At IPAN, we research human health. Some of our studies require real, every-day people to take part.

We run a variety of both long and short-term studies. Some may require participants who meet certain criteria such as age, gender, health status or live in a particular postcode.

Would you be interested? You may be asked to undergo clinical tests, follow diets or exercise programs, fill in surveys or trial tools and resources.

We’re currently seeking participants in the following studies:

  • The Female Lifespan study

    About the Female Lifespan study

    We know that females and males age differently. But there is a lot we don’t know about the specifics of muscle ageing in females.

    In fact, nearly everything we know about muscle ageing is through studies conducted on males. This is because there has historically been a lack of research on female muscle.

    This research study aims to fill this knowledge gap by mapping the process of female muscle ageing across the lifespan, for a better understanding of the different factors (e.g. hormonal, functional, molecular) at play.

    We’re aiming to recruit 96 females aged 18-80 years and test their hormone levels, body composition, bone density, muscle strength and muscle function.

    Researchers will also collect a tiny piece of muscle from the thigh for lab analysis to understand which genes are important in the female muscle ageing process. This will allow a map of female muscle ageing across each decade of age, something that has never been done before.

    This study has received ethical clearance from the Deakin University Human Research Committee (DUHREC 2021-307).

    What participants are required to do

    We’re seeking participants who can visit our laboratory at Deakin University (Burwood campus) on three occasions over a period of 2-4 weeks: visit 1 (2.5 hours), visit 2 (2.5 hours) and visit 3 (an hour), which will be organised at the participant’s convenience. These visits include an assessment of muscle size, strength and function, body composition, bone density, and the collection of a tiny piece of muscle from the thigh.

    Benefits of participating in this study

    Each participant will receive a $100 voucher at the completion of the study. They will also receive a report detailing their body composition, bone density and muscle size.

    Requirements for participants

    Any biological female (defined as someone who was born with two X chromosomes) aged between 18-80years may be eligible to participate, unless they have a neurological disorder, cancer, or are in remission from cancer.

    Interested? Click  here  for more information or to sign up.

    Project manager: Briana Gatto (

    Principal investigators: Dr Danielle Hiam ( and A/Prof. Severine Lamon (


  • Eating in context study

    The study aims to understand the ways through which individual and everyday factors affect food choices at different eating occasions, and how this impacts health.

    Participants must be:

    • Aged between 18 and 64 years
    • Living in Victoria, Australia
    • Not currently pregnant or breastfeeding
    • Own a smartphone, desktop computer, laptop, or tablet with internet access
    • Can communicate confidently in English (e.g. speak, read, and write English)

    Participation involves:

    • Completing an online survey.
    • Visit to a research clinic at Deakin University, Burwood Campus to measure your height, weight, waist circumference and blood pressure.
    • Wearing a physical activity monitor, use of a wearable camera, completion of three online 24-hour food recalls and a fasting blood sample collection at your local clinic during the week following your clinic visit.

    Upon completion of all components, participants will be given a $30 shopping voucher for their participation.

    For more information or to register, click here. 

    Eating in Context Study Contact Details

    Phone: 03 9246 8324


    This study has received Deakin University ethics approval (reference number: 2021-267)

  • Is impaired muscle blood flow linked to type 2 diabetes?

    This study is investigating whether impaired blood flow through small blood vessels in skeletal muscle is related to exercise intolerance (reduced ability to exercise) and poor blood sugar control.

    We are trying to determine whether three months of exercise training can improve impaired blood flow through small blood vessels in skeletal muscle; ability to exercise; and blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes.

    The study is being conducted by researchers from the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition at Deakin University and the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute.

    You may be eligible for this study if you meet the following criteria:

    • Aged 40–80 years,
    • Have type 2 diabetes and are treated with diet alone or medicated with hypoglycaemic agents (medications to reduce blood glucose) for a minimum of 3 months, and
    • Are not taking insulin to control your blood sugar levels.

    What’s involved?

    • Six visits to Deakin University and 3 months of either home-based exercise training or usual care.
    • The home-based, high intensity exercise program will be guided by exercise professionals.
    • On your visits to Deakin University, you will undergo various tests, including:
      • X-ray body composition analysis;
      • Exercise testing;
      • Ultrasound assessments; and
      • Blood and muscle samples.

    What are the benefits of joining this study?

    • Participants will either receive a free heart rate monitoring strap or the equivalent value gift card ($150) for their time.
    • You may gain a better understanding of your fitness level, general health, and how exercise may be used to improve your health.
    • You’ll be helping our researchers get a better understanding of health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, and how exercise can be used to prevent and manage these conditions.

    What’s next?

    If you’re interested in this study, please email Dr Hannah Thomas to receive further information as well as registration details.

    This study has received Deakin University ethics approval.

    Research team contact details:

    Dr Hannah Thomas:

    Dr Lewan Parker:, +61 3 9246 8740

    A/Prof Michelle Keske:, +61 3 9246 8850

  • How does short-term overfeeding affect our cardio-metabolic health?

    This study aims to investigate the impact of eating high fat, high calorie snacks over seven days on blood sugar control and blood flow in muscle and fat tissue.

    Are you 18-45 years old with no dietary allergies or known history of cardiometabolic disease? If so, you might be eligible to participate in our study.

    What participation involves:

    • Completing general health, diet and physical activity questionnaires.
    • Body composition analysis (height, weight and scan).
    • Ingestion of a liquid mixed meal followed by blood sampling and lipid infusion.
    • Ultrasound measurement of the arm/thigh and abdomen region.
    • Wearing a face mask/mouthpiece to measure oxygen and fuel metabolism.
    • High fat, high calorie snacks prescribed by a dietitian to eat at home over seven days.
    • Three visits to Deakin University (Burwood campus) for approximately half a day each time.

    Participants will receive:

    • Free information on your fat mass, fat free mass and bone density
    • Free information on your glucose levels, blood lipids and insulin sensitivity
    • A $150 supermarket gift card as reimbursement for your time and travel expenses (to Deakin Burwood campus).

    To register or for more information, please contact Dr Gunveen Kaur, Senior Lecturer in Nutritional Sciences

  • Whole-body vibration platforms to improve blood flow and blood sugar

    This research will determine if standing on vibration platforms improves leg blood flow and blood sugar to help people with blood flow abnormalities or risk of diabetes.

    We are interested in people from the general population with and without diabetes.

    We are looking for people who:

    • Have a body mass index (BMI) over 27 (calculate your BMI here)
    • Do not smoke and have no history of heart attack or stroke

    What is required:
    This study requires participants to visit Deakin’s Burwood campus on two occasions, for about 3 hours each time, plus an introduction meeting (1 hr).

    The following tests will be conducted:

    • Intermittent standing on a vibration platform (3 min bouts)
    • Ultrasound assessment of blood vessel health
    • Measurement of blood sugar levels after a sugar drink

    For more information or to express interest in participating in this study, please contact Emily Wordie-Thompson  or Dr Andrew Betik :


  • Understanding blood flow through the smallest blood vessels in the muscle

    Measuring blood flow in the capillaries of the muscle is of utmost importance as this is where oxygen, sugar and other nutrients are delivered to a working muscle. How to do this is technically challenging, so this project will compare two approaches to make this easier for clinicians and sport scientists.

    We are looking for

    • males and females 18-40 years of age
    • Have a body mass index (BMI) below 25 (calculate your BMI here)

    What is required:

    An ultrasound will measure blood flow through the thigh muscle at rest, after heating the muscle for 5 min and during knee exercise. Participants will be required to visit Deakin’s Burwood campus on two occasions for no longer than 2 hours.

    For more information or to express interest in participating in this study, please contact Emily Wordie-Thompson  or Dr Andrew Betik :

  • Can antioxidants improve blood flow and metabolism of high sugar drinks?

    IPAN researchers are investigating whether antioxidant treatment can improve blood flow and metabolism of a high-sugar drink in healthy adults.

    If you are interested and can attend two testing sessions at Deakin University, Burwood campus, contact

  • Do you have type 2 diabetes? Our mobile app could help you Sit Less and Move More.

    The purpose of this study is to determine whether a behaviour change intervention using the iMove app reduces sitting time and increases standing and walking time for adults with type 2 diabetes in Australia.

    You can join this study if you:

    • Have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes
    • Own an android mobile phone
    • Are aged 35 to 65 years
    • Can engage in light activities (e.g. walking)
    • Can communicate easily in English

    For this study, you will be asked to use an android mobile app and a rechargeable activity tracker for 42 days. You will receive motivational messages every day to help reduce your sitting time and encourage you to walk more.

    Participants who complete the trial will receive a $40 gift card.

    For more information or to register, click here.

    Contact: Reza Daryabeygi | | phone: +61 392445936


  • INfant Feeding, Active play and NuTrition (INFANT) program and My Baby Now app

    INFANT and the My Baby Now app have been designed to help parents and families with healthy eating and active play from the start of their baby’s life.

    INFANT researchers at the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN) are looking for families to help evaluate the INFANT program (sessions and/or app, called My Baby Now). This evaluation will be used to enhance the usefulness of support available to parents/ caregivers regarding the health of their baby.

    Who can be involved:

    • first time parent with a baby younger than 4 months old
    • baby born at 37 or more weeks gestation
    • parent at least 18 years old
    • parent living in Victoria
    • Interested in being contacted about the evaluation surveys at 12 and 18 months.

    What is involved?

    • Sign-up to the free My Baby Now App and opt to participate in the evaluation.
    • Parents and caregivers living in local government areas providing the INFANT program may be invited to attend INFANT group sessions when their baby is around 3, 6, 9 and 12 months old.
    • Parents and caregivers who opted to participate in the evaluation will be invited to complete 2 online surveys, one when their child is around 12 months old and another when their child is 18 months old.
    • Each survey will take around 20-30 minutes to complete and will ask about infant feeding, activities, and questions about the parent/caregiver.

     What participants will receive? Parents and caregivers will have access to up-to-date and trusted information about feeding and active play, for giving their baby the best start to life. Additionally, parents and caregivers who opt to be involved in our research will also receive a $10 grocery voucher for each completed survey at 12 and 18 months (two total) as compensation for their time.

    Interested? Sign up for the My Baby Now App

    You can also download the app from the App Store or Google Play and register for a new account.

    For further information please contact the INFANT research team at

  • BIG ED study | Effect of evidence-based clinical guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of low back pain in primary care: a 12-week follow- up study

    THE PROBLEM | Low back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide and affects approximately four million Australians (16% of the population). Low back pain is the seventh most common reason for attending the emergency department in Australia with  more than 130,000 presentations per year.

    WHAT WE KNOW | The management of low back pain shortly after onset (e.g. within the emergency department) can predict long-term patient (e.g. pain intensity and disability) and societal outcomes (e.g. financial costs to the healthcare system).

    WHAT WE DON’T KNOW | Does evidence-based clinical guideline adherence for the management of low back pain impact patient and societal outcomes? Is there an association between guideline adherence and the development of chronic low back pain? Do general expectations and/or treatment-specific expectations predict changes in patient and societal outcomes?

    THE SOLUTION | We are inviting 90 adults who present with low back pain to the Box Hill Hospital emergency department to participate in a 12-week cohort study. Participants will be asked to complete five brief online surveys over the 12-week follow-up regarding their recovery.

    This is a collaboration between Deakin University and Eastern Health. Ethical approval was provided by Deakin University (2021-197) and Eastern Health (LR20-114-70494) Human Research Ethics Committees.

    For further information, please email Dr Patrick Owen (

  • How gender and hormones regulate vascular function in exercise and health

    Men and women have different risks for cardiovascular disease, which differ pre and post menopause. This project will determine how hormones (eg testosterone, estrogen, progesterone) affect vascular function and glucose control during exercise and after consuming a meal.

    We are looking for males and females 18-40 years of age to volunteer for this study, who also meet the following conditions:

    • Females who are not taking hormonal contraception
    • Non-smoker, no history of heart attack, stroke or diabetes
    • Not taking medications or supplements that affect blood sugar levels

    This study requires a minimum of 2 visits to the laboratory (Deakin University, Burwood), spread out over 2 months. Each visit is ~ 2.5 hours, and a $25 gift card is offered for each completed visit.

    Resting metabolic rate, blood flow through the muscles, and blood glucose measurements will be taken before and after consuming a meal, as well as during 5 min of light handgrip exercise.

    For more information, contact Dr Andrew Betik

  • How do stomach hormones affect blood flow in your muscle?

    We are interested in understanding how high sugar drinks affect blood flow in the muscle,  via the release of stomach hormones.

    This will help us understand why sugar is not good for our cardiovascular system.

    You may be suitable for this study if you are:

    • Aged between 18-50 years old
    • Normal weight
    • Non-smoking
    • No personal history of pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease
      (e.g heart attack or stroke)
    • Have normal blood pressure

    Participation in this study involves three visits to Deakin University (Burwood Campus) research laboratory. The overall time commitment will be about nine hours spread out over the three visits.

    Participants who complete the trial will receive a $100 gift card.

    For more information, please contact: A/Prof Michelle Keske: or (03) 9246 8850

    Katherine Roberts-Thomson: or 0408 103 982

  • Smart Homes for Heart Failure project: Seeking people living with or caring for someone with heart failure
    We want to understand how people with heart failure manage their condition for the ‘Smart Homes for Heart Failure’ project. We are particularly interested in the activities someone with heart failure carries out to manage their condition, what additional support they would like, and their use of technology. We are conducting 30-60 minute phone/Zoom interviews to help us understand these topics.
    If you are eligible to take part, we will provide detailed information about this research and ask you for your consent to participate.
    After the interview, you will be compensated for your time with a $20 supermarket voucher.
    For further information, contact Rebecca Nourse at OR 0392443075
    For details and to register, click here.
  • How does your body composition affect blood vessel function?

    We are investigating whether exercising regularly or not affects the small blood vessels in your muscle and how your body processes sugar after a meal.

    We are interested in people with a range of body sizes and either physically active or not.

    We are looking for participants:

    • who have a body mass index (BMI) over 27, AND
    • are non-active: do less than 30 min/week of moderate intensity exercise;


    • Regular exercisers: who do more than 150 min of regular exercise/week

    All participants must also

    • Be a non-smoker, with no history of heart attack, stroke or diabetes
    • Not be taking medications or supplements that affect blood sugar levels

    This study requires two visits to the laboratory, for a total of approximately five hours. The following tests will be conducted:

    • Body composition analysis scan (DEXA);
    • VO2 max (i.e. aerobic fitness);
    • Measurement of resting metabolic rate (how many calories you burn) and if your body prefers to burn sugars or fats;
    • Ultrasound assessment of blood vessel health;
    • Venous blood sampling for blood glucose, insulin and cholesterol.

    For more information, contact
    Dr Andrew Betik at

  • What is the role of testosterone in female skeletal muscle adaptation?

    This project aims to understand the relationship between naturally occurring testosterone levels and how skeletal muscle responds to resistance exercise in females. Currently, this relationship is not well understood. Investigating this relationship may help us understand how muscle mass is regulated in females and inform current policies regarding the eligibility of some women to compete in sport.

    What is involved in this project?

    Participants are invited to undergo 12 weeks of FREE resistance training, supervised by an exercise scientist. Trainings take place at Deakin Burwood campus three times a week. As well as receiving training, you will gain information about your maximal strength, testosterone levels and how well your muscles adapt to resistance training.

    Across the 12 weeks, researchers will take two muscle samples, 7 blood and urine samples, and food, sleep and physical activity information.

    Can I participate?

    Participants must be:

    • Aged 18-40 years old
    • Female
    • NOT currently resistance trained
    • Other selection criteria apply

    If you are interested, please contact Sarah Alexander on 0448 384 094 or email

  • Imagined strength training in older adults

    It is well known that strength training leads to increased muscular strength but engaging in this training might not always be possible, such as during the recovery of major injuries.

    Research has shown us that imagined strength training activates the brain and leads to increases in strength that are similar to those found with physical strength training. To date, there have been few direct comparisons between the two.

    This study aims to address this gap by directly comparing the strength changes following imagined and physical strength training within older adults.

    We’re looking to recruit 36 healthy older adults aged 65 and over to test their hand strength and central nervous system functioning. Tests will involve a form of non-invasive and painless magnetic stimulation before and after a 2-week hand training program.

    We are looking for people who:

    • Have no musculoskeletal or neurological disorders that limit the voluntary movement of the hand or forearm muscles.
    • Have no history of brain related injuries or neurological conditions.
    • Have an internet connected device suitable for online video calls.

    What is required:

    Participants will be required to attend our laboratory at Deakin University for five total visits. Three of these visits will be assessment sessions (approx. 2 hours each) followed by two training sessions (approx. 20 mins each). The remaining training sessions will be held online via video conferencing platform Zoom.

    Participants will receive a $50 Coles and Myer Gift card on completion of the study.

    How do I participate?

    If you are interested in participating please register your interest here.

    For further information please contact:

    Jeffrey Lim:

  • Can exercise training improve blood vessel health in people living with atrial fibrillation?

    Researchers from the Institute of Physical Activity and Nutrition at Deakin University are conducting a study investigating the effect of exercise training on blood vessel health in adults living with atrial fibrillation. This research includes a free 12-week supervised exercise training program with an Accredited Exercise Physiologist. Additionally, researchers are comparing the blood vessel health of people with atrial fibrillation and those living without this abnormal heart rhythm.

    You may be eligible for this study if you meet the following criteria:

    • Age: 40-80 years
    • Have a clinical diagnosis of atrial fibrillation that is confirmed by a physician or do not have atrial fibrillation or other health conditions
    • Not regularly exercising at moderate or vigorous intensities (≥150 minutes per week)

    This study will be conducted at the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition at Deakin University, Burwood Campus and will involve 2x 1 hour supervised exercise sessions at Deakin University and 1x 30 minutes unsupervised exercise session per week from home for 12 weeks. Additionally, to determine the effects of the exercise training program on blood vessel health outcomes 2x 2 hour assessment days before and after the exercise programs will be conducted. The exercise program assignment is randomised and the participant will be assigned to either:

    (i) combined exercise training involving moderate-intensity interval training plus weight training; or

    (ii) a yoga and pilates based exercise program.

    Participants enrolled in this study will be provided with a Polar Heart Rate monitor which they may keep and receive a free tailored exercise program prescribed by an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (valued at ~$800). Additionally, participants have the option to receive their health test results.

    For further information on this study, please contact:

    • Dr. Kim Way:
    • Ms. Sian O’Gorman:
  • Can exercise improve intervertebral discs in individuals with back pain?

    The ASTEROID trial

    We are currently looking for adults (>18 years old) that have persisting (>12 weeks) low back pain to participate in an innovative study to help us better understand how exercise influences spinal discs and low back pain.

    As a leading cause of disability, back pain is predicted to cost Australians around $9.2billion per year. Low back pain remaining for longer than 12 weeks is classed as ‘persisting’ and affects around 20% of people worldwide. For some people, disc degeneration may be the cause of their low back pain. Most treatments have little impact on improving spinal disc health. However, recent evidence suggests that certain types of exercise (e.g. jogging) may help strengthen spinal discs.

    To better understand this, this study will explore how spinal discs respond to an interval-based walking/jogging training program. We will monitor spinal changes on MRI in addition to assessing various health-related markers (e.g. physical, mental and social health and inflammatory blood markers).

    Over a 12-week period, all participants will undergo assessments on three occasions (baseline, 6 weeks and 12 weeks).

    These assessments include:

    1) Lumbar spine imaging via MRI

    2) Questionnaires assessing physical, mental and social health

    And on two occasions (baseline and 12 week):

    3) Provide two blood draws at a local pathology centre.

    Participants will be randomly assigned to either:

    • the exercise intervention group or
    • a control group who will receive access to the exercise intervention after the 12-weeks.

    The exercise intervention is designed to be completed on participants own time and place (e.g. a walking track) three days per week for 20-30 minutes each. Participants will be assessed and supported by an Accredited Exercise Physiologist over the 12 weeks. Upon completion of the study, participants will receive a copy and report of their spine MRI scan and blood results.

    To be eligible to participate in this study, you will need to meet the following inclusion criteria:

    • 18 years or older
    • Persisting low back pain (pain between ribs and hips) for longer than 12 weeks.

    If you think you fit the criteria for the project and are interested in participating, please register your interest here.

    One of the research team will then be in touch to give you more details and confirm your eligibility.


  • Seeking GP participation: Have you treated a patient for osteoporosis or fragility fracture in the past 12 months?

    The interFRACT study at Deakin University

    Researchers within the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition at Deakin University (Burwood campus) are pursuing GPs to participate in a new study that aims to co-design a post-fracture care pathway for the primary care setting that will enhance detection of osteoporosis in older adults and improve adherence to fracture prevention strategies.

    We are seeking GPs to take part in a semi-structured interview to elucidate information regarding their current clinical practices and experiences with osteoporosis treatment/secondary fracture prevention. The interviews will explore GP views about selection of osteoporosis medicines and use of different treatments; beliefs and perceived role in secondary fracture prevention; and potential barriers and enablers to the implementation of a post-fracture care pathway in their clinics.

    Interviews can be conducted in-person, via telephone, or via video-conferencing (Zoom) and will run for approximately 30 minutes. Anything you tell us in the interview is confidential.

    If you are interested in participating in this study or have a colleague that might be interested, please contact Dr Jason Talevski at or (03) 9244 5116. For a detailed description of the study you may also read the Plain Language Statement.

    This study has received Deakin University ethics approval (Project ID: HEAG-H 56_2022).


  • Early childhood education and care workers: Join a research study exploring your confidence and skills surrounding child health behaviours!

    The aim of the study:

    • To explore the knowledge, confidence and skills of early childhood education and care professionals about promoting child movement behaviours and healthy eating

    Who is suitable for the study?  

    • Early childhood education and care (ECEC) workers (childcare staff, early childhood educators, childcare centre directors/administrators, family daycare workers)
    • Currently living within Australia
    • 18 years or older and able to read English

    What is required of participants?

    • Complete a 30 minute online survey

    Once the survey is submitted, participants will have the opportunity to enter a draw for one of 50 x $50 supermarket e-vouchers (Coles or Woolworths) as compensation for the time taken to complete this survey.  They will need to provide a valid ECEC work email to enter the draw.

    For details and to take the survey, click here.
    Contact details
    For further information, contact Ms Steffi Renehan from the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University on (03) 9244 5916 or email: