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Research and publications

  • Research team

    Dr Misel Trajanovska PhD – Research Coordinator

    Professor Sebastian King – Director, CPRS

    Ms Jessica Taranto – Clinical Nurse Consultant

    Dr Kim-Michelle Gilson – Psychologist



    • Long-term outcomes of children born with colorectal conditions – this project aims to understand the well-being of children who have undergone surgical repair for an anorectal malformation or Hirschsprung disease at The Royal Children’s Hospital. It began in 2015 and follows children with surveys administered cross-sectionally and longitudinally.

    • Long-term outcomes of parents of children born with colorectal conditions – this project aims to understand the well-being of families caring for children with anorectal malformation or Hirschsprung disease at The Royal Children’s Hospital. It began in 2018 and follows families with surveys administered cross-sectionally and longitudinally.

    • Adolescent transition of care – this project utilises a qualitative approach to understanding the experience of adolescents transitioning from the paediatric healthcare setting to adult services.

    • Parental experience of anal dilatation and clinician education – this project explores the experiences of parents who have needed to perform anal dilatation as part of their child’s care after surgery for an anorectal malformation. It is seeking to understand the factors affecting parental experiences of this therapeutic procedure, and how access to specialist services, such as those provided by the CPRS, may be beneficial.

    • Colonic and anorectal motility patterns in children – this project aims to characterise the colonic and anorectal motility patterns in children with an anorectal malformation or Hirschsprung disease. Commenced in 2020, this project uses the novel technique of high-resolution manometry to identify motility patterns and their relationship to symptoms of bowel dysfunction.

    • Defining the functional pathology of Hirschsprung disease – this project aims to investigate the different cell types within the large bowel in children with Hirschsprung disease. Using novel cell-imaging techniques, we compare bowel tissue from children with Hirschsprung disease with bowel tissue obtained from children undergoing other types of surgery.

    • Determining the role for stem cell therapies in Hirschsprung disease – this project aims to take a systematic approach to developing stem cell therapies for children affected by Hirschsprung disease. Using an existing animal model, we are investigating the key steps requiring to advance cell therapies that will be appropriate and safe for human use.

    • Informing the psychological care of children and their families this project aims to inform models of care to provide specialised psychological support for families of children with colorectal conditions. The knowledge of what families need from psychological support within the CPRS will inform current care and promote better psychological outcomes in these children and families.


    • Quality of life outcomes for children with anorectal malformations – this project, in collaboration with Nationwide Children’s Hospital (Columbus, Ohio, USA), aims to identify the factors that impact upon the long-term quality of life outcomes for children born with an anorectal malformation.

    • COVID Resilience – this project aims to understand how local restrictions to manage the COVID-19 pandemic have affected the wellbeing of children with a variety of chronic health conditions, and how this changes over time. The project is led by researchers from the Clinical Sciences Theme at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, in collaboration with a number of services and departments at The Royal Children’s Hospital. The CPRS will is inviting families of children with chronic constipation to take part. 

    Information for families

    Why has my child, or I, been contacted about being involved in a research project?

    • Your child has an ARM, HD or chronic constipation

    Benefits of participation

    • Your participation will help us improve our delivery of care and patient outcomes

    • The project may not benefit your child directly, but will help other patients and families in the future

    • You will have the opportunity to contribute to the research evidence

    Participation is completely voluntary

    • Whether you choose to take part in a research study or decide not to, your choice will not impact the care your child receives at the RCH or the CPRS

    • If you do agree to take part in a research project, you can also choose to stop taking part (withdraw) from the project at any time


    • All projects have been approved by the Human Research Ethic Committee at The Royal Children’s Hospital

    Published work

    • Rachel H, Griffith A, Teague WJ, Hutson JM, Gibb S, Goldfeld S, Trajanovska M, King SK. Polyethylene Glycol dosing for constipation in children under 24 months: a systematic review. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition 2020 ;71(2):171-5.

    • Kruger P, Teague WJ, Khanal R, Hutson JM, King SK. Delayed diagnosis of anorectal malformations in neonates. ANZ Journal of Surgery 2019;89(10):1253-5.

    • Kruger P, Teague WJ, Khanal R, Hutson JM, King SK. Screening for associated anomalies in anorectal malformations : the need for a standardised approach. ANZ Journal of Surgery 2019;89(10):1250-2.

    • Nataraja R, Ferguson P, King SK, Lynch A, Pacilli M. Management of Hirschsprung disease in Australia and New Zealand : A Survey of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Paediatric Surgeons (ANZAPS). Pediatric Surgery International 2019;35(4):419-23.

    • Jurkowicz B, Abu-Bonsrah D, Zhang D, Hutson JM, King SK, Newgreen D. Trans-serosal migration of enteric neural stem cells: developing an avian colon model. Journal of Pediatric Surgery 2018;53(12):2435-9.

    • King SK. Constipation – Surgical aspects, investigations and therapies. Current Pediatrics Reports 2017;5:52-7.

    • Sood S, Lim R, Collins L, Trajanovska M, Hutson JM, Teague WJ, King SK. The long-term quality of life outcomes in adolescents with Hirschsprung disease. Journal of Pediatric Surgery 2018;53(12):2430-4.

    • Collins L, Collis B, Trajanovska M, Khanal R, Hutson J, Teague W & King S. (2017). Quality of life outcomes in children with Hirschsprung Disease. Journal of Pediatric Surgery 2017;52(12):2006-10.

    • Stathopoulos L, King SK, Southwell B, Hutson JM. Nuclear transit study in children with chronic faecal soiling after Hirschsprung disease surgery has revealed a group with rapid proximal colonic transit and possible adverse reactions to food. Pediatric Surgery International 2016;32(8):773-7.

    • King SK, Cooksey R, Atkinson J, McLeod E, Levitt MA. Colonic perforation in a neonate with an anorectal malformation. ANZ Journal of Surgery 2016;86(5):418-9. 

    • Rollo B, Zhang D, Stamp L, Menheniott T, Stathopoulos L, Denham M, Dottori M, King SK, Hutson J, Newgreen D. Enteric neural cells from Hirschsprung disease patients form ganglia in autologous aneuronal colon muscle tissue. Cellular and Mollecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2016;2(1):92-109.

      Further information

    • MCRI research profiles

    • RCH Research and Governance Office

    Please contact the research team or a member of the CPRS if you are interested in hearing more about our projects or being involved.