Centre for Behavioural
Research in Cancer

Meet the team

Melanie Wakefield

Melanie Wakefield  AO

BA, DIP Appl Psych, MA (Applied Psych), PhD

Director, CBRC

Melanie is a behavioural scientist with qualifications from the University of Adelaide in South Australia. She has conducted research on health behaviour since 1983, working in Australia, England and the United States. Her particular research interests include the implementation and evaluation of tobacco control mass media campaigns and tobacco control policies, and the application and extension of tobacco control research methods into other areas of cancer prevention. 

Full Melanie Wakefield profile

Sarah Durkin

Sarah Durkin

BA (Psych), PgradDip (Psych), PhD

Principal Research Fellow, CBRC

Sarah has been working in health behaviour research since 1997 and at Cancer Council Victoria since 2003. She holds an Honorary Associate Professor position at Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences. Sarah leads studies examining the impact of mass reach media campaigns in tobacco control and bowel cancer screening, and collaborates on studies of alcohol and obesity prevention communications. She works closely with the staff of the Prevention Division at Cancer Council and her research examines and informs their programs. She regularly provides advice and assistance to various state, national and international anti-smoking and health agencies.

Michelle Scollo

Michelle Scollo

PhD

Senior Policy Advisor, Tobacco

Dr Michelle Scollo is the senior policy adviser on tobacco at Cancer Council Victoria. Michelle's research has focussed on the economics of tobacco control. Until 2003, she was co-director of the VicHealth Centre for Tobacco Control; a legal, economic and social research centre. Her areas of interest include smoking and social disadvantage, price-related marketing and tax policy. Since undertaking her Ph D, she has worked in Cancer Council's Behavioural Science Division, mainly in the monitoring of pricing and consumption of tobacco products. Michelle is Editor of Australia's comprehensive on-line resource, Tobacco in Australia: facts and issues.

Helen Dixon

Helen Dixon

DipArts, BA (Hons), PhD

Principal Research Fellow, Obesity Prevention

Helen has been conducting behavioural research applied to cancer prevention and public health since the mid-1990’s. Her main area of research endeavour involves assessing adult’s and children’s responses to health-relevant media and communications, especially in relation to nutrition and obesity prevention. This work includes population surveys and experimental studies assessing consumer responses to public health campaigns, nutrition labelling interventions and commercial product marketing. Helen regularly collaborates with Cancer Council’s Prevention Division, the Obesity Policy Coalition, and other external researchers and health educators involved in chronic disease prevention. She is an Honorary Principal Fellow in the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences at The University of Melbourne (where she earlier completed her PhD) and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at Curtin University.

Suzanne Dobbinson

Suzanne Dobbinson

BSc, MSc, PhD

Senior Research Fellow, Skin Cancer Prevention

Suzanne has a Master of Science degree and a PhD in Public Health and has been working in public health research since 1992. She completed her PhD with the School of Community Health at the University of New South Wales in 2000. She works closely with the staff of SunSmart, the skin cancer control program of Cancer Council Victoria. Her research informs the development of the program through a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods, formative, impact and outcome research. Her research interests relate to exploring the patterns and causes of sun protective and sun exposing behaviours, and include assessing the impact of strategies to improve environmental supports for sun protection.

Emily Brennan

Emily Brennan

BSc (Hons), PhD

Senior Research Fellow

Emily earned her PhD in Psychology from the University of Melbourne in 2012. After her PhD, she completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. She has worked in cancer prevention research since 2006, with a particular focus on studying the ways in which public communication interventions can be used to reduce unhealthy behaviours like tobacco use and harmful levels of alcohol consumption. Emily's research has involved the use of population surveys, observational studies and experiments to evaluate and inform the development of more effective mass media campaigns and consumer warning labels.

Ashleigh Haynes

Ashleigh Haynes

BPsych (Hons), PhD

David Hill Fellow

Ashleigh was awarded her PhD in Psychology from Flinders University in 2016, where her work focused on cognitive influences on unhealthy snacking behaviour. She then joined the Department of Psychological Sciences at the University of Liverpool in the UK where she led research examining the effect of food portion size on energy intake and was involved in research on meal energy content and calorie/kilojoule labelling practices in UK restaurants. Ashleigh has adopted a range of behavioural science methods including behavioural and cognitive experiments, laboratory-based assessment of nutritional intake, and observational and questionnaire methods to investigate environmental, cognitive, and social influences on obesogenic behaviour. Ashleigh joined Cancer Council Victoria in 2019 as the David Hill Fellow.

Belinda Morley

Belinda Morley

BA (Hons), MPH, PhD

Research and Evaluation Manager, Obesity Prevention

A registered psychologist, Belinda has a PhD in psychology and Master of Public Health and has been working in public health research and evaluation since 2001. Belinda began her research career in the Program Evaluation Unit at the University of Melbourne's School of Population Health where she was a Research Fellow, evaluating studies and commonwealth mental health programs as well as physical activity in primary care. As Obesity Prevention Research and Evaluation Manager, she undertakes behavioural research projects and program evaluation studies to support obesity prevention initiatives in collaboration with our Cancer Prevention Centre and the Obesity Policy Coalition. Belinda is experienced in research to evaluate mass media campaigns to inform public communication on obesity prevention as well as population monitoring of secondary students' overweight/obesity prevalence and diet and physical activity behaviours. She has also undertaken applied research to evaluate the impact of obesity prevention policies and population surveys to measure support for potential regulatory measures.

Linda Hayes

Linda Hayes

BSc (Hons), MSc

Research and Evaluation Manager, Quit Victoria

Linda has a Masters degree in Health Psychology from the University of Bath, UK, and prior to joining CBRC worked within the Victorian State Government for five years, co-ordinating population health surveys as part of the Victorian Child and Adolescent Monitoring System. Originally from the UK, Linda has also worked as a research assistant evaluating a variety of health promotion initiatives in English schools. Linda works closely with staff from Quit Victoria to oversee the Victorian Smoking and Health Survey and to evaluate mass media campaigns.

Kerryann Lotfi-Jam

Kerryann Lotfi-Jam

BA (Soc Sc), PgradDip( Psych)

Research and Evaluation Manager, Screening, early detection and immunisation

With a background in Psychology, Kerryann Lotfi-Jam is an experienced researcher with expertise in designing, evaluating, analysing and reporting health programs and research. Since 2006, she has worked on a range of programs across the cancer trajectory including screening and prevention, patient experiences and post treatment survivorship care. She has also lectured on research methodologies at the University of Melbourne and enjoys mentoring staff to develop evaluation skills and capacity. Her role in CBRC focuses on the evaluation of strategies that aim to improve cancer screening, early detection and immunisation participation rates in Victoria.