Eating Disorders and Body Image (EDBI)

EDBI comprises researchers at Western with an active interest in eating disorders and body image. We come from varied disciplines and professional backgrounds including medicine, psychology, nursing, exercise science.

At EDBI, we are producing ground-breaking research in broad areas across the fields of eating disorders and body image, including in epidemiology, diagnostic classification, treatment trials, functional neuroimaging, visual perception, and health services use. EDBI is also a vibrant training ground for up and coming researchers interested in this area.

Contact: Staff and students wanting to enquire about EDBI or who wish to join, please contact Deb at or Phillipa at

Academic Lead

Phillipa Hay (opens in a new window)

Professor of Mental Health, THRI, School of Medicine

Primary interests: What works in treatments of eating disorders, distribution and determinants of eating disorders


Fiona Wright (opens in a new window)

Academic, Writing and Society Research Centre, School of Humanities & Communication Arts

Fiona Wright is a writer, editor, critic and researcher, whose work is interested in embodiment, identity, illness and place, and the interconnections between them. Her books include Small Acts of Disappearance: Essays on Hunger and The World Was Whole, both of which centre on her experience living with a long-term eating disorder and chronic illness.

EDBI Members


Janet Conti (opens in a new window)

Senior Lecturer, School of Social Sciences and Psychology

Primary interests: Tailoring eating disorder treatment experiences, testing of under-researched treatment interventions for eating disorders

Rakime Elmir (opens in a new window)

Lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery

Primary interests: Women’s experiences of eating disorders in the perinatal period

Nasim Faroughi (opens in a new window)

Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Medicine

Primary interests: Emotional and neural responses to food images in eating disorders

Catharine Fleming (opens in a new window)

Lecturer in Public Health, School of Sciences and Health, THRI

Primary interests: Paediatric feeding behaviours associated with picky/fussy eating and possible long-term health outcomes from these behaviours that manifest in early adolescence and young adulthood

Alex Hawkey (opens in a new window)

Associate Research Fellow, THRI

Primary interests: Eating practices, embodiment and body image across the menstrual cycle and reproductive life stage

Haider Mannan (opens in a new window)

Lecturer and Biostatistician, School of Medicine

Primary interests: Longitudinal statistical analysis of risk factors of various types of eating disorders, testing of under-researched treatment interventions for eating disorders, statistical approaches for comparison of eating disorders diagnostic schemes, testing of novel biomarkers of eating disorders

Deb Mitchison (opens in a new window)

NHMRC Research Fellow, School of Medicine

Primary interests: Epidemiology of eating disorders and their symptoms, help-seeking, longitudinal analysis of risk factors and outcomes

Milan Piya (opens in a new window)

Senior Lecturer in Diabetes, THRI, School of Medicine

Primary interests: Eating Disorders in the Context of Severe Obesity

Lucie Ramjan (opens in a new window)

A/Prof, School of Nursing and Midwifery

Primary interests: Research into novel interventions to support recovery in eating disorders, such as peer mentor support programs

Evelyn Smith (opens in a new window)

Senior Lecturer, School of Social Sciences and Psychology

Primary interests: Obesity and eating disorders comorbidity, schema therapy for eating disorders, executive function, trauma and obesity/eating disorders, eating disorders in males

Jane Ussher (opens in a new window)

Professor, THRI

Primary interests: Sexual and reproductive embodiment, including premenstrual body dissatisfaction, menopausal embodiment, and embodied experiences of sexuality and gender diverse women

Research Students

Adam Burt

Alumni, School of Medicine

Primary interests: eating disorders and related problems in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Lucy Dahill

PhD Candidate, Thesis: “To investigate the correlation between teasing used by primary carers with adolescents around food, body image and self-esteem and recidivism in adulthood weight loss.”

Tiffany Patterson Norrie

PhD Candidate, Thesis: “Developing a dietitian-led oral health program for individuals with an eating disorder – A mixed methods needs assessment”

Katarina Prnjak

PhD Candidate, Thesis: “Psychometric Development of a Novel Multidimensional Body Image Measure”

Samantha Ryan

PhD Candidate, Thesis: "Investigating women’s subjective experiences of embodiment in the premenstrual phase of the cycle in the context of body dissatisfaction"

Yive Yang

PhD Candidate, Thesis: "What is the role and value added of a dietitian in eating disorder treatment"

Western Adjunct Researchers

Shazna Buksh

PhD Candidate, Thesis: “An examination of the role of eating appropriateness standards and dietary self-regulation in the obesity epidemic in Fiji”

Mandy Goldstein

Adjunct Fellow, School of Medicine

Primary interests:  Enhancing the effectiveness of treatments for people with eating disorders across the age range and ED diagnostic spectrums; core principles in the treatment of eating disorders; eating disorders and trauma.

Gabriella Heruc

Adjunct Fellow, School of Medicine, Western Sydney University; Accredited Practising Dietitian, Sydney Children’s Hospital Network and Appetite for Change

Primary interests: Blood glucose and appetite regulation in eating disorders, the physiological effects of starvation and changes with refeeding; the role of the dietitian in eating disorder management

Jon Mond

Adjunct Associate Professor

Primary interests: Assessment of body dissatisfaction and eating-disordered behaviour; health promotion and “health literacy” for eating-disordered behaviour and obesity; medicalisation of body weight, eating and exercise behaviour; biomedical vs social constructionist approaches to mental health problems

Marly Palavras

Primary interests: binge eating and weight management; diagnosis; subjective binge eating; psychological therapy

Kirrilly Pursey

Conjoint Lecturer, School of Medicine

Primary interests: Addictive eating, the intersection of obesity and eating disorders, prevention of disordered eating in children, the role of the dietitian in eating disorder prevention and treatment.

Jay Raman

Primary interests: bench to practice translational research, with a special interest in the psychological and neuropsychological mechanisms that underlie eating behaviours; development of internet-based interventions for those with eating disorders.

Anoop Sankaranarayanan

Conjoint Associate Professor, School of Medicine, THRI

Primary interests: Disordered eating and its association with obesity and metabolic syndrome in schizophrenia

Monica Sekowski

Adjunct Fellow, School of Social Sciences & Psychology, WSU; Eating Disorders Coordinator, South West Sydney Local Health District

Primary interests: body image disorders in adolescent populations, early intervention in atypical anorexia nervosa, treatment of adolescents with anorexia nervosa in community mental health teams

Beth Shelton

Adjunct Fellow, School of Medicine, Western Sydney University; National Director of the National Eating Disorder Collaboration (NEDC); Clinical Psychologist

Primary Interests: As the Director of NEDC, Dr Shelton oversees the synthesis of evidence, expertise and lived experience to develop national standards and workforce initiatives to support nationally consistent approaches to eating disorders. She is interested in the role of movement and embodied experience in evidence-based interventions for disordered eating and body image problems.


Current Projects

Cognitive Remediation Therapy (CRT) and Behavioural Weight Loss (BWL) for Obesity (Evelyn Smith)

Randomized controlled trial comparing CRT to BWL in individuals with obesity.

EMPOWER (Lucie Ramjan)

A mEntor-Mentee Program fOr young people With Eating disoRders.

EveryBODY Study (Deb Mitchison, Phillipa Hay)

Funded by NHMRC and Ainsworth. Longitudinal investigation of risk factors and burden of eating disorders and associated body image disorders in 5000 Australian adolescents.

fMRI Study (Nasim Foroughi, Phillipa Hay)

Emotions and food study utilising fMRI.

HAPIFED (Phillipa Hay, Haider Mannan, Nasim Foroughi, Milan Piya)

  • Funded by Ainsworth MRIF, $45,000

When the honeymoon is over: Investigating moderators and mediators of outcomes in an open trial of a novel psycho-behavioural treatment for relapse prevention and maintenance of weight loss.

Schema Therapy for Eating Disorders (Evelyn Smith)

A group intervention trial.

Schema Therapy for Obesity (Evelyn Smith)

An individual intervention trial.

Obesity and Eating Disorders Comorbidity in the Penrith Area (Evelyn Smith)

Investigation of eating disorders, obesity and trauma in 5000 adults living in Penrith.

The role of parental knowledge, market influences and use of ready-to-use squeezable complementary food pouches on dietary patterns and feeding behaviours in young children 0- 5 years (Catharine Fleming)

This is part of an overall research program that aims to reduce the early development of diet-related chronic disease through early foundation feeding interventions of knowledge, policy and practice in Australia. Specifically focusing on the investigation into the role of parental knowledge, influences and use of ready-to-use of squeezable complementary food pouches as a feeding option in young children.

TrEAT Study (Deb Mitchison, Phillipa Hay, Gabriella Heruc)

Ongoing clinical registry of clients attending eating disorder treatment clinics in Sydney and Perth. Aims are to facilitate research, evaluate government initiatives (e.g., MBS items), and provide quality assurance for the clinics.

Trauma and Obesity/Eating Disorders (Evelyn Smith)

Investigation of a broad range of traumatic experiences among people with eating disorders.

WEHL (Phillipa Hay, Nasim Foroughi)

A longitudinal investigation of women’s eating and health literacy.

Women’s experiences of eating disorders in the perinatal period (Rakime Elmir, Phillipa Hay)

Completed Projects

Socio-economic status and eating disorders in the Australian population (Brittany Mulders-Jones, Deborah Mitchison, Phillipa Hay, Federico Girosi)

This study investigated the association between indicators of socioeconomic status and eating disorder features.

Links & Resources

News & Events



Congratulations to EDBI, Winner of the Vice-Chancellor's Excellence in Research (Interdisciplinary Group) Award!


June 2021

The International Conference on Eating Disorders is a VIRTUAL event.

Find out more (opens in a new window)


July 2021

Appearance Matters 9 will be a VIRTUAL event.

Find out more (opens in a new window)


August 2021

Australia and New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders is a HYBRID event (online and in-person in Perth).

Find out more (opens in a new window)


December 2021

The Society for Mental Health Research annual conference will be an IN PERSON event in Hobart.

We are encouraging a strong contingency from the eating disorders and body image sector.

Find out more about registration and abstract submission (opens in a new window)