Professor Amanda Jane Leach

Principal research fellow; Leader of the Ear Health Research Program, Child Health Division

Qualifications:

Master of Agricultural Science; PhD (Medicine).

Approved level of HDR supervision at Charles Darwin University:

Principal Supervisor for PhD

Location:

Darwin - Royal Darwin Hospital campus

Biography:

Professor Amanda Leach is leader of the Ear Health Research Program, Child Health Division. In 2011 she won a Senior Research Fellowship which was awarded the Elizabeth Blackburn Fellowship for top ranking female applicant in the clinical category.
 
Professor Leach has 78 career publications; her 1994 PhD publication (cited by 324) described for the first time that Indigenous infants acquire nasopharyngeal bacterial pathogens within weeks of life and that acquisition predicted onset of otitis media (OM).

Prof Leach leads a NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Ear and Hearing Health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, CRE_ICHEAR. She is also NHMRC lead investigator for two vaccine trials (PREVIX), a study of school readiness (VOICES), and is co-investigator of a CSOM treatment trial (IHEARBETA) and two trials for treatment of OM in urban Aboriginal children (WATCH and INFLATE).

Prof Leach is leading the update the 2010 OM Guidelines including an OM app using the international GRADE approach. 

Prof Leach is Joint Chair with A/Professor Kelvin Kong, for the Hearing for Learning Initiative – a funding partnership between The Balnaves Foundation, the Northern Territory Government, and the Australian Government. The goal is to support communities through training and employment, to establish local, sustainable, clinical and education expertise and eliminate the social and educational disadvantage caused by ear disease and hearing loss.

Research Themes
  1. Hare, K.M., Marsh, R.L., Binks, M.J., Grimwood, K., Pizzutto, S.J., Leach, A.J., Chang, A.B. & Smith-Vaughan, H.C. (2013). Quantitative PCR confirms culture as the gold standard for detection of lower airway infection by nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae in Australian Indigenous children with bronchiectasis. Journal of Microbiological Methods, 92(3), 270-272. 
  2. Marsh, R.L., Binks, M.J., Beissbarth, J., Christensen, P., Morris, P.S., Leach, A.J. & Smith-Vaughan, H.C. (2012). Quantitative PCR of ear discharge from Indigenous Australian children with acute otitis media with perforation supports a role for Alloiococcus otitidis as a secondary pathogen. BMC Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders, 12, 11. 
  3. Binks, M.J., Temple, B., Kirkham, L.A., Wiertsema, S.P., Dunne, E.M., Richmond, P.C., Marsh, R.L., Leach, A.J. & Smith-Vaughan, H.C. (2012). Molecular surveillance of true nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae: an evaluation of PCR screening assays. PLoS One, 7(3), e34083. 
  4. McAllister, L.J., Ogunniyi, A.D., Stroeher, U.H., Leach, A.J. & Paton, J.C. (2011). Contribution of serotype and genetic background to virulence of serotype 3 and serogroup 11 pneumococcal isolates. Infection and Immunity, 79(12), 4839-4849. 
  5. Hare, K.M., Smith-Vaughan, H.C. & Leach, A.J. (2011). Viability of respiratory pathogens cultured from nasopharyngeal swabs stored for up to 12 years at -70°C in skim milk tryptone glucose glycerol broth. Journal of Microbiological Methods, 86(3), 364-367. 
  6. Binks, M.J., Cheng, A.C., Smith-Vaughan, H., Sloots, T., Nissen, M., Whiley, D., McDonnell, J. & Leach, A.J. (2011). Viral-bacterial co-infection in Australian Indigenous children with acute otitis media. BMC Infectious Diseases, 11, 161. 
  7. Jacoby, P., Carville, K.S., Hall, G., Riley, T.V., Bowman, J., Leach, A.J., Lehmann, D. & the Kalgoorlie Otitis Media Research Project Team. (2011). Crowding and other strong predictors of upper respiratory tract carriage of otitis media-related bacteria in Australian Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children. Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, 30(6), 480-485.
  8. Harvey, R.M., Stroeher, U.H., Ogunniyi, A.D., Smith-Vaughan, H.C., Leach, A.J. & Paton, J.C. (2011). A variable region within the genome of Streptococcus pneumoniae contributes to strain-strain variation in virulence. PLoS One, 6(5), e19650. 
  9. Jacups, S.P., Morris, P.S. & Leach, A.J. (2011). Haemophilus influenzae type b carriage in Indigenous children and children attending childcare centers in the Northern Territory, Australia, spanning pre- and post-vaccine eras. Vaccine, 29(16), 3083-3088. 
  10. Slade, G.D., Bailie, R.S., Roberts-Thomson, K., Leach, A.J., Raye, I., Endean, C., Simmons, B. & Morris, P. (2011). Effect of health promotion and fluoride varnish on dental caries among Australian Aboriginal children: results from a community-randomized controlled trial. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, 39(1), 29-43.  

Click here to view more Amanda Leach publications in PubMed.

  1. New program to tackle ear infection crisis

    New program to tackle ear infection crisis

    Date

    The five-year Hearing for Learning program is based on research by scientists at the Menzies School of Health Research and will employ and train community residents to help spot and treat ear disease and hearing problems.

  2. The Australian | Silence is golden but not when it’s permanent

    The Australian | Silence is golden but not when it’s permanent

    Date

    Meanwhile, in the Northern Territory, dozens of project officers in 20 communities will complement the work of visiting ear specialists under a $7.9m partnership between the commonwealth, the Northern Territory government and the Balnaves Foundation, supported by the Menzies School of Health Research.

  3. Lend me your ear: New program targets hearing problems in NT children

    Lend me your ear: New program targets hearing problems in NT children

    Date

    RACGP report on the Hearing for Learning Initiative.

  4. Hearing loss a serious issue

    Hearing loss a serious issue

    Date

    Announced in August, Hearing for Learning is a five year program of the NT Government, founded on research by scientists at the Darwin-based Menzies School of Health Research.

  5. Daily Mail | How 90 PER CENT of Aboriginal children are born with ear disease and most will end up half-deaf with brain development problems

    Daily Mail | How 90 PER CENT of Aboriginal children are born with ear disease and most will end up half-deaf with brain development problems

    Date

    A shocking 90 per cent of Aboriginal children in remote Northern Territory communities under three years old are born with an ear disease that can lead to significant development problems.

  6. ABC | 'Glue ear' project to fight hearing loss and improve outcomes for Aboriginal children

    ABC | 'Glue ear' project to fight hearing loss and improve outcomes for Aboriginal children

    Date

    Up to nine in every 10 Aboriginal children in some remote Northern Territory communities have a hearing impairment, but a new project aims to tackle that by training locals and reducing fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) specialists.

  7. Ear Health Funding

    Ear Health Funding

    Date

    Coverage of the Hearing for Learning Initiative Launch with the Northern Territory Government and the Balnaves Foundation on ABC TV News.

  8. Investing in Territory Kids and Generational Change – Hearing for Learning

    Investing in Territory Kids and Generational Change – Hearing for Learning

    Date

    A public private partnership between the Northern Territory Government, Australian Government and the Balnaves Foundation is addressing chronic hearing problems in Territory children.

  9. NT News 14 August 2018 OMOZ 2018 coverage and editorial

    NT News 14 August 2018 OMOZ 2018 coverage and editorial

    Date

    5th Australian Otitis media Conference underway in Darwin.

  10. Indigenous ear health the "missing piece of the disadvantage puzzle"

    Indigenous ear health the "missing piece of the disadvantage puzzle"

    Date

    RN Life Matters - In many Indigenous communities, middle ear infections are rife, leading to hearing problems and a life of disadvantage.

  11. Australian Doctor - otitis media clinical trial

    Australian Doctor - otitis media clinical trial

    Date

    Otitis Media - a clinical trial where Indigenous infants will receive an extra dose of pneumococcal vaccine to try and cut down the rates of incidence.

  12. New Vaccine could help reduce Chronic ear disease.

    New Vaccine could help reduce Chronic ear disease.

    Date

    Menzies School of Health researchers are hoping to reduce rates of a chronic ear disease called Otis Media, in remote indigenous communities. (Image source: creative commons)

  13. Extra vaccines may reduce 'unacceptable rates' of chronic ear disease in Indigenous children

    Extra vaccines may reduce 'unacceptable rates' of chronic ear disease in Indigenous children

    Date

    The Menzies School of Health Research is conducting a clinical trial in remote communities in the Northern Territory and Western Australia, and hope the results will change the public health approach and give more help to families.

  14. New treatment trialled in battle against ear disease

    New treatment trialled in battle against ear disease

    Date

    In a world first, Northern Territory researchers are trialling a new treatment to heal an ear disease plaguing Indigenous communities and causing lifelong disadvantage.

  15. Menzies secures 2016 NHMRC funding for groundbreaking projects

    Menzies secures 2016 NHMRC funding for groundbreaking projects

    Date

    Innovation and transformation are at the heart of the Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies) projects which have secured funding in the highly competitive NHMRC grant round.

  16. Bulging ear drums and hearing loss: Aboriginal kids have the highest otitis media rates in the world

    Bulging ear drums and hearing loss: Aboriginal kids have the highest otitis media rates in the world

    Date

    This article is the final in our three-part series on blinding, deafening and sometimes deadly conditions in Indigenous Australian children that have little to no impact on their non-Indigenous counterparts.

  17. Support call over children's ear health

    Support call over children's ear health

    Date

    LEADING ear health experts at Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies) are calling for more investment in the prevention and treatment of ear disease and hearing loss among Indigenous children.

  18. What is the relationship between lifelong hearing loss and Indigenous incarceration? A powerful story to mark Hearing Awareness Week

    What is the relationship between lifelong hearing loss and Indigenous incarceration? A powerful story to mark Hearing Awareness Week

    Date

    What profound impact could be had on high rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander incarceration by ensuring better hearing for children and adults? It’s an important question raised in this moving post below, to mark Hearing Awareness Week, from Sam Harkus, Principal Audiologist, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Services.

  19. Call to prevent hearing loss and improve school readiness in young children

    Call to prevent hearing loss and improve school readiness in young children

    Date

    In recognition of Hearing Awareness Week (August 21-27), leading ear health experts at Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies) are calling for more investment in the prevention and treatment of ear disease and hearing loss in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

  20. Menzies ear and hearing health program wins $2.5 million in ‘research excellence’ funding

    Menzies ear and hearing health program wins $2.5 million in ‘research excellence’ funding

    Date

    A leading ear and hearing health collaborative research program led by Menzies was today declared a ‘Centre of Research Excellence (CRE)’ and awarded funding of $2.5 million over five years.

  21. ABC Darwin: Menzies launches giant ear

    ABC Darwin: Menzies launches giant ear

    Date

    Aboriginal health worker Joe Daby has seen the worst when it comes to ear health in Territory communities.

  22. Health to shine at Close The Gap Day Charity Breakfast

    Health to shine at Close The Gap Day Charity Breakfast

    Date

    An opportunity to hear from leading Indigenous health experts about inventive new ways they are closing the gap is set to draw some of the Territory’s most influential and iconic identities for a formal charity breakfast.

  23. Territory researchers win national awards

    Territory researchers win national awards

    Date

    Two researchers from Menzies School of Health Research were recognised for their contribution to the science community at the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Gala Dinner held at Parliament House in Canberra last night.

  24. Ear disease affecting Territory children

    Ear disease affecting Territory children

    Date