Professor Susan Prescottis Co-Director of The ORIGINS Project and is a leading international authority on environmental influences on early immune development and intervention studies for allergy prevention. Her research team is recognised as one of the foremost groups in the world in this field. She is a Professor of Paediatrics in the School of Medicine at the University of Western Australia and a Paediatrician and an Immunologist at the Perth Children’s Hospital.
Professor Prescott is also founding Director of inViVO Planetary Health, a global initiative of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN). This interdisciplinary network is focused on the links between personal and planetary health through social and ecological justice.
Professor Prescott's landmark studies on early immune development (Lancet 1999) led to a paradigm shift in the understanding of the pathogenesis of allergic disease, and the importance of the early environment. Her interests and expertise are focused around early life risk factors for inflammation as an antecedent (and preventive target) for a broad range of noncommunicable diseases (NCD), with a particular interest in early onset NCDs such as allergy, obesity and mental health.
In addition to over 300 scientific publications, she is author of several books for an international public audience: The Allergy Epidemic – a Mystery of Modern Life, The Calling, and Origins - Early Life Solutions to the Modern Health Crisis, and most recently The Secret Life of Your Microbiome: Why Nature and Biodiversity are Essential to Health and Happiness – 2018 Gold Medal winner of the Independent Publishers Book Awards (health), and 2017 Finalist in the Foreword Reviews Indies Book awards. She has received numerous prizes, awards and fellowships including a Winston Churchill Fellowship. Over the course of her career Susan has raised over $52 million in research funding as Chief Investigator.
Professor Desiree Silva
Professor Desiree Silva is also Co-Director of The ORIGINS Project and Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Western Australia. She is the current Head of Paediatrics at Joondalup Health Campus and also provides a rural paediatric service.
She has a strong interest in neurodevelopmental disorders with over 25 years experience in managing children diagnosed with ADHD, autism, anxiety and developmental disorders.
Professor Silva has been involved in a number of strategic reviews including the impact of swimming pools in Aboriginal communities and paediatric planning for Western Australia. She worked with the WA Health Department on a Needs Analysis which has enabled her to be part of translational research with the Paediatric Implementation Plan which provides state-wide service level recommendations, strategies and actions for Western Australia.
She recently completed her PhD and published a number of articles on the early environmental risk factors and education and justice outcomes for children diagnosed with ADHD in Western Australia. Her PhD on risk factors and outcomes for ADHD enabled her to recognise the limited up to date information available for parents and teachers and published the ADHD Go-To Guide for teachers and parents through UWA Publishing that is currently one of their top selling books. She has been a strong advocate in understanding early brain development, nature-relatedness and improving the lives of children and parents who have mental health conditions.
Professor Silva is on the board of Nature Play WA and St Marys Anglican Girls' School. She is a strong advocate of having a healthy lifestyle, good work life balance and a sense of adventure.