Australian Inflammatory Bowel Disease Microbiome Study

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53% of target number recruited

Active participation rate 93%, sample return rate 97%, Survey return rate 98%

526 patients recruited to the study

  • 200 CD
  • 146 UC
  • 224 Healthy participants


The microbiome and links to IBD

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), comprising the 2 main forms – Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, is a global disease challenge. It affects approximately 1 in 250 Australians, with over 80,000 Australians currently living with IBD. IBD arises from a dysregulated immune response to alterations in the gut microbiota in susceptible individuals. Sufferers can endure numerous attacks or ‘flares’ followed by periods of relative remission; however, the disease trigger remains elusive. 

Being able to identify people at risk of IBD prior to symptoms, preventing symptom progression, and being able to define how patients are likely to respond to treatment, plays to the heart of IBD healthcare, namely, to improve patient health.

Who are The Sydney+ IBD Research consortium

The Sydney+ IBD Research consortium was initiated in 2018 to bring together clinicians and researchers to improve IBD patient care. The consortium is an active collaboration comprising early, mid and advanced-career clinicians/scientists with complementary strengths. The first aim of the network was to develop the infrastructure to ensure a unified approach to patient recruitment/sample collection – an issue which hampers many multi-centre studies. 

What is The Australian IBD Microbiome (AIM) Study

The Australian IBD Microbiome (AIM) Study is the inaugural study of the consortia and commenced recruitment in June 2019. The AIM study is a longitudinal cohort study with clinical data, patient-reported outcomes data, and biological samples collected from participants over a 24-month period.

The project will deliver:

  1. Microbial changes associated with onset of IBD symptoms
  2. Identification of Australian IBD microbial signatures to allow targeted intervention
  3. Generation of novel predictive models of direct translational utility to the clinic.
Study commencement date June 2019
Scheduled end date February 2025
Study Lead Professor Georgina Hold
Lead recruiting site St George Hospital, Kogarah, NSW 2017
Current recruiting area New South Wales
Recruiting sites St Vincent’s Hospital
Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Liverpool Hospital
Concord Hospital
Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick
Sydney Children’s Hospital, Westmead
Wollongong Hospital
Blacktown Hospital
Sutherland Hospital
Canberra Hospital
AIM Study Funding

The AIM study receives or has received funds and or support from the following organisations:

Gastroenterological Society of Australia (GESA)

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Crohn’s Colitis Australia (CCA)

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St George and Sutherland Medical Research Foundation (SSMRF)

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Bioanalytical Mass Spectrometry Facility.
Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre, UNSW

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Professor Georgina Hold

AIM Study Lead
Professor of Gut Health, Microbiome Research Centre, St George and Sutherland Clinical, School, UNSW Sydney

Ph: 91131855

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Dr Betty Nan Wu

AIM Study PhD student (CCA funded)
Recruitment Lead – St George Hospital
Gastroenterologist, Miranda Gastroenterology, Sutherland Hospital

Ph: 95240229

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Associate Professor Daniel Avi Lemberg

Lead Clinician – Sydney Children’s Hospital (Randwick)
Head of Department, Paediatric Gastroenterology Senior Staff Specialist, Sydney Children's Hospital

Ph: 91914959

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Dr Gabrielle Wark

Clinician – St Vincent’s Hospital
PhD Candidate, St Vincent's Clinical School, UNSW


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Professor Michael Grimm

Lead Clinician – St George Hospital
Professor of Medicine, Clinical Associate Dean, St George and Sutherland Clinical School, UNSW

Ph: 91131855

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Professor Golo Ahlenstiel

Clinician – Blacktown Hospital
Chair of Medicine, Blacktown Clinical School, Western Sydney University

Ph: 9851 6073

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Dr Sudarshan Paramsothy

Clinician – Concord Hospital
Staff Specialist Gastoenterologist and Hepatologist, Concord Repatriation General Hospital

Ph: 97676111

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Dr Dorit Samocha-Bonet

Nutritionist – Garvan Institute of Medical Research
Group Leader, Clinical Insulin Resistance, Diabetes Division, Garvan Institute of Medical Research and St Vincent’s Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW


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Dr Astrid-Jane Williams

Clinician – Liverpool Hospital
Staff Specialist Gastroenterologist, Liverpool Hospital


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Dr Crispin Corte

Lead Clinician – Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Head of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, AW Morrow Gastroenterology and Liver Centre, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney

Ph: 95158578

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Dr Simon Ghaly

Lead Clinician – St Vincent’s Hospital
Head of Inflammatory Bowel Disease service, Department of Gastroenterology, St. Vincent's hospital, Sydney

Ph: 02 8382 6622

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Dr Valerie Wasinger

Senior Research Scientist, Bioanalytical Mass Spectrometry Facility, Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre, UNSW
Translational Biomarker Specialist, UNSW

Ph: +61 2 9385 1678

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Dr Steven Leach

Study Lead/ Microbiome Scientist – Sydney Children’s Hospital (Randwick)
Research Fellow, School of Women's and Children's Health, UNSW Medicine

Ph: 938201883

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Dr Catherine Burke

Microbiome Scientist – University of Technology, Sydney
Lecturer, School of Life Sciences, University of Technology Sydney


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Dr Claire O'Brien

Microbiome Scientist – University of Wollongong
NHMRC Peter Doherty Research Fellow, ANU Medical School

Ph: 02 6244 4023

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Dr Viraj Kariyawasam

Lead Clinician – Blacktown Hospital
Clinical Lead, IBD Service, Blacktown and Mount Druitt Hospital

Ph: 02 8670 0086

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Dr Craig Haifer

Clinician – St Vincent’s Hospital
Gastroenterologist, Visiting Medical Officer, St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney

Ph: 283810061

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Professor Rupert Leong

Lead Clinician – Concord Hospital
Senior Staff Specialist gastroenterologist, Director of Endoscopy and Head of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Services at Concord Hospital.

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Associate Professor Susan Connor

Lead Clinician – Liverpool Hospital
Head IBD Service, Liverpool Hospital

Ph: 61287384085

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Clinical Associate Professor Thomas Lee

Lead Clinician – Wollongong Hospital
Senior Staff Specialist, IBD, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District

Ph: 02 4222 5180

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Dr Paris Tavakoli

Recruitment Lead – St Vincent’s Hospital
Research Associate- IBD service, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, St Vincent Hospital, Sydney

Ph: 04242 52436

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Dr Kelly Lambert

Nutritionist – University of Wollongong
Academic Program Director Nutrition and Dietetics, School of Medicine, Faculty of Science, University of Wollongong NSW


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Dr Ramesh Paramsothy

Clinician - Blacktown Hospital



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Dr Nerissa Bowcock

Microbiome Scientist – Sydney Children’s Hospital (Randwick)
Research Assistant, School of Women's and Children's Health, UNSW Medicine




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Dr Amanda Shapiro 

Recruitment lead and Microbiome scientist - SCH Randwick


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Research Participants Needed! We are seeking research participants to learn about the changes in the human microbiota in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). If we can determine how to prevent or treat disease, then we have the potential to positively change health outcomes for many future generations!

Study summary

  • We are looking for:
    • participants who have an IBD diagnosis, are between the ages of 6 and 80 years old and receiving healthcare in Australia, 
    • family members of IBD patients 
    • healthy controls
  • You must be intending to reside in Australia for the next 2 years
  • Be willing to have your vital signs, height, weight, medical history collected
  • Be willing to complete a series of lifestyle and diet related questionnaires
  • Be willing to provide blood samples at 0, 12 and 24 months, and oral swabs and stool samples every 3 months (sample packs provided).

What is involved

If you decide to take part you would:

  • Provide samples and answer questionnaires every 3 months over two years 
  • Be available for the duration of the study, which is 24 months
  • Willing to provide height, weight, medical history, lifestyle and dietary assessment
  • Willing to provide multi-site microbiome sampling (including oral, stool samples and blood tests)

To learn more about this study and to find out if you can take part, please contact Professor Georgina Hold at for more information. 
This study has HREC approval – 2019/ETH11443 and ANZCTR code ACTRN12619000911190

Latest news

St George & Sutherland Medical Research Foundation funds Inflammatory Bowel Disease study 
Learn more.

Australia IBD Microbiome (AIM) Study: protocol for a multicentre longitudinal prospective cohort study
The protocol paper is now available on line. Click here to access.

New recruitment sites – Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Adelaide

Students begin research into the Australian IBD Microbiome
Six medical, science and nutrition students have joined the team and will play their role conducting research into aspects of the Australian microbiome. For more information or if you are interested in joining the team, contact relevant researchers.

The AIM study is running at the following sites across NSW:

St George Hospital, Kogarah
PI: Prof Michael Grimm

St Vincent’s Hospital, Darlinghurst
PI: Dr Simon Ghaly

Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Newtown
PI: Dr Crispin Corte

Liverpool Hospital, Liverpool
PI: A/Prof Susie Connor

Concord Hospital, Concord
PI: Prof Rupert Leong