Dr Scott Nightingale

Dr Scott Nightingale
Project Grant
2016 Project Grant
Project Grant
2011 Project Grant

What are your research interests?

  • Eosinophilic oesophagitis (EoE for short) is a chronic disease of the oesophagus (food pipe) that causes growth and feeding problems in young children, and pain, persisting reflux symptoms and swallowing difficulties in older children and adults. It is caused by an immune reaction against food proteins. Current treatment options are limited and children often need to have repeated endoscopies. Along with the Mattes group we are actively researching the reasons why EoE develops, less invasive testing methods and new treatment options.
  • Childhood liver disease. We are involved with international multicentre drug trials that are helping local children with metabolic liver disease and hepatitis C infection. I also have an interest in improving outcomes in children with biliary atresia, the most common liver disease resulting in liver transplantation in childhood.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease. We are exploring ways to improve the effectiveness of exclusive enteral nutrition (a nutritional therapy) for Crohn disease, a debilitating chronic inflammatory bowel disease. We also collaborate with other centres in NSW to map the incidence and outcomes of inflammatory bowel disease in children.
  • Functional gastrointestinal disorders are common conditions that cause abdominal pain and other symptoms in children and adults. Treatment options are limited and not everyone has access to optimal treatments, so we are researching ways to improve access to effective treatment using internet-based technology.

Why did you get into research?

I am the only paediatric gastroenterologist in NSW outside Sydney and have a very busy clinical workload. Involvement in research allows me to try to answer some of the questions that frequently arise in clinical practice. I particularly enjoy research that has clear implications for changing the way we help children in the clinics or on the wards.

What would be the ultimate goal for your research?

Changing clinical practice for the better, and improving outcomes for children with gastrointestinal and liver disease, are the ultimate goals of my research efforts.


Dr Nightingale is a paediatric gastroenterologist and hepatologist employed as a Staff Specialist at John Hunter Children’s Hospital and Conjoint Lecturer in Paediatrics and Child Health in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Newcastle.  He completed his subspeciality training at the Children’s Hospital Westmead before undertaking further training in hepatology and liver transplantation medicine at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada.

He returned to Australia to establish the paediatric gastroenterology unit at JHCH in 2010. This is a busy, tertiary unit servicing approximately 20% of the paediatric population of NSW. Dr Nightingale is interested in research that will benefit local children and has a particular interest in eosinophilic oeosphagitis, childhood liver disease and functional gastrointestinal disorders.

Future Focus

We are fortunate to have close collaborations between clinicians in the Health Service and scientists at HMRI. I believe this collaborative research is the best way to make important and relevant discoveries that will positively impact the health of children both locally and globally.

Specialised/Technical Skills 

  • Extensive clinical experience in all aspects of paediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and endoscopy
  • Clinical trial experience in paediatric hepatology



Development and pilot study of an evidence-based internet intervention to improve symptoms, functioning and health-related quality of life in children with functional abdominal pain
Project Grant

Dr Scott Nightingale, Dr Milena Heinsch, Associate Professor Maria Kangas (Macquarie University), Professor Mike Jones (Macquarie University)


Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy, or CBT, is one of the few effective therapies for children with functional abdominal pain. But CBT sessions can be costly and difficult to access, particularly as multiple sessions are required.



Novel molecular markers in children with eosinophilic oesophagitis association with symptoms, oesophageal function and treatment response and role in disease pathogenesis
Project Grant