Professor John Attia

Professor John Attia

Professor John Attia

Research Program:
Project Grant
2014 Project Grant
Project Grant
2014 Project Grant
Project Grant
2013 Project Grant
Project Grant
2013 Project Grant
Scholarship
2012 Scholarship
HMRI Award for Research Excellence
2012 HMRI Award for Research Excellence
Scholarship
2011 Scholarship
Scholarship
2010 Scholarship
Project Grant
2010 Project Grant
Project Grant
2010 Project Grant
Project Grant
2010 Project Grant
Fellowship
2009 Fellowship
Project Grant
2007 Project Grant
Project Grant
2007 Project Grant
Project Grant
2006 Project Grant
Project Grant
2002 Project Grant

What are your research interests?

My research interests are two-fold: 

  • To help researchers decide on the best design for their studies: this means talking with them to understand their clinical question and to put together the best study design that will answer their question in the most valid way within their budget and means.
  • To look at low-cost interventions that might have high clinical impact: at the moment, there are projects looking at whether an existing vaccine can provide protection against heart attacks and stroke, whether zinc tablets can delay the onset of diabetes in those at high risk, and how we can cut down waste in medical test ordering, i.e. stop ordering tests that do not really help with making diagnostic or therapeutic decisions.

Why did you get into research?

The two motivations were creativity and potential to make a difference. Finding the right study design to answer a question is a creative process, akin to a painter that has a set number of colours on his palette but who can do any number of canvases with them. The other is the potential to really make a difference in medical treatment and to change practice for the better.

What would be the ultimate goal for your research?

One of my current projects is looking at a vaccine for cardiovascular disease. If a one-off vaccine could reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes as much as a medication that needs to be taken everyday, that would be of real public importance and would have to potential to reduce the burden of disease in our society.

Brief Profile

John Attia is Professor of Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Newcastle and has expertise in population, clinical, molecular and genetic epidemiology. Professor Attia trained at McMaster University (Canada) in clinical medicine with a specialty in general internal medicine (MD) and obtained his fellowship with the Royal College of Physicians of Canada and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.

During this time he was awarded the Outstanding Housestaff award, the J.T. Walsh award for outstanding Internal Medicine resident, and Best Teacher in Internal Medicine. He also obtained a BSc in Physiology (Faculty scholar at McGill University), a MSc in Epidemiology (McMaster University), and a 5-year MRC scholarship to complete his PhD in Molecular Genetics (University of Toronto).

Professor Attia received the HMRI Award for Research Excellence in 2012 in recognition of his expertise in research methodology, analysis and molecular genetics and an extraordinary work rate that included teaching duties and a contribution rate of almost one medical publication per week.

Since arriving in Newcastle in 1999, the Canadian expatriate has supervised or co-supervised numerous PhD and Master’s students in Public Health. He became Professor of Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology in 2006.

Professor Attia has also served as chief investigator for the Hunter Community Study, a cohort of 3,000 men and women aged 55-85 years that has ongoing research value in the areas of genetics and ageing.

He has been listed on the NHMRC register of Evidence-Based Medicine experts and has provided epidemiological expertise to the Therapeutic Goods Administration and currently to the Medical Services Advisory Committee. He is currently academic director of general medicine at John Hunter Hospital responsible for the advanced training program, as well as director of the Clinical Research and Statistical Support Unit, providing epidemiological and statistical methodological advice to clinical researchers.

He is still active in clinical medicine as a general physician, contributing ¼ of his time to the on-call roster.  

Affiliations

2014

A descriptive observational study of infants aged < 24 months with severe bronchiolitis requiring critical care
Project Grant
Researchers:

Mrs Elizabeth Kepreotes, Professor Joerg Mattes, Dr Peter Harrigan, Associate Professor Bruce Whitehead, Professor John Attia, Dr Mark Lee 

Description:

This observational study is designed to enhance our understanding of the factors assocaited with the development of servere brochiolitis in infants aged < 24 months, presenting to JHH/JHCH for care.

more
Genetic and Environmental Determinants of Depressive Symptoms: Trajectory and Outcomes in a Longitudinal Population Data Set
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Brian Kelly, Associate Professor Paul Tooney, Professor Rodney Scott, Professor John Attia, Dr Murray Cairns, Prof Vaughan Carr 

Description:

This project comprises the analysis of DNA samples obtained within the NHRMC funded 5-year longitudinal study of mental health among rural community residents.

more

2013

Biological characterisation of genetic associations for large artery atherosclerotic stroke
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Elizabeth Holliday, Rodney Scott, Christopher Levi, John Attia 

Description:

Genetic risk factors, gene expression and ischaemic stroke

more
Happy Healthy Children: A genome wide association study on childhood brain tumours
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Rodney Scott, Dr Frank Alvaro, Tiffany-Jane Evans, Elizabeth Milne, Bruce Armstrong, Professor John Attia, Elizabeth Holliday 

Description:

Brain tumours are the second most frequent cancer diagnosed in children yet very little is known about the risk factors associated with their occurrence or what events are necessary for their progression.

more

2012

Award for Research Excellence - John Attia
HMRI Award for Research Excellence
Researchers:
Men, Depression and social networks in rural communities: linking epidemiologic evidence to effective interventions
Scholarship
Researchers:

Professor Brian KellyJohn Attia, Frances Kay-Lambkin, Terry Lewin, Amanda Baker, Trevor Hazell
 

2011

Men, Depression and social networks in rural communities: linking epidemiologic evidence to effective interventions
Scholarship
Researchers:

Professor Brian KellyJohn Attia, Frances Kay-Lambkin, Terry Lewin, Amanda Baker, Trevor Hazell
 

2010

Zinc as target for prevention of type-2 diabetes
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor John Attia, Milton Hasnat, Mark McEvoy, Amanda Patterson, Shamasunder Acharya, Steve Bowe 

Genetic influences in colorectal cancer: a global consortium
Project Grant
Researchers:
Vascular Ischemia Study
Project Grant
Researchers:
Men, Depression and social networks in rural communities: linking epidemiologic evidence to effective interventions
Scholarship
Researchers:

Professor Brian Kelly, John Attia, Frances Kay-Lambkin, Terry Lewin, Amanda Baker, Trevor Hazell 

2009

Xstrata Coal Research Fellowship in Depression
Fellowship
Researchers:

2007

Healthy AiRways and Obstructive Lung Disease (HAROLD)
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Wayne Smith, Dr Lisa Wood, Associate Professor John Attia, Dr Regina Berretta, Dr Pablo Moscato
 

Genetic polymorphisms in the native thrombolytic systems as risk factors for ischaemic stroke
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Christopher Levi, Dr John Attia, Professor Rodney Scott, Dr Amanda Thrift
 

2006

ALZHEIMERS - The impact of anticholinergic activity, apolipoprotein E and high affinity chlorine transporter genotype on cognition in a population-based cohort
Project Grant
Researchers:

Mr Mark McEvoy,  Associate Professor P Schofield, Professor W Smith, Dr J Duke, Associate Professor John Attia

2002

The genetic origins of childhood cancer
Project Grant