Email not displaying correctly? View web version
Twins Research Australia header



  Facebook logo 

  Twitter logo

  Instagram logo

Researcher eNews, Winter 2019

In this edition:

Welcoming Sue Malta

Twins Research Australia would like to welcome our new manager, Sue Malta, to the team. As a former business owner and an active researcher Sue brings unique skills to the role. She has a background in psychology and sociology and a PhD in social research, specialising in qualitative methods. She has also taught at the undergraduate and postgraduate level. In addition, Sue has worked with a wide range of industry, government and community stakeholders and can already see new ways to increase our scope to be relevant across all stages of the lifespan.  When asked to provide a few words for e-News Sue said: “Having lived and worked both here and overseas, I have seen the impact culture and context can have on children and adults. I've also always been interested in the nature versus nurture debate. As a recent grandmother of triplets, I am fascinated to see this play out in my own life. The people at TRA are a great team and have made me feel very welcome. I am thrilled to be taking on this new role and I look forward to engaging with the twin researcher community in the future.”

Online Training in Twin Statistical Analysis  

Our statisticians here at Twins Research Australia have put together a free series of online training modules featuring statistical tools and explanations for researchers to expand their skills into twin studies. The series contains eight modules on four key subject areas: 

  • Introduction to the twin methodology 
  • Analysis of continuous outcomes 
  • Analysis of binary outcomes 
  • Other twin study designs and research questions 

We recommend that the online modules are taken in conjunction with one of our hands-on workshops. See below for details of our next workshop in Melbourne. 

Find out more and access the modules here.

If you have any comments or questions about the online training series, please visit our Facebook Twin Researcher Group which is moderated by TRA expert researchers, or email us at


TRA had an action-packed week visiting Sydney in the beginning of June to run workshops, a seminar and to connect with existing and new research collaborators.  This included our fourth workshop, Introduction to Statistical Analysis of Data from Twins and our first Geospatial Workshop run by Dr Callie Little. The Geospatial Workshop provided an introduction to geospatial concepts and analyses, highlighting new opportunities to characterise the Australian Twin Registry and how to include geospatial data into twin research.  We look forward to continuing to grow our educational opportunities to the research community with these workshops, with the next one in Melbourne later this year (see details below).

Introduction to Statistical Analysis of Data from Twins and Geospatial Workshops – Melbourne 

i. Introduction to Statistical Analysis of Data from Twins
This workshop will cover the exploration, analysis and interpretation of data from twin studies. The workshop will focus on understanding when and why the different statistical models and tests are appropriate, their assumptions and what the results mean in the context of specific research questions. The methods will be illustrated using real data. Familiarity with Stata, R or SPSS and a basic understanding of linear and logistic regression is assumed.
When: 17-18 October 2019
Where: University of Melbourne, Alan Gilbert-120 (Theatre 4)
Cost:  $285 per person. Student Rate $185 per person
Registering: Register online here.

ii. Geospatial Workshop
This workshop, run in conjunction with the Melbourne Twins Stats Workshop, will introduce geospatial concepts and analyses with examples of data visualisation tools and procedures, techniques to explore environmental influences on outcomes, and applications across research programs.  More details to follow.
When: 16 October 2019
Where: University of Melbourne, Alan Gilbert-120 (Theatre 4)
Cost:  $75 per person
Registering: Register online here.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Alison Wright on 03 8344 0853 or email

Twins Research Australia Travel Grant Scheme 

Round 20 of the Twins Research Australia Travel Grant Scheme will open for applications from 22 July 2019. The Twins Research Australia Travel Grant Scheme aims to encourage the growth and development of twin research in Australia, to benefit the whole population, by:

  • Supporting the training and development of Australian researchers in the methodology and practice of studies involving twins by offering financial assistance to attend TRA workshops and events.
  • Presenting and promoting TRA based twin research studies at scientific conferences.

Those attending Twins Research Australia’s workshops in Melbourne in October are also eligible to apply. To apply, please download and complete the application form on the TRA website. The deadline for applications is 30 August 2019.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Alison Wright on 03 8344 0853 or email

Multiple Perspectives Discussion Paper

TRA has brought together the experience and expertise of the many stakeholders in multiple-birth healthcare including parents, community organisations, health professionals, researchers and educators to produce a discussion paper. This discussion paper identifies the difficulties facing multiple-birth babies and their families, the gaps in our current knowledge, and the way forward to address these areas.  It contains a compilation of case studies and opinions providing a wide-ranging overview of issues and challenges for families and health professionals during pregnancy, birth and the early life of twins and multiples. Its aim is to initiate further discussions and explorations, and it provides recommendations for research, education, policy and practice.

View the full report here: Multiple Perspectives Discussion Paper.

Global Twins and Multiples Priority Setting Partnership

On 16 June this year, parents, clinicians and researchers set the agenda for future twin and multiple-birth health research. This expert group prioritised the top 10 questions at a final workshop at St George’s in London, following two global surveys which asked participants to nominate and rank research questions they thought were important for twin and multiple-birth health. Priority setting initiatives are potentially powerful, as they guide national and international research funding policies. The top 10 questions will be shared in a forthcoming publication.

Conversations in Twin Research 

Twins Research Australia has launched an online series of occasional papers, Conversations in Twin Research, to showcase the diverse application of the twin method to the research and health professionals’ community. The series aims to encourage a conversation regarding use of this approach in all areas of research, including education, early life origins of chronic disease, clinical trials and population health resources.

See one of our ‘Conversations’ with Professor Brian Byrne on the topic, Historical perspectives on twins and twin research. The piece explores the history of twins and twin research throughout time; including examples of twins in ancient cultures and their scientific value in observing and researching the human condition which has been understood for nearly 150 years. If you have any comments or questions, please go to our Facebook Twin Researcher and Stats Group here.

Grant Townsend Tribute

We are greatly saddened to hear of the passing of Professor Grant Townsend in May this year after a long battle with illness. Grant spent a lifetime in the pursuit of dental  research and education at the Craniofacial Biology Research Group, University of Adelaide. His insight and commitment to dental research involving twins will be greatly remembered by TRA. Our condolences go to Grant’s family and all those who knew him well. 

Upcoming Events

Genetics & Epigenetics of Physical Activity Symposium

Genetics and epigenetics of physical activity: Gene-environment interactions modulating health and disease.
Co-chairs: A/Prof. Nir Eynon (Institute for Health and Sport, Victoria University) and Prof. Anthony Hannan (Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, University of Melbourne)
When: 18 October 2019
Where:  University of Melbourne, Ian Potter Auditorium
Registering: Free (however registration is essential).
For more information and to register click here.

Twins 2019 Biennial Conference 

The Twins 2019 Biennial Conference will include the Joint 5th World Congress on Twin Pregnancy and the 17th Congress of the International Society for Twin Studies (ISTS), focusing on clinical management and twin research. Main topics include emerging methods in twin research, OMICS twin studies, psychological studies of twins, delivery of twins and care in pregnancy and labour, twin-related complications, preterm birth and prematurity, and large collaborative studies in twin birth cohorts. Twins Research Australia’s Director Prof John Hopper is one of the invited speakers, and A/Prof Jeff Craig, Deputy Director of TRA and President of the ISTS, is a member of the conference’s international advisory committee. The call for online registrations and abstracts’ submissions are open – abstracts are due on 31 August.
More information can be found here.
When: 28-30 November, 2019
Where: The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR.

Recent Publications

Journal articles

Media releases:

Do you have upcoming research to be published?

Just a reminder that when referring to Twins Research Australia during the course of your research please ensure you use our new name and logo. Also, a gentle 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.

   Facebook logo     Twitter logo     Instagram logo