My passion is sex research and since 2013 I have been working as a Research Fellow in the Sexual Health Program of the Kirby Institute for Infection and Immunity in Society. My work is interdisciplinary, combining epidemiology and behavioural science to answer diverse questions about sexual health and sexuality. My commitment to the inclusion of behavioural perspectives in medical research led to a position as an Adjunct Lecturer with the Centre for Social Research in Health in 2014.
As an interdisciplinary and mixed methods researcher, I am currently engaged with a diverse portfolio of projects and initiatives, including:
- Coordinating the most comprehensive blood borne virus and sexually transmissible infection (STI) surveillance system in the world - ACCESS - which collates de-identified patient data from nearly 150 health services and pathology laboratories across Australia,
- Developing new methods for calculating the incidence of bacterial STIs and using them to provide world-first longitudinal estimates of transmission among sex workers, injecting drug users and gay men,
- Generating the first Australian prevalence estimates for HIV and STIs among male sex workers
- Spearheading the implementation of a new technique to anonymously link patient data between health services and generating large-scale clinical cohorts (more than 50,000 people) to conduct the world's first population-level assessment of HIV treatment and its potential reduce new infections among gay men,
- Leading an immersive ethnographic study of a Sydney-based male brothel to identify the risks and challenges faced by male sex workers and their clients, and
- Evaluating a range of clinical technologies and practices, including: rapid testing for HIV, vaccinations for human papillomavirus, models of community-led service provision, opt-out testing for syphilis among HIV positive adults, and recording sexual orientation details in general practice.
This work has positioned me as an emerging leader on the topics of health systems and sexual health surveillance and as a global leader on sex work and human sexuality.
Some of my key research achievements to date include:
- Attracting more than $5 million in competitive research funding as a named investigator
- Publishing 20 peer-reviewed journal articles (nine as first author),
- Publishing four book chapters in edited collections (two as first author),
- Publishing 12 technical reports (seven as first author),
- Giving eight invited lectures (two internationally), and
- Presenting 24 conference papers and co-authoring an additional four.
As a result of my work I have received the following invitations and appointments:
- Expert member of the STIs in Gay Men's Action Group and co-chair of the group's surveillance and monitoring committee (2015-present),
- Current member of the AIDS Council of NSW human research ethics committee (2016-present),
- Invited contributor to the Australian Red Cross review of transgender blood donation policy (2016),
- Invited contributor the AIDS Council of NSW transgender health review (2017),
- Current member of seven research project steering committees, and
- Past board member of the Windsor HIV/AIDS Committee (2008-2010).
Science communication and writing
Beyond academia, I have a growing portfolio of interviews, publications and commentary in mainstream and specialist media. Please click here to download a list.