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Researcher eNews, Winter 2020

In this edition:

First results from our COVID-19 study 

Twins and triplets show how our close social relationships are vital in how we cope with the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new TRA research. The TRACKERR (Twins Research Australia COVID-19 Knowledge, Experience, Reaction, and Resilience) study comprises a series of surveys that are being rolled out to gain insights into how Australians and their families are being impacted by the pandemic. Over 3500 adult twins and triplets participated in Wave 1 of the series - a summary and full report of the findings can be found here as well as an article that appeared in The Age

Responses from a separate survey of parents of twins and triplets are currently under analysis and findings will be released in due course. A second survey of adult twins and triplets is now being developed. If you are a researcher and interested in collaborating with us on this important project, please contact us.

Double boost to Australia's influenza tracking effforts

Twins Research Australia is partnering with FluTracking, an initiative funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health, to launch a first ever twins-specific online study to monitor the spread of influenza in Australia. Twins/HOMs and their families are invited to undertake a weekly Twins FluTracking Survey to report if they've had symptoms of flu in the past week. The survey runs during the usual flu season, typically from April to October. TRA Director, Professor John Hopper, explains the purpose of the study here.

Twin researcher receives prestigious award

Eminent twin researcher, Associate Professor David Champion, has been awarded the 2020 Australian Pain Society’s Distinguished Member Award for his outstanding contribution to better understanding of different pain conditions, especially in children. On behalf of all at Twins Research Australia, we congratulate David wholeheartedly on this well-deserved recognition. Learn more about his research work here.

Twins provide insight into personal response to exercise

Researchers at the University of Western Australia and the University of Melbourne, in collaboration with Twins Research Australia, have conducted a study involving twins to investigate whether the reason some people respond differently to the same exercise program has a basis in genetics. The study found there was an optimal exercise strategy for everyone but it differs between people and was not determined or limited only by their DNA. The findings have been published in the Journal of Physiology and highlighted in the New York Times

Twin study sheds light on trust

Researchers from Australia and the UK involved over 1200 twins in a joint study to better understand the basis of trust and what makes some of us trust more readily than others. They found it was not specific facial features, genetics or a shared experience that affected people’s judgement, but an individual’s personal experience that influenced their perception of a trustworthy face. Find a summary of the findings and a link to the paper published in the PNAS Journal here

Novel causation assessment method using twin and family data

TRA’s Professor John Hopper and colleagues recently published a paper titled “Inference about causation from examination of familial confounding (ICE FALCON): A model for assessing causation analogous to Mendelian randomization” in the International Journal of Epidemiology. They introduced a novel method, ICE FALCON, which uses twin and family data to assess if an exposure has a causal effect on an outcome – the Holy Grail in epidemiological research. Read the full paper here.

Recent publications

Twins Research Australia's 2019 Annual Report is now available online, highlighting our work, impact and achievements. The full report can be viewed here.

A further selection of recent publications from TRA and our collaborators are included below.

Journal articles and book chapters:

Media stories:


Do you have upcoming research to be published?

If so, remember when referring to Twins Research Australia during the course of your research, to please ensure you use our new name and logo. Also, a reminder to use the following wording when acknowledging Twins Research Australia in your publications:

“This research was facilitated through access to Twins Research Australia, a national resource supported by a Centre of Research Excellence Grant (ID: 1079102), from the National Health and Medical Research Council.”

An electronic copy of all publications should be sent to


1800 037 021 | |

Our mailing address is: Twins Research Australia, 3/207 Bouverie Street, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia.

Copyright 2017: Twins Research Australia, Level 3, 207 Bouverie Street, Carlton, Victoria 3010. TRA is a national resource supported by a Centre of Research Excellence Grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council and administered by the University of Melbourne.

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