Talk to someone now. Call us on 1800 33 4673.

Talk Over The Phone Chat Online Talk over email What to do in an emergency

You are here: Support for Australians experiencing eating disordersUnderstanding eating disorders & body image issues › Butterfly Research Institute and Current Studies

Butterfly Research Institute (BRI)

The Butterfly Research Institute (BRI) was established in late 2009, to break down the barriers that inhibit collaborative, multi-disciplinary research into eating disorders, by establishing a research institute ‘without walls’, to take a leading role in determining the future direction and coordination of research in eating disorders and body image in Australia.

Butterfly also supports ongoing research into the areas of body image and eating disorders. Current Australian and International research studies, that require participants, are listed below.

Mood States in Eating Disorders: Uncovering Shared Processes

Research Team: Ms Claire McAulay (PhD Candidate/Principal Investigator), Professor Stephen Touyz (Chief Investigator), Dr Jonathan Mond & Dr Tim Outhred (Associate Investigators)

Institution where research is based: University of Sydney, Sydney NSW

Ethics approval number: 2018/105

Funding Source: Research Training Program for Ms McAulay

Date of project commencement: 12/3/2018

Description of Project: We are investigating mood symptoms and other psychological features in people with an Eating Disorder. Volunteers are wanted to complete an online questionnaire regarding their diagnosis, physical health, and other psychological factors. Participants: Any adult with a diagnosed eating disorder who is not currently pregnant is welcome to participate. PARTICIPANT INFORMATION SHEET

What is involved in participation: The study will take approximately 1 hour and is completely anonymous. You can enter the site through this link:

Location of Project: Online at

Contact Details: For more information or interest in similar studies, please contact Claire McAulay at or 9351 0804, or Stephen Touyz (primary supervisor) at

HREC Number 2018/105. Complaints may be directed to The Manager, Ethics Administration, University of Sydney. T: +61 2 8627 8176; E:; F: +61 2 8627 8177.

Body Image and Disordered Eating Behaviours in +18 men from the LGBTQIA+ community

Research Team: Dr Siân McLean, Matthew Hodges

Institution where research is based: Victoria University

Ethics approval number: 2018/105

Date of project commencement: HRE18-055

Description of Project: Rresearch at Victoria University into body dissatisfaction and eating disorders among men from the LGBTQIA+ community.

Participants: 18 yrs & over from the LGBTQIA+ community

What is involved in participation: Anonymous online survey 10 minutes, and follow up survey 3 mins.

Location of Project: Online at

Contact Details: For more information or interest in similar studies, please contact Matthew Hodges at

National Collaborative Project Grants

13 applications were received from national collaborations (several with international collaborators).

Applications were reviewed by an expert team of researchers, and three of these projects were selected and funded.  The funded projects listed below are ongoing.

Identification & Early Intervention
Research Team:  Prof. Helen Truby, A/Prof Terry Haines, Laura Tirlea
University / Institution: Monash University
Project: Evaluating the efficacy of the school based program “Girls on the Go!” to improve self esteem, body satisfaction and physical activity in a multicultural environment: a randomised control trial

Treatment Standards & Strategies 
Research Team: Prof. Jan Russell, Prof. Janet Treasure, Dr. Adam Guastella, Prof. Ulrike Schmidt, Dr. Kate Tchanturia, Dr. Sarah Maguire, Mr. Dean Carson
University / Institution: University of Sydney (USYD)
Project: The effect of oxytocin on cognitive rigidity and social anxiety in eating disorders: A randomized placebo controlled trial of the effects of oxytocin in the treatment of anorexia nervosa

Promotion & Prevention
Research Team: Dr Simon Wilksch, Prof. Tracey Wade, Prof. Susan Paxton, Dr. Bryn Austin, A/Prof. Susan Byrne
University / Institution: Flinders University
Project: Prevention across the spectrum: Can we simultaneously reduce the risk of both eating disorders and obesity?

Support Butterfly
with a donation.

Worried about a friend or someone you care about?

It can be extremely difficult raising the subject of eating disorders with a friend or loved one. To be supportive one needs to learn what to say and what not to say.  


We can help you with knowing when to talk to your friend and what to say. ›

Concerned parents & carers

Communicating your concern with your child about eating and dieting behaviour can be extremely difficult. Butterfly offers a range of services that can provide you with skills and information related to communicating with your child.  


We can help you with recognising issues and what to do. ›

Teachers & Professionals Working with Young People

Teachers and those working with young people are often the first to become aware of dis-ordered eating behaviours.  Butterfly Education provides early intervention and prevention skills for professionals working with young people. 

We have a range of advice & resources ›