Professor Robin Callister

Research Program:
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2018 Project Grant
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2017 Project Grant
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2017 Project Grant
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2016 Project Grant
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2016 Project Grant
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2016 Project Grant
Travel Grant
2015 Travel Grant
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2015 Project Grant
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2014 Project Grant
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2013 Project Grant
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2012 Project Grant
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2011 Project Grant
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2011 Project Grant
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2011 Project Grant
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2011 Project Grant
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2011 Project Grant
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2010 Project Grant
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2010 Project Grant
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2009 Project Grant
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2009 Project Grant
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2008 Project Grant

What are your research interests?

  • Role of exercise in the prevention, treatment or management of health conditions associated with low levels of physical activity including Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and mental health problems.
  • Effects of exercise in rehabilitation after stroke and prevention of second stroke.
  • Effectiveness of exercise as a treatment for depression and anxiety, especially in young people.
  • Sex differences in responsiveness to exercise and diet interventions
  • Immune function and illness in athletes..
  • Risk factors for sports injuries.

Why did you get into research?

I always loved exercise but was not athletic! My original training was as a pharmacist. Research provided the opportunity to combine my love of exercise with my understanding of health problems to find the best ways of minimising the burden of major diseases like cardiovascular disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and depression.

What would be the ultimate goal for your research?

I would love there to be far more investment in exercise for health to improve and then provide our exercise programs to a wider spectrum of potential consumers and to see exercise used far more widely and aggressively in the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of people with health needs.

Biography

Professor Callister began her career as a pharmacist, working in community pharmacy for almost 10 years and consolidating her interest in health. By chance she found herself in Ohio, USA, with an opportunity to study physiology and discovered exercise physiology. Her initial projects were more sports science related, with opportunities to collect data at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado, and even a visit to NASA in Florida.

This early work identified illness problems in athletes and led to postdoctoral training in the need for a balance between diet and exercise. This was followed by further postdoctoral training in cardiovascular physiology in Arizona. On return to Australia, she obtained a lecturer position at the University of Newcastle where she has built her research career.

For the past 15 years her work has focused on health issues related to exercise, ranging from immune-related illness in athletes in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Sport, to addressing obesity including asthmatics with obesity, Type 2 diabetes, depression and stroke recovery, as well as trying to identify ways to reduce sports injuries in amateur athletes. 

Professor Callister has published her research findings in over 160 papers in scientific journals, and presented her work more than 200 times at conferences in Australia and overseas. Her research has been funded by grants from NHMRC, ARC, Heart Foundation and beyondblue. She has supervised a number of PhD and Masters students to completion of their research degrees, and continues to mentor many young researchers.

She also hosts a number of undergraduate students from the USA each year as interns in her research group. In 2012 she was awarded Research Supervisor of the Year by the UON Postgraduate Students Association. She has also received a number of awards in collaboration with her colleagues for her research in obesity treatment and prevention.

Future Focus

I am working to determine whether a supervised exercise program is an effective treatment for young people with depression and also investigating the effects of regular exercise training on fitness after stroke and whether an exercise program can improve hand and arm function after stroke.

Specialised/Technical Skills

  • Lifestyle interventions involving exercise
  • Assessment of physical fitness including aerobic fitness and strength
  • Developing practical and cost effective ways to use exercise for health benefits
  • Spokesperson on exercise eg ABC radio, newspapers

Affiliations

 

2018

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind: An exercise intervention for the treatment of youth depression
Project Grant
Description:

There has been considerable research into the use of exercise for the treatment of depression in adults, however the majority of research in adolescent major depressive disorder (MDD) over the past decade has focused on the efficacy of medications and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), with these methods only achieving rates of remission of 30% to 40% and high rates of relapse among those responding positively (Kennard et al., 2006).  

more

2017

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind: An exercise intervention for the treatment of youth depression
Project Grant
Description:

There has been considerable research into the use of exercise for the treatment of depression in adults, however the majority of research in adolescent major depressive disorder (MDD) over the past decade has focused on the efficacy of medications and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), with these methods only achieving rates of remission of 30% to 40% and high rates of relapse among those responding positively (Kennard et al., 2006).  

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SHED-IT Recharge: Development and evaluation of a gender-tailored program designed to improve men's physical and mental health
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Description:

Phase I of this study will investigate feasibility and efficacy of a self-help, gender-tailored weight loss program for male workers with or without the provision of additional program components targeting stress and mental health  (SHED-IT only vs. SHED-IT plus SHED-IT: Recharge).

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2016

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind: An exercise intervention for the treatment of youth depression
Project Grant
Description:

There has been considerable research into the use of exercise for the treatment of depression in adults, however the majority of research in adolescent major depressive disorder (MDD) over the past decade has focused on the efficacy of medications and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), with these methods only achieving rates of remission of 30% to 40% and high rates of relapse among those responding positively (Kennard et al., 2006).  

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BUST-Stroke “Breaking Up Sitting Time after Stroke. A new paradigm for reducing recurrent stroke risk”
Project Grant
Researchers:

Associate Professor Coralie English, Dr Heidi Janssen, Associate Professor Rohan Walker, Professor Neil Spratt, Professor Robin Callister

Description:

Sitting for long periods of time each day increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Stroke survivors living at home spend 75% of their waking hours sitting down, which is much higher than healthy people of a similar age, making them at particularly high risk.

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Evaluation of a type 2 diabetes risk reduction program for women with recent gestational diabetes
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Researchers:

Dr Megan Rollo, Professor Clare Collins, Dr Melinda Hutchesson, Professor Robin Callister

Description:

Pregnancy is like a stress test, revealing a woman's long term risk to developing Type II Diabetes. Post delivery is the ideal time to address lifestyle risk factors but many women with gestational diabetes report a lack of support at this crucial time.

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2015

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind: An exercise intervention for the treatment of youth depression
Project Grant
Description:

There has been considerable research into the use of exercise for the treatment of depression in adults, however the majority of research in adolescent major depressive disorder (MDD) over the past decade has focused on the efficacy of medications and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), with these methods only achieving rates of remission of 30% to 40% and high rates of relapse among those responding positively (Kennard et al., 2006).  

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Jennie Thomas Medical Research Travel Grant
Travel Grant
Description:

The proposed travel will include both a visit to an institution and attendance at a conference. 

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2014

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind: An exercise intervention for the treatment of youth depression
Project Grant
Description:

There has been considerable research into the use of exercise for the treatment of depression in adults, however the majority of research in adolescent major depressive disorder (MDD) over the past decade has focused on the efficacy of medications and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), with these methods only achieving rates of remission of 30% to 40% and high rates of relapse among those responding positively (Kennard et al., 2006).  

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The HEY MAN pilot study: using eHealth to Enhance Your Mental health, Physical Activity and Nutrition in young men.
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Clare Collins, Frances Kay-Lambkin, Melinda Hutchesson, Philip Morgan, Megan Rollo, Robin Callister, Geoff Skinner 

Description:

Consistent evidence confirms that excessive stress can adversely affect physical and mental health.

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The Supporting Children's Outcomes using Rewards, Exercise and Skills (SCORES) study
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Description:

One third of Australian children are not sufficiently active of good health and this is particularly true of children from disadvantaged schools.

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2013

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind: An exercise intervention for the treatment of youth depression
Project Grant
Description:

There has been considerable research into the use of exercise for the treatment of depression in adults, however the majority of research in adolescent major depressive disorder (MDD) over the past decade has focused on the efficacy of medications and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), with these methods only achieving rates of remission of 30% to 40% and high rates of relapse among those responding positively (Kennard et al., 2006).  

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Dietary antioxidant intervention for reversal of airway inflammation and respiratory illness in athletes
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Lisa Wood, Professor David Pyne, Professor Maree Gleeson, Professor Robin Callister

Description:

The risk of common respiratory illnesses compromising the ability of an athlete to train and/or compete to their optimal ability is well understood by coaches and athletes.

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Improving Fitness, Function, Fatigue and Feelings through physical Fun: a pilot trial for stroke survivors IFFFFF
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Description:

Stroke is common in Australia and the number of people experiencing stroke will increase with the ageing population.

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Effects of two different diets on inflammatory and oxidative stress biomarker responses to exercise in overweight men and women
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Description:

Comparing the body’s response to diet and exercise in overweight men and women

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Long-term follow up of the PULSE Type 2 Diabetes prevention program for men
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Description:

Type 2 Diabetes is the fastest growing chronic disease in Australia.

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Validation of a Food Frequency Questionnaire to detect changes in diet-related cardiovascular disease risk
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Description:

Diet and Cardiovascular disease risk

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Translation of the Healthy Dads Healthy Kids program in local communities: Transitioning for sustainability
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Description:

Transition of HDHK program from researcher-run model to a community-run model over 12 months.

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The Supporting Children's Outcomes using Rewards, Exercise and Skills (SCORES) study
Project Grant
Description:

One third of Australian children are not sufficiently active of good health and this is particularly true of children from disadvantaged schools.

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The Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids community program: Promoting family health through sustainable school and community partnerships
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Description:

In 2008-09, a rigorous, randomised controlled trial of the Healthy Dad, Healthy Kids (HDHK) program was conducted at the University of Newcastle.

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2012

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind: An exercise intervention for the treatment of youth depression
Project Grant
Description:

There has been considerable research into the use of exercise for the treatment of depression in adults, however the majority of research in adolescent major depressive disorder (MDD) over the past decade has focused on the efficacy of medications and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), with these methods only achieving rates of remission of 30% to 40% and high rates of relapse among those responding positively (Kennard et al., 2006).  

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A laboratory-based model to identify the risk of respiratory illness in athletes
Project Grant
Researchers:

Emeritus Professor Maree Gleeson, David Pyne, Lisa Wood, Robin Callister, Peggy Horn

Evaluation of a workplace-based weight-loss program for men: The POWER (Preventing Obesity Without Eating like a Rabbit) trial at Tomago
Project Grant
The Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids community program: Promoting family health through sustainable school and community partnerships
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The Supporting Children's Outcomes using Rewards, Exercise and Skills (SCORES) study
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Reducing mid-aged men’s risk of Type 2 Diabetes
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2011

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind: An exercise intervention for the treatment of youth depression
Project Grant
Description:

There has been considerable research into the use of exercise for the treatment of depression in adults, however the majority of research in adolescent major depressive disorder (MDD) over the past decade has focused on the efficacy of medications and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), with these methods only achieving rates of remission of 30% to 40% and high rates of relapse among those responding positively (Kennard et al., 2006).  

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HMRI Grant in Sports Medicine
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Researchers:

Professor Maree Gleeson, David Pyne, Lisa Wood, Robin Callister

Engaging men to maintain weight loss using innovative and cost-effective interventions: The SHED-IT weight loss maintenance pilot study
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Feasibility and efficacy of a diet and exercise prevention program for men at high risk of Type 2 Diabetes - Lions District 2013 N3 Diabetes Foundation Diabetes Project Grant
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Feasibility of targeting parents with heart disease to improve the heart health of their children
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The Supporting Children's Outcomes using Rewards, Exercise and Skills (SCORES) study
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Evaluation of a workplace-based weight-loss program for men: The POWER (Preventing Obesity Without Eating like a Rabbit) trial at Tomago
Project Grant

2010

Evaluation of a workplace-based weight-loss program for men: The POWER (Preventing Obesity Without Eating like a Rabbit) trial at Tomago
Project Grant
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind: An exercise intervention for the treatment of youth depression
Project Grant
Description:

There has been considerable research into the use of exercise for the treatment of depression in adults, however the majority of research in adolescent major depressive disorder (MDD) over the past decade has focused on the efficacy of medications and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), with these methods only achieving rates of remission of 30% to 40% and high rates of relapse among those responding positively (Kennard et al., 2006).  

more
Healthy Dads Healthy Kids for Indigenous populations
Project Grant
Researchers:

2009

The Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids community program: Promoting family health through sustainable school and community partnerships
Project Grant
Researchers:
Evaluation of a workplace-based weight-loss program for men: The POWER (Preventing Obesity Without Eating like a Rabbit) trial at Tomago
Project Grant
Development of the SHED-IT weight loss programs for men
Project Grant
Evaluation of the Hunter Healthy Business Program
Project Grant

2008

The "Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids" Project" Feasibility and Benefits of a Father-Focused Child Obesity Prevention Intervention.
Project Grant
Researchers: