C. T., Gupta, L., & Poulos, C. J. (2023). An Australian aged care home for people subject to homelessness: health, wellbeing and cost–benefit. BMC Geriatrics, 23(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12877-023-03920-3

Odo, D. B., Yang, I. A., Dey, S., Hammer, M. S., van Donkelaar, A., Martin, R. V., Dong, G. H., Yang, B. Y., Hystad, P., & Knibbs, L. D. (2023a). A cross-sectional analysis of ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) exposure and haemoglobin levels in children aged under 5 years living in 36 countries. Environmental Research, 227. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2023.115734

Odo, D. B., Yang, I. A., Dey, S., Hammer, M. S., van Donkelaar, A., Martin, R. V., Dong, G. H., Yang, B. Y., Hystad, P., & Knibbs, L. D. (2023b). A cross-sectional analysis of long-term exposure to ambient air pollution and cognitive development in children aged 3–4 years living in 12 low- and middle-income countries. Environmental Pollution, 318. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2022.120916

Pollard, B., Van Buskirk, J., Engelen, L., Held, F., & de Dear, R. (2023). How many days of indoor positioning system data are required to characterise typical movement behaviours of office workers? Applied Ergonomics, 106. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apergo.2022.103915

Popovic, I., Soares Magalhães, R. J., Yang, Y., Yang, S., Yang, B., Dong, G., Wei, X., Fox, G. J., Hammer, M. S., Martin, R. V., van Donkelaar, A., Ge, E., Marks, G. B., & Knibbs, L. D. (2023). Effects of long-term ambient air pollution exposure on township-level pulmonary tuberculosis notification rates during 2005–2017 in Ningxia, China. Environmental Pollution, 317. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2022.120718

Quinn, E., Hsiao, K. H., Johnstone, T., Gomez, M., Parasuraman, A., Ingleton, A., Hirst, N., Najjar, Z., & Gupta, L. (2023). Protecting Older Adult Residents in Care Facilities Against Influenza and COVID-19 Using the Influenza Communication, Advice and Reporting (FluCARE) App: Prospective Cohort Mixed Methods Study. JMIR Formative Research, 7. https://doi.org/10.2196/38080

Singh, N., Dey, S., & Knibbs, L. D. (2023). Spatio-temporal patterns of tropospheric NO2 over India during 2005–2019. Atmospheric Pollution Research, 14(3). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apr.2023.101692

Smith, S., & Johnson, G. (2023). A systematic review of the barriers, enablers and strategies to embedding translational research within the public hospital system focusing on nursing and allied health professions. PLoS ONE, 18(2 February). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0281819

Stubbs, A., Dawson, E., Campbell, E., Van Buskirk, J., Johnson, G., Spalding, N., Cullen, J., Chee, K., McLeod, J., Knibbs, L. D., O’Callaghan, J., Jones, C., Maduka, C., Fleming, P., Haupt, R., & Penman, A. (2023). Factors impacting resident outcomes from COVID-19 outbreaks in Residential Aged Care Facilities in Sydney Local Health District: testing an infection prevention and control scoring system. BMC Public Health, 23(1), 1763. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-023-16634-3

Wang, Y., Crowe, M., Knibbs, L. D., Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, M., Mygind, L., Kerr, J. A., Wake, M., Olsson, C. A., Enticott, P. G., Peters, R. L., Daraganova, G., Mavoa, S., & Lycett, K. (2023). Greenness modifies the association between ambient air pollution and cognitive function in Australian adolescents, but not in mid-life adults. Environmental Pollution, 324.

Our Presentations


Cavanagh, K., & McNeill, T. (2023, June). Hepatitis B Pathways to Care: Collaboration between Public Health and Specialist Services. Communicable Diseases & Immunisation Conference.

Knibbs, L., & Van Buskirk, J. (2023, July). Local Health Matters – Mapping Health. Sydney Innovation & Research Symposium.

Leena Gupta. (2023, July). Vaping: How do we Prevent the Next Public Health Emergency? Sydney Innovation & Research Symposium.

McNeill, T. (2023, June). Epidemiology of Invasive Pneumococcal Disease (IPD). Communicable Diseases & Immunisation Conference.