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Personal profile


Dr Debbie Palmer (BSc, BND, PhD) is head of the Childhood Allergy and Immunology Research Team at the Telethon Kids Institute. She is one of a few dietitians worldwide undertaking research in the area of nutritional strategies for allergy prevention. After ten years of clinical paediatric dietetic experience and specialising in the area of food allergy, Debbie commenced her research career. Her current research activities include conducting randomised controlled trials focusing on nutritional interventions for the prevention of allergic disease.

Roles and responsibilities

Head of Childhood Allergy and Immunology Research.
Expertise in nutrition, allergic disease and clinical trials, in particular the design and conducting of intervention studies during pregnancy, lactation and infancy, including 11 randomised controlled trials specifically in the area of nutritional strategies for the prevention of allergic disease.

Future research

Extend our research scope to investigate the influence of nutrition in early life on other health outcomes.

Funding overview

Chief Investigator on 22 grants worth $10.7 million, including 6 NHMRC project or development grants and CIA on 9 other competitive grants. I have successfully managed and completed 3 NHMRC funded clinical trials (399398, 626805 and 1046036), and have 2 current NHMRC funded clinical trials (1099480 and 1147576). 

Previous positions

Senior Dietitian at the Women's and Children's Hospital in South Australia.
Post-doctoral fellow at the Women’s and Children’s Health Research Institute in South Australia.

Current projects

PrEggStudy Study: Maternal diet rich in eggs and peanuts to reduce food allergies: a randomised controlled trial. NHMRC funded clinical trial.

SYMBA Study: Dietary modulation of maternal gut flora with oligosaccharides in pregnancy as a novel allergy prevention strategy.  NHMRC funded clinical trial.



Teaching overview

Current supervision of 3 PhD students, with 3 previous PhD student completions.


My primary research focus is investigating nutritional strategies for allergic disease prevention. Our research group conducts randomised controlled clinical trials, mechanistic studies, and translatable research activities, all with the goal of reducing the rising burden of early-life allergic diseases. Current trials are focusing on the immunomodulatory nutrient of prebiotics, and on maternal and infant food allergen consumption of eggs, peanuts and cashew nuts. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Science, BSc, The University of Adelaide

Nutrition, BND


External positions

Head of Childhood Allergy and Immunology Research, Telethon Kids Institute

1 Jan 2018 → …

Research expertise keywords

  • Randomised controlled trials
  • Nutrition
  • Inflammation
  • Pregnancy
  • Lactation
  • infant nutrition, lactation, human milk, body composition
  • Allergy


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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