COBRA (Childhood Overweight BioRepository of Australia) is a comprehensive repository of data and biological samples from children living with overweight and obesity. Established in 2009, as of June 2016, there are approximately 500 children enrolled. There is no ongoing recruitment or follow-up. Obesity in early life is associated with many adverse effects on health, including an increased risk of type 2 diabetes (T2DM), heart and liver disease. Unfortunately, to date, traditional methods of research have failed to identify effective prevention and treatment strategies, and large numbers of children and adolescents continue to be at high risk of developing weight-related disease. By collecting baseline environmental, clinical and anthropometric data, biological samples for genetic, metabolic and hormonal profiles, and incorporating opportunities for longitudinal data collection into the study design, COBRA will enable researchers to better understand the complex interplay between environmental and genetic factors that govern disease risk. In time, it is anticipated that this comprehensive approach to data collection will allow early identification of individuals most susceptible to disease, as well as facilitating refinement of prevention and treatment programs.

Current and recent COBRA sub-studies include research into metabolomics, inflammation and cardiovascular health.


Study name Childhood Overweight BioRepository of Australia
Study abbreviation COBRA
Current principal investigator/s A/Prof Matt Sabin
Prof David Burgner
Richard Saffery
Current project manager Dr Brooke Harcourt
Postal address Level 5 East, C/O The Royal Children’s Hospital, 50 Flemington Road, Parkville, Victoria, 3052
Phone +613 9936 6184
Primary Institution Murdoch Children’s Research Institute
Collaborating Institution/s Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Major funding sources Murdoch Childrens Research Institute; Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation
Key reference Sabin, M.A., Clemens, S.L., Saffery, R., McCallum, Z., Campbell, M.W., Kiess, W., Crimmins, N.A., Woo, J.G., Leong, G.M., Werther, G.A., Ukoumunne, O.C. and Wake, M. A. (2010). New directions in childhood obesity research: how a comprehensive biorepository will allow better prediction of outcomes. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 10: 100
Are data available outside study team? Yes
Study focus To develop a unique biorepository of data and biological samples from overweight and obese children 
Sampling frame Presentation to the specialist weight management service at The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne Australia.
Year commenced 2009
Commencement sample ~500 (as of June 2016) 
Intergenerational? No 
Imaging No 
Linkage No 
Biosamples? Blood, urine 
Ethics approvals or requirements? This project only (Specific consent)
Future research related to this project (Extended consent)
Any future research (Unspecified consent) 


Wave Year Age (mean, range) Eligible sample
1  2009 – Ongoing 11 years (2 – 18 years) 500
2  2009 – Ongoing  11 years + 1 week (2 – 18 years)  500
3  2009 – Ongoing  11 years + 2 week (2 – 18 years)  500