Barwon Infant Study (BIS)

The Barwon Infant Study (BIS) is a pre-birth population derived cohort with over 1000 pregnant women recruited between 2010 and 2013. This study was designed to follow children born to the recruited mothers and observe them as they grow. BIS is an investigation into the early life origins of a range of non-communicable diseases in the modern environment.

BIS is being conducted as a partnership between Barwon Health, Deakin University and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. BIS is primarily funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Year 2010-2013 2010-2013 2010-2013 2010-2014 2011-2014 2011-2014 2011-2014 2011-2014 2012-2014 2012-2015 2014-2016 2020-Ongoing
Wave 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Age 1st and 2nd trimester 3rd trimester Birth/perinatal 4 weeks 3 months 6 months 9 months 12 months 18 months 2 years 4 years 7-9 years
N 1158 mothers enrolled 1158 mothers enrolled 1074 eligible infants 984 927 894 823 909 In progress
Anthropometrics Anthropometrics Anthropometrics Anthropometrics Anthropometrics
Biosamples Biosamples Biosamples
Cardiovascular health Cardiovascular health Cardiovascular health Cardiovascular health
Community environment Community environment
Education and childcare Education and childcare Education and childcare
Environmental exposures Environmental exposures
Family environment Family environment Family environment
Health services Health services
Imaging Imaging Imaging
Medications and supplements Medications and supplements
Mental health and behaviour problems Mental health and behaviour problems Mental health and behaviour problems
Neurocognitive development
Nutrition Nutrition Nutrition
Other health information Other health information
Peer relationships
Physical activity Physical activity
Physical appearance Physical appearance Physical appearance Physical appearance Physical appearance
Pregnancy and birth Pregnancy and birth Pregnancy and birth
Psychosocial wellbeing Psychosocial wellbeing
Respiratory health
Screen and technology use Screen and technology use
Speech and language Speech and language Speech and language
Substance use Substance use Substance use Substance use
Temperament and personality
Study Summary
Study name Barwon Infant Study
Study abbreviation BIS
Current principal investigator/s Peter Vuillermin
Anne-Louise Ponsonby
Current project manager

Nakita Clements

Primary Institution/s Murdoch Children’s Research Institute - MCRI
Collaborating Institution/s Barwon Health
Deakin University
Major funding source/s National Health and Medical Research Council - NHMRC
The Shane O’Brien Memorial Asthma Foundation
Our Women’s Our Children’s fundraising committee
The Cotton On Foundation
The Jack Brockhoff Foundation
Study website
Key reference for study Vuillermin, P., Saffery, R., Allen, K., Carlin, J., Tang, M., Ranganathan, S., Burgner, D., Dwyer, T., Collier, F., Jachno, K., Sly, P., Symeonides, C., McCloskey, K., Molloy, J., Forrester, M. and Ponsonby, A-L. (2015). Cohort Profile: The Barwon Infant Study. Int J Epidemiol, 44(4): 1148-60. DOI:10.1093/ije/dyv026
Study focus
  • BIS Immune (early life environment modifies postnatal immune programming and the risk of allergic disease)
  • BIS Respiratory (identify environmental exposures that may impact on foetal lung growth and development
  • BIS Cardiovascular (factors contributing to the development of atherosclerosis from birth onwards)
  • BIS Neurodevelopment (early life exposure to neurotoxicants and adverse childhood developmental outcomes)
  • BIS Food Allergy (investigate the relationship between low vitamin D status and food allergy)
Sampling frame

Antenatal recruitment of eligible women from the Barwon region of Victoria (≤ 28 weeks gestation)

Primary study type Longitudinal cohort
Primary participant (at recruitment) Index child
Year commenced


Is this study ongoing? Yes - the study is ongoing
Ongoing recruitment? No
Sample size (N)

Recruitment commenced June 2010 to June 2013. A total of 1158 mothers were enrolled, with 1074 eligible infants making up the inception birth cohort

Survey data available? Yes
Imaging data available? Yes
Linkage to administrative dataset/s? Yes, linkage to (at least one) administrative dataset completed
Biosamples available? Yes
Are data available to others outside study team, with appropriate safeguards and structures in line with the cohort’s ethics and governance processes? Yes
Are there any costs associated with data/sample access for approved requests? There are usually no costs associated with access
Broadest type of participant consent available Unspecified consent (can be used for any future ethically approved research)


O'Connor M, Ponsonby A-L, Collier F, Liu R, Sly PD, Azzopardi P, Lycett K, Goldfeld S, Arnup SJ, Burgner D, Priest N, BIS Investigator Group . (2020). Exposure to adversity and inflammatory outcomes in mid and late childhood. Brain Behav Immun Health, 9, 100146. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbih.2020.100146

Study Contacts
Principal investigator/s Peter Vuillermin
Anne-Louise Ponsonby
Project manager

Nakita Clements

Study Contact

Ph: +61 4 0043 2976
Address: C/o Child Health Research Unit, Barwon Health
PO Box 281
Geelong VIC 3220