iCATS - Imaging brain development in the Childhood to Adolescence Transition Study

  • Project Contact Details

    Julian Simmons
    T: +61 0405 581 085
    E: i-cats@unimelb.edu.au
    Location: Psychological Sciences Room 618 Redmond Barry Building The University of Melbourne Parkville, VIC 3010

Project Details

The iCATS study is investigating the relationships between health and puberty by looking at brain development. iCATS is an extension of the larger Childhood to Adolescence Transition Study (CATS) and is working with families who took part in CATS to examine brain development over time. We currently have funding to work with families over seven years, 2012 – 2019. Funding has been received from the Australian Research Council (DP120101402, 2012 – 2014), and the National Health & Medical Research Council (APP1082668, 2015 – 2019).

During puberty lots of changes occur. This includes changes in health and physical appearance. Puberty drives the onset of physical changes that turn children into adults, but is also associated with the onset of mental and physical health problems. There are important changes that occur in the brain during this time, and it is these changes and their relationship to health problems that we’d like to learn more about.

This project aims to be of benefit to the next generation of young Australians. It will advance knowledge about brain development and health and contribute to improvements in prevention and treatment of health problems associated with puberty.

Families were invited to participate in Wave 1 of iCATS (2012 – 2013) based on a random selection of children at different levels of development. Wave 2 of iCATS commenced in July 2015.

If you’d like any further information then please do not hesitate to contact us.


iCATS Research Team

Chief Investigators – Dr Sarah Whittle, Prof Nick Allen and Prof George Patton

Study Manager – Dr Julian Simmons

Research Assistants – Ms Mariana Antoniour

PhD Students – Carolina Barbosa and Marjolein Barendse


Media Resources


Other resources

Click the link below to see a video of a brain scan taken at the The Royal Children's Hospital:

Brain scan video (link)

Research Group

Affective Development and Psychopathology Team



Faculty Research Themes

Child Health

School Research Themes

Clinical Psychology and Clinical Neuropsychology, Developmental Psychology



Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences

Unit / Centre

Affective Development and Psychopathology Team