Member Spotlight: Nick Petrunoff

Name: Nick Petrunoff
Areas of Interest: translation research; inter-disciplinary research; understanding how the interaction of populations with urban environments influences their health; active travel (walking, cycling and public transport use); and, non-communicable disease prevention.
Organisation/Employer/University: National University of Singapore, Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health and the University of Sydney, Sydney School of Public Health
Project/Media/Research links you’d like to share (we would like to share your recent work to amplify your efforts!):The Physical Activity and Nutrition Determinants in Asia (PANDA) program is a strategic program of work funded by the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at the National University of Singapore. We have two ASPA members working on this program:

Are you looking to collaborate? Yes
I am open to collaborating with:
☒ Practitioners (e.g. exercise physiologists, town planners etc.)
☒ Policy (e.g. particular state/federal department)
☒ Research (e.g. built environment, active travel)
☒ Mentor(s)/mentee(s)
☐ Other (please specify)

Please provide more detail about the box(es) you checked:
After almost six years living and working in Singapore, my family and I are moving back to Sydney. I will continue my work with the PANDA team at the National University of Singapore whilst pursuing work in Australia and Asia. I am particularly interested in creating regional collaborative research projects between lower to middle income countries and high income countries in the region and willing to work on grant proposals to make this happen!

About You

My favourite way to be active on the weekend:
Mountain biking. Singapore turned the disused rail corridor into a walking and cycling path. My children and I can easily access all the fantastic MTB trails that the National Parks Board has created via this beautiful new infrastructure:

How you became involved in PA:
After a year working in Sports Science and Sports Medicine at the Australian Institute of Sport as the ‘Sports Nutrition Fellow’, I decided I wanted to pursue a career in public health and enrolled in an MPH at the University of Sydney. I really enjoyed Professor Adrian Bauman’s subjects – Public Health Program Evaluation and Physical Activity and Public Health were two I took – and research methods subjects. Somehow, towards the end of the MPH degree, I ended up being offered a secondment to the Prevention Research Collaboration to complete a six month placement there, which gave people like me the opportunity to experience the spectrum of health promotion focussed research the PRC was set up to deliver. Eventually, Professor Chris Rissel, then a Director at the PRC, suggested that some work I was doing on promoting active travel become doctoral studies. That was career and life-changing. I completed my PhD in 2016 and took up a post-doctoral position in Singapore where I have been working on the Physical Activity and Nutrition Determinants in Asia Program (PANDA) for over four years working closely with the program leader on the PA side, Prof. Falk Mueller-Riemenschneider, and the whole PADNA team. For any ASPA members interested in a stint working in Asia, keep an eye on the on the careers page at the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health since positions come up fairly regularly. Here is one that is advertised right now!

 This is what I do…
I am an Assistant Professor on the ‘Practice Track’, which means I do applied research with partners in government and industry, ultimately aiming to prevent non-communicable diseases. I focus on inter-disciplinary research in public health action areas including the built environment and active travel. For example, one of my projects I just completed is called Parks and Health, which was a three-and-a-half year collaboration with the National Parks Board in Singapore. You can read about here: