Renuka Visvanathan

Professor Renuka Visvanathan


Adelaide Medical School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

PhD, FRACP, FANZSGM, FAAG, MBA (Health Service Management), G.Cert. Ed (Higher Education), MBBS, ATCL
Professor Visvanathan has an international reputation in the research area of nutritional frailty. She is especially interested in the provision of quality health care to prevent the impact of frailty (e.g. falls and fracture) as well as improve the wellbeing, function and quality of life of frail, older people and consumers with dementia. She is also interested in research that is likely to translate into improved clinical practice.

Professor Visvanathan is the Head of Unit of the Aged & Extended Care Services at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (& Basil Hetzel Institute), Central Adelaide Local Health Network since 2005. In that role, she oversight a geriatric medicine clinical service with 8 consultants and up to 5 advance trainees.

She leads the Adelaide Geriatrics Training and Research with Aged Care (G-TRAC) Centre, which includes an innovative partnership project between the University of Adelaide and Resthaven Inc. at Paradise. GTRAC is a collaborating partner of the South Australian Advanced Health Research and Translation Centre (Health Translation SA).

Professor Visvanathan was Project Lead to the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Frailty and Healthy Ageing (2015-2022), a global network focused on frailty research to improve clinical care for older people, lead out of the Basil Hetzel Institute/The Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Professor Visvanathan was also Chief Investigator and executive committee member to the Registry of Senior Australians, based at SAHMRI as part of the Health Translation SA. Professor Visvanathan iwas previously board member of Resthaven Inc. She is a current committee member of the Australasian Association of Gerontology (AAG) Executive- SA Division, member of the Research Committee to the AAG. She is on the Geriatric Medical Education and Training Committee of the Australia and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine. She is also a member of the SA Divison of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.

Professor Visvanathan is Associate Editor to the Journal of Frailty and Ageing and was previously an editorial board member of the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Ageing.

Grants (2011-2022)
Commonwealth Category 1- National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Grants 
2022-2025 MRFF CI Ambagtsheer R, Lawless M, Braunack-Mayer A, Visvanathan R, Beilby J, Stewart S, Cornell V, Leach M, Taylor D et. al. IMPAACT: IMproving the PArticipation of older Australians in policy decision- making on Ageing-related Conditions. $584,430.14
2022-2024 ARC Discovery. CI Soebarto V, Williamson T, Visvanathan R, Pisaniello D. Developing resilient housing for low socio-economic older people. $375,000
2021-2024 NHMRC Ideas. CI Ranasinghe I, Woodman R, Kaambwa B, Aliprandi-Costa B, Kotwal S. AIs Scott I, Visvanathan R, Carmeiro G, Adams R, Gallagher M, Horton D. Safety effectiveness of care and resource use among Australian hospitals (SAFER HOSPITALS). $1,084,271
2019-2022 MRFF. CIs Maddern G, Iancio M, Visvanathan R, Karnon J. AI Tivey D, Dollard J, Ma N, Vreugdenburg T. Mobile x-ray services provided within residential aged care facilities. $1,970,000
2018-2020 ARC Discovery. CIs Soebarto V Pisaniello D, Zuo J, Williamson T, Hansen A, Visvanathan R. Improving thermal environment of housing for older Australians. $413,298
2015-2020 NHMRC Centre For Research Excellence. . CI: Visvanathan R, Karnon J, Kitson A, Beilby J, Cameron I, Bell S, Chehade M, Feist H. AI: Taylor D, Morley J, Rockwood K, Cesari M, Theou O, Yu S, Schultz T. Frailty Trans-Disciplinary Research To Achieve Healthy Ageing. $2,301169.40
2015-2017 NHMRC Project Grant. CI: Visvanathan R, Hill K, Ranasinghe D, Lange K, Wilson A (AIs Cooper I, Alford J, Karnon J, Ingam K, Shibu P, Maher S, Hoskins S). Effectiveness of an Ambient Intelligence Geriatric Management system (AmbIGeM) to prevent falls in older people in hospitals: the AmbIGeM stepped wedge randomised trial. $1,609,305.90
2012-2017 NHMRC Centre For Research Excellence- . Associate Investigator CIs Horowitz M, Wittert G, Clifton P, Blackshaw LA, Rayner C, Chapman I, Feinle-Bisset C, Jones K, Noakes M, Chapman M. AI Beckett E, Deane A, Heilbronn L, Kitson A, Little T, Luscombe-Marsh N, Nguyen N, Page A, Shi Z, Turnbull D, Visvanathan R, Young R - Translating Nutritional Science to Good Health.  $2,499,990 million
Other Research Grants


The Hospital Research Foundation Project Grant. Visvanathan R, Barrie H, Muscedere J. Empowering community dwellers to AVOID Frailty and Age Well. 



The Hospital Research Foundation Project Grant. Jadczk AD, Visvanathan R, Verma M, Headland M.  Translation of Dynamic-Balance-for LifeTM program to up-skill the aged care allied-health workforce to teach older adults how to land safely from a fall.



Basil Hetzel Institute Equipment Grant. Day A, Plush S, Hatzi M, Uylaki W, Tavella R, Visvanathan R, Bryant R. Sarcopenia Assessment Toolkitas: Q-NRG Indirect Calorimeter and Philips Lumify L12-4 Linear Array Transducer.



Flinders Foundation Seed Grant. Kanon J, Fafzali H, Visvanathan R, Inacio M, Khadka J, Ratcliffe J. Cost of frailty.



Theou O, Rockwood K, Kehler S, Blanchard C, Cahill L, Hajizadeh M, Jarett P, Visvanathan R, Romero-ortuno R, Hartley P. The breaking 'bad rest' study: interrupting sedentary time to reverse frailty levels in acute care.



Ahip SS, Visvanathan R, Shariff S, Theou O. The Ministry of Health Malaysia-National Institute of Health Research Grant Funding Schemes. The Malaysin Pictorial Fit-Frail Sclae (M-PFFS): Development and testing of feasibility, validity and reliability in Malaysia.



Visvanathan R, Martins B. Equipment Grant- Hospital Research Foundation.InBody 570 Body Composition Analyser.



Wesselingh S, Visvanathan R, Whitehead C, Russell P, Daniel M, Roder D, Stanley A, Griffith L, Karnon J, Miller C, Phillips P, Denson L, Ward L, Gill T, Ratcliffe J, Walters J, Kerrins E. Premiere’s Research and Industry Fund Research Consortia Program: Measuring and Intervening for Health Ageing In South Australia.  



Jones K-Chief Investigator. Associate Investigator- Horowitz M, Rayner C, Soenen S, Visvanathan R, Hausken T. Royal Adelaide Hospital Research Committee NHMRC Near Miss Grant. Post-Prandial hypotension- gastrointestinal mechanisms and management.


2016 - 2021

Visvanathan R. Hospital Research Foundation Challenge Funding. Frailty to achieve Healthy Aging.



Visvanathan R-Northern Communities Health Foundation- The effects of exercise in combination with a commercially available nutritional supplement in older people at-risk of sarcopenia: A Pilot Study.



Ratcliffe J, Luszcz M, Doyle C, Visvanathan R. Flinders University DVCR (R) Near Miss Grant. Incorporating older peoples’ preferences into the design and delivery of dementia diagnostic services.



Bell S (Chief Investigator), Co-Investigators-Hilmer S, Vitry A, Visvanathan R.  Alzheimer’s Australia- Resthaven Dementia Grant- ‘Analgesic load, pain and daytime sedation in people with dementia in aged care facilities’ 



Jones K, Gentilcore D, Visvanathan R, Chapman IM, Rayner CK, A Deane, Horowitz M. Hanson Institute, Royal Adelaide Hospital Equipment Grant- Assessment of splanchnic blood flow in humans




    Teaching & Training Grants
    2012-2014 Visvanathan R Aged Care Workforce Fund Department of Health And Ageing - Expanding the’ Teaching Research Aged Care Service’. Development of the Adelaide Geriatrics Training and Research with Aged Care (G-TRAC) Centre. $543,000
    2011-2013 Visvanathan R and Beilby J. Health Workforce Australia Clinical Placement Grant- to develop a ‘Teaching Research Aged Care Service’ $1,015,706
    2011-2016 Visvanathan R Specialist Training Program. $600,000 
    2012-2016 Visvanathan R Specialist Training Program. $500,000
    2014-2016 Visvanathan R Specialist Training Program. $300,000 
      • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

        Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
        2022 Principal Supervisor Under-diagnosis of Dementia in Nursing Home Residents- Extent and Associated Factors Master of Philosophy (Medical Science) Master Part Time Dr Reena Tewari
        2022 Co-Supervisor An Investigation into the Genetic Basis of Human Intrinsic Reserve Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Melkamu Bedimo Beyene
        2021 Principal Supervisor Studies of Depression and Frailty Risk in Nursing Homes Doctor of Philosophy under a Jointly-awarded Degree Agreement with Doctorate Part Time Dr Tomomichi Sakai
        2017 Principal Supervisor The Utility of Frailty and Activities of Daily Living (ADL) Assessments in the Management of Emergency Department (ED) Patients from Nursing Homes (NH) Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Dr James Farrell Smyth
      • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

        Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
        2018 - 2020 Principal Supervisor Frailty in older adults: Findings from longitudinal studies Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Dr Mark Quinlivan Thompson
        2018 - 2023 Principal Supervisor Sedentary behaviour and physical activity in hospitalised older people Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Unyime Jasper
        2016 - 2020 Principal Supervisor Built Environment and Frailty: Understanding the influence of neighbourhood
        on older people’s health
        Doctor of Philosophy under a Jointly-awarded Degree Agreement with Doctorate Full Time Dr Beatriz Arakawa Martins
        2015 - 2017 Co-Supervisor Ambulatory Monitoring using Passive RFID Technology Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Asanga Wickramasinghe
        2014 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Exercise and Older People: Strategies to Prevent, Treat and Delay Frailty Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Agathe Daria Jadczak
        2013 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Clinicians' Perspectives and Clinical Efficacy of a Health Information Technology Tool in Hospital Falls Risk Assessment and Prevention among Older Persons Master of Philosophy (Medical Science) Master Part Time Dr Ruth Teh
        2012 - 2019 Co-Supervisor An Exploratory Investigation of the Oral Health of Hospitalised Older People Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Clare McNally
        2011 - 2015 Principal Supervisor Postprandial Hypotension in Older People Master of Philosophy (Medical Science) Master Part Time Dr Shailaja Nair Nair
        2010 - 2013 Co-Supervisor Frailty Indices and Nutritional Screening Tools as Predictors of Adverse Outcomes in Hospitalised Older People Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Elsa Dent
        2007 - 2014 Co-Supervisor Sarcopenia in Older People Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time APrf Solomon Yu
      • Position: Professor
      • Phone: 82226000
      • Email:
      • Fax: 82228593
      • Campus: The Queen Elizabeth Hospital
      • Building: QEH - Main Bldg, floor 8
      • Org Unit: Medical Specialties

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