Professor Ester Cerin

Program Leader
Behaviour, Environment and Cognition Research Program

John Hawley

Areas of expertise: environmental and psychosocial determinants of lifestyle behaviours and health; physical activity; cognitive and cardiometabolic health; sustainable environments; applied statistics

HDR Supervisor accreditation status: Full

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-7599-165X

Phone: (03) 9230 8260


Location:  ACU Melbourne Campus

Professor Ester Cerin is a Psychologist and Statistician. Her research interests focus on environmental and psychosocial determinants of lifestyle behaviours and health across the lifespan. She has held substantive academic positions in Australia (University of Queensland and Deakin University), USA (Baylor College of Medicine) and Hong Kong (The University of Hong Kong). She is an Honorary Professorial Fellow of Baker Heart & Diabetes Institute and the School of Public Health of the University of Hong Kong where she was ranked among the top 1% scholars. She is also a Professor in Statistics at Department of Community Medicine of UiT The Arctic University of Norway. Professor Cerin is currently one of the main investigators of two multi-country studies on environmental correlates of physical activity and obesity in adults and adolescents (IPEN Adult and Adolescent studies) funded by the National Institutes of Health (USA), a Chief Investigator on an NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Cognitive Health and the Principal Investigator of the international Mind, Activities and urban Places (iMAP) and Environment and Pollution On Cognitive Health (EPOCH) studies. She is also co-founder of the International Cognitive Health and the Environment Network (ICHEN), dedicated to facilitating research and advocacy actions for the creation of community environments that support cognitive health. She is a Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (IF: 6.714) and Associate Editor of Health & Place (IF: 3.290).

Professor Cerin has authored over 250 scientific articles in high-impact international peer-reviewed journals (e.g., Annual Review of Public Health, BMJ, Journal of Clinical Oncology, International Journal of Obesity, The Lancet and Nature). Since 2010, she has been awarded 32 research grants / fellowships, twelve as Lead Investigator, totalling over $24 million. Bodies that have funded her research include the Australian Research Council (ARC), National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), National Institutes of Health (USA), World Cancer Research Fund, UK Research and Innovation, and the Health and Medical Research Fund of the Food and Health Bureau (Hong Kong).Professor Cerin leads the Institute’s Behaviour, Environment and Cognition Research Program with intersecting interests in neighbourhood built environment,

Select publications

  • Cain K, Salmon J, Conway TL, Cerin E, Hinckson E, Mitas J, Schipperijn J, Frank LD, Anjana RM, Barnett A, Dygrýn J, Islam MZ, Molina-Garcia J, Moran M, Muda WAMW, Oyeyemi AL, Reis R, Santos MP, Schmidt T, Schofield G, Timperio A, van Dyck D, Sallis JF. (2021). The International Physical Activity and Built Environment Study of adolescents: IPEN Adolescent design, protocol and measures. BMJ Open, 11, e046636. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-046636.
  • Carver A, Akram M, Barnett A, Huang WY, Gao GY, Mellecker RR, Cerin E. (2021). Family, school and individual characteristics associated with adolescents’ physical activity at school in Hong Kong: the iHealt(H) study. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 18, 14.
  • GBD 2019 Universal Health Coverage Collaborators (including Cerin E). (2020). Measuring universal health coverage based on an index of effective coverage of health services in 204 countries and territories, 1990-2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. The Lancet, 396(10258), 1250-1284. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30750-9.
  • Cerin E, Van Dyck D, Zhang CJP, Van Cauwenberg J, Lai PC, Barnett A. (2020). Urban environments and objectively-assessed physical activity and sedentary time in older Belgian and Chinese community dwellers: potential pathways of influence and the moderating role of physical function. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 17(1), 73
  • Cerin E, Barnett A, Zhang CJP, Lai PC, Sit CHP, Lee RSY. (2020). How urban densification shapes walking behaviours in older community dwellers: a cross-sectional analysis of potential pathways of influence. International Journal of Health Geographics, 19(1), 14. doi :10.1186/s12942-020-00210-8.
  • Sallis JF, Cerin E, Kerr J, Adams MA, Sugiyama T, Christiansen LB, Schipperijn J, Davey R, Salvo D, Frank LD, De Bourdeaudhuij I, Owen N. (2020). Built environment, physical activity, and obesity: findings from the International Physical Activity and Environment Network (IPEN) Adult Study. Annual Review of Public Health, 41, 119-139. doi: 10.1146/annurev-publhealth-040218-043657.
  • Cerin E, Barnett A, Chaix B, Nieuwenhuijsen M, Caeyenberghs K, Jalaludin B, Sugiyama T, Sallis JF, Lautenschlager NT, Ni MY, Poudel G, Donaire-Gonzalez D, Tham R, Wheeler AJ, Knibbs L, Tian LW, Chan YK, Dunstan DW, Carver A, Anstey KJ. (2020). The international Mind, Activities and urban Places (iMAP) study: Methods of a cohort study on environmental and lifestyle influences on brain and cognitive health. BMJ Open, 10(3), e036607. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-036607.
  • Cerin E, Conway TL, Barnett A, Smith M, Veitch J, Cain KL, Salonna F, Reis RS, Molina-Garcia J, Hinckson E, Wan Abdul Manan WM, Anjana RM, Van Dyck D, Oyeyemi AL, Timperio A, Christiansen LB, Mitas J, Mota J, Moran M, Islam MZ, Mellecker RR, Sallis JF. (2019). Development and validation of the Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale for Youth across six continents. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 16(1), 122. doi: 10.1186/s12966-019-0890-6.
  • Cerin E. (2019). Building the evidence for an ecological model of cognitive health. Health and Place, 60, 102206. Doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2019.102206.
  • Barnett A, Akram M, Sit CHP, Mellecker R, Carver A, Cerin E. (2019). Predictors of healthier and more sustainable school travel mode profiles among Hong Kong adolescents. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 16, 48.
  • Cerin E, Conway TL, Adams MA, Barnett A, Cain KL, Owen N, Christiansen LB, van Dyck D, Mitáš J, Sarmiento OL, Davey RC, Reis R, Salvo D, Schofield G, Sallis JF. (2018). Objectively-assessed neighbourhood destination accessibility and physical activity in adults from 10 countries: An analysis of moderators and perceptions as mediators. Social Science & Medicine, 211, 282-293.
  • Van Cauwenberg J, Nathan A, Barnett A, Barnett DW, Cerin E. Council on Environment and Physical Activity (CEPA)-Older Adults Working Group. (2018). Relationships between neighbourhood physical environmental attributes and older adults' leisure-time physical activity: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Medicine, 48, 1635-1660. doi: 10.1007/s40279-018-0917-1.
  • Barnett A, Zhang CJP, Johnston JM, Cerin E. (2018). Relationships between the neighborhood environment and depression in older adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. International Psychogeriatrics, 30, 1153-1176.
  • Barnett DW, Barnett A, Nathan A, Van Cauwenberg J, Cerin E. (2017). Built environmental correlates of older adults' total physical activity and walking: a systematic review and meta-analysis. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 14(1), 103. (doi: 10.1186/s12966-017-0558-z).
  • Cerin E, Nathan A, Van Cauwenberg J, Barnett DW, Barnett A. (2017). The neighbourhood physical environment and active travel in older adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 14, 15.

Select Projects

  • The impact of the Environment and Pollution on Cognitive Health (EPOCH): Building the knowledge base through international collaboration. UKRI-NHMRC Built Environment and Prevention Research Scheme. 2020-2023. $ 681,354
  • The Environment, Active Living and Cognitive Health: Building the Evidence Base. ACURF Program Grant. 2018-2023
  • Centre of Excellence in Cognitive Health: Evidence, intervention and population modelling. NHMRC. 2015-2020. $276,215
  • International Physical Activity and the Environment (IPEN). National Institutes of Health (USA). $2,823,300
  • Urban spaces and active ageing: understanding person-environment interactions to inform activity-friendly community design. ARC Future Fellowship. 2015-2018. $707,259
  • Acceptability and feasibility of a diet and physical activity intervention to prevent recurrence in colorectal cancer survivors a phase 2 study. World Cancer Fund. 2012-2016. $399,150
  • Measuring and modelling Quality of Urban Life (QOUL) in Hong Kong an Asian Perspective. University Grants Committee of the Hong Kong SAR. 2013-2016. $120,316

Accolades and awards

  • Top 1% of scholars, University of Hong Kong. 2015
  • Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher. 2019

Appointments and affiliations

Editorial roles

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