AUS researchers seeking 3,500+ volunteers for

world’s largest eating disorders genetics investigation

Study to pinpoint genes influencing risk of developing eating disorders

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Today, September 22, local researchers are calling for more than 3,500 Australian volunteers with first-hand experience of an eating disorder, to enrol in the world’s largest ever genetic investigation into three complex, devastating illnesses.  


Their call today coincides with an article just published in MJA Insight, outlining the substantial advances made in a recent study revealing the psychiatric and metabolic origins to anorexia nervosa and eight genetic variants associated with the illness.1

The groundbreaking Eating Disorders Genetics Initiative (EDGI) aims to identify hundreds of genes that influence a person’s risk of developing anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder, to improve treatment, and ultimately, save lives. 

Eating disorders are not a choice – they are complex mental illnesses that for some, can lead to severe and permanent physical complications, and even death.2 Concerningly, eating disorders have one of the highest mortality rates of any mental illness.3-5 While family and twin studies have confirmed eating disorders run in families, only a handful of the responsible genes have been identified to date, leaving hundreds more to be found.

To hear how cracking the genetic code of eating disorders will improve treatments, and save lives, tee up an interview today with:


Prof Nick Martin

Millie Thomas

Dr Sarah Maguire

Olivia Soha

Dr Sarah Wells

Prof Tracey Wade

Rachel Favilla

Dr Bronwyn Raykos

A/Prof Sue Byrne

Distinguished Prof Cynthia Bulik

Australian Lead EDGI Investigator, Geneticist & Head, Genetic Epidemiology Research Group, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, BRISBANE

Eating Disorders Recovery Coach, SUNSHINE COAST

Clinical Psychologist & Director, InsideOut Institute, SYDNEY

Founder of eating disorders coaching service & Eating Disorder Recovery Coach, MELBOURNE

Clinical Psychologist, Child & Adolescent Mental Health Team, Clare House, HOBART

Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor, College of Education, Psychology & Social, ADELAIDE

Nutritionist, yoga teacher & author who developed anorexia nervosa while undergoing treatment for liver cirrhosis, ADELAIDE 

Senior Clinical Psychologist, PERTH 

Clinical Psychologist, School of Psychology, University of Western Australia, PERTH 

EDGI Principal Investigator, Psychiatrist & Distinguished Professor of Eating Disorders, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina, USA (available upon request)



Founders of mental health charity, endED, whose daughters have both lived with an eating disorder, SUNSHINE COAST

InsideOut Institute Advisory Board Member & mother to a daughter who has been living with anorexia nervosa for 20 years, SYDNEY

Author, writing mentor & Academy for Eating Disorders Board member, GEELONG

Mark & Gayle Forbes


Bronny Carroll

Dr June Alexander

Lexi, 31

Sophie, 21

Stephanie, 30

Bec, 41

Emily, 28

Emelia, 34

Brittany, 30

Ash, 28

Tara, 20

Chantel, 35

Amy, 33

Juliana, 26

Georgia, 22

Marie, 25

Katie, 27

Eloise, 24

Clinical nutritionist who endured more than 25 hospitalisations with anorexia nervosa over 18 years, BRISBANE

University student diagnosed with anorexia nervosa at 18 years of age, BRISBANE

Office manager & opera singer who battled anorexia nervosa for more than 15 years, SYDNEY

Business owner & author who battled anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder intermittently from the time she was 12, SYDNEY

HR lead & gym enthusiast in recovery from anorexia nervosa, SYDNEY

Dancer who has wrestled with anorexia nervosa for the past decade, SYDNEY 

Senior transport operations controller who grappled with anorexia nervosa for eight years, SYDNEY

Advertising art director who battled anorexia nervosa for four years, SYDNEY

Medical science student who was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa at 13, CANBERRA

Mum-of-four continuing to mount a recovery from anorexia nervosa, MELBOURNE

Mum & early childhood teacher who waged a decade-long battle with anorexia nervosa, MELBOURNE

University student living with anorexia nervosa who obsessed over her body image & weight for most of her teens, ADELAIDE

Community mental health worker who harnessed her personal experience of anorexia nervosa for good, ADELAIDE

Receptionist whose new-found love of Pilates helps her manage her eating disorders, PERTH

Dietetic student & former model who was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa at 22, PERTH

Influencer, avid traveller & eating disorders coach who has waged an almost-life-long battle with binge eating disorder, PERTH



Broadcast vision available for download –

Kirsten Bruce, Mel Kheradi & Holly Hamilton Green

VIVA! Communications

T 0401 717 566 | 0421 551 257 | 0434 799 839 | 02 9968 3741/1604


1.    Bulik, C., Martin, N. Finding pieces of the puzzle: Australia and New Zealand anchoring the Eating Disorders Genetics Initiative (EDGI) 2020.
2.    National Eating Disorders Collaboration. What is an eating disorder? [cited October 2019]; Available from:
3.    Ministry of Health. Future Directions for Eating Disorders Services in New Zealand. 2008 [cited Dec, 2019]; Available from:
4.    Smink, F.R.E., D. van Hoeken, and H.W. Hoek, Epidemiology of eating disorders: incidence, prevalence and mortality rates. Current psychiatry reports, 2012. 14(4): p. 406-414.
5.    Fichter, M. and N. Quadflieg, Mortality in eating disorders - Results of a large prospective clinical longitudinal study. The International journal of eating disorders, 2016. 49.