Woodthorpe AO

Dr Katherine Woodthorpe is a professional company director on a number of government, corporate and not-for-profit boards. Prior to this she was the Chief Executive of AVCAL, the Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association for seven years. Prior to AVCAL, she held a broad range of management and board positions, in Australia and overseas. Katherine has considerable experience, expertise and a long track record in public affairs including government relations. She has deep knowledge of the private equity and superannuation industries in the financial sector and a strong track record in a broad range of technology orientated industries including mining and healthcare. Katherine has a strong background in commercialisation and R&D.



Professor Matthew Cooper completed his PhD in Australia in 1995 and then spent 13 years in the UK, first at the University of Cambridge, then in start-ups and biotechnology companies. This involved innovation, fund raising, intellectual property generation, licensing, product development and commercialisation.

He returned to Australia in 2009 as a NHMRC Australia Fellow and is now a NHMRC Principal Research Fellow. He has consulted with Private Equity Investment, Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology and Diagnostics companies, was Managing Director of Cambridge Medical Innovations (part of Alere Inc.) and CSO of Akubio Ltd. He is an inventor and driver of a several antibiotic drug discovery programmes with lead compounds pre-clinical. Professor Cooper’s research focuses on the rational design and development of novel antibiotics and anti-virals active against drug-resistant pathogens.



A UQ alumnus, Dr Dean Moss has over 30 years’ experience in science, academia, business, management and commercialisation in Australia, USA and the UK.  

He has been managing director or senior business development executive of several health and biotech companies worldwide, including Agen Biomedical, Launch Diagnostics, AMRAD ICT, AMRAD Biotech, and United Drug.  He established his own start-up business in the UK, York Medical Technologies.  Prior to moving into the commercial world, Dean was principal R&D scientist at Agen Biomedical. He also worked as an NHMRC research scientist at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, the Royal Brisbane Hospital and the Queensland Institute of Medical Research. He is a recipient of the Campion-Ma-Playoust Memorial Award for Medical Research. 

Dean is a board member of several Australian companies and was a member of the investment committee of the pre-seed venture funds Uniseed, the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund and the New Zealand Government’s KiwiNet. He has contributed to raising over $100m in venture capital investment.



Dr Anna Lavelle is an experienced non-executive director serving for over 25 years on the boards for not for profit, government and for profit entities.  As executive director or non-executive director she has been continuously developing strong governance skills and in particular has a lengthy track record in healthcare delivery, technology development and industry policy.

Anna has a demonstrated track record successfully negotiating improvements for the organisations and stakeholders relying upon good governance and executive decision making.  In particular Anna has a deep understand of government relations, media, and technology and drug development strategies in Australia.  Anna has negotiated legislative changes at the federal and state levels and attracted foreign and local investment into innovative companies.  Anna has an intimate understanding of the biotechnology, medical technology and pharmaceutical ecosystems and the related stakeholder groups.  She also has a good understanding of issues associated with commercialising digital health products.


O’Hehir AO

Professor Robyn O’Hehir AO is internationally acclaimed as a key researcher in allergy and respiratory immunology.  Over 25 years, she pioneered and established methodology for cloning human allergen-specific T cells to define their biology.  She has an active patent portfolio in translational research with 12 patent families that have progressed through development.  This research has translated into practical immunotherapy for house dust mite and grass pollen aeroallergens, and currently a therapeutic for peanut allergy is progressing in early phase clinical trials.  

As a respiratory physician, she has pioneered use of the natural anti-inflammatory follistatin in cystic fibrosis.  She was the first adult physician to hold a full Professorship in allergy in Australia, is a Life Governor of Asthma Victoria, and has more than 250 publications with over 15,000 career citations. In 2015 she was honoured by election as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and a Fellow of the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand. In 2016 Australia Day Honours List, she was honoured as an Officer in the Order of Australia in recognition of her exceptional contributions to the field of respiratory health.  



Professor John Prins is the Head of Melbourne Medical School.

He was previously the Chief Executive Officer and Director of Mater Research, a Senior Staff Endocrinologist at the Princess Alexandra Hospital and Professor of Endocrinology at the University of Queensland.

John is an active clinician-scientist, a key opinion leader in diabetes and endocrinology in Australia and sits on numerous national and international scientific, clinical and educational committees and boards for NHMRC, non-government organisations and industry. John is the author of over 150 scientific publications.

John has substantial commercialisation experience, holds three international patents and was the founder and scientific Director of a biotech company—Adipogen Pty Ltd.

John undertook his clinical training in Endocrinology and his PhD in adipose tissue biology in Australia and then undertook a four year post-doctoral appointment at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. When returning to Brisbane in 1998, John established an active research program undertaking basic research and clinical trials in obesity and diabetes.



Professor Ashley Bush is the Director of the Melbourne Dementia Research Centre and Head of the Oxidation Biology Unit. He has made outstanding contributions to the neuroscience field, most notably his discovery of the importance of metal biology in neurodegenerative brain diseases.  The impact of his work has moved the field of neurodegeneration towards an appreciation for an underlying disturbance in brain metal homeostasis, and has provided insights into the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) as well as other brain diseases including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases.  

He is Founding Scientist of Prana Biotechnology Ltd, Cogstate Ltd, and Chief Scientific Officer for Collaborative Medicinal Development P/L.  Prof Bush is one of the most highly cited neuroscientists in Australia, was rated in the top 1% of neuroscience researchers worldwide for high impact citations, and classed as one of the World's Most Influential Scientific Minds (Thomson Reuters). 



Ms Julie Phillips has been a passionate and vocal advocate for the biotechnology sector and the opportunity it poses for Australia. Julie has been a director of AusBiotech since October 2013, and she is currently a director of the Federal Government’s medtech and pharma industry growth centre, MTPConnect and a member of the Government’s R&D Incentives Committee.

Following a stint as a clinical pharmacist in major Sydney teaching hospitals, Julie moved to ‘big pharma’ and spent more than 15 years working in regulatory affairs, clinical trials and pharmacoeconomics, where she was involved in the industry’s input into Australia’s ‘world first’ cost-effectiveness guidelines to support pricing applications to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Following her MBA she moved focus to Australian start-ups, gaining experience over the past decade as a director and CEO of many Australian life sciences companies, including ASX-listed companies.


Consumer Representative, Ms
Davies AO

Rebecca Davies has been involved in health related organisations for over 22 years, since her now 24 year old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. She is a long standing board member at JDRF Australia, chairs its research committee and sits on the International Board. She is President of the Heart Foundation (NSW) and on its national board, and sits on the boards of other organisations in the health sector, including public and private hospitals, aged care and community care.

Her professional training is as a lawyer and she was a partner of a major law firm for many years. She has also been board member and chair at various financial services institutions.  Rebecca is a previous member of the NHMRC Australian Health Ethics Committee, Research Committee and the Community and Consumer Advisory Group, and is a previous member of Research Committee. Rebecca has also been an observer for NHMRC grant reviews.



Ms Laura Thompson is a proud Gunditjmara woman and is an experienced and respected leader in Aboriginal Health and in Health Promotion. With 18 years' experience, a Masters of Public Health and a Business and Education background, Laura has led numerous successful health promotion initiatives in the Aboriginal Community. Many of which, have been recognised as being the gold standard. 

The "Coach" Program received the 2016 Minister's Award for Early Years Education and another three projects led by Laura, have been finalists at the VicHealth Health Promotion Awards! Including, #HerTribe Aboriginal women's health and empowerment program that received the highly commended award at the 2017 VicHealth Awards for 'improving mental health and wellbeing'. 

Laura is a strong advocate for public health initiatives and healthy environments. She is also the Spark Health team Aboriginal artist designing all the artwork for the Spark Health merchandise.


Associate Professor

Current president of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM).  Dr Ruth Stewart is Associate Professor of Rural Medicine, Director of Rural Clinical Training and Support at James Cook University. She lives and works on Thursday Island as a Senior Medical Officer with obstetric credentialing. Ruth is Vice Chair of the Torres and Cape York Hospital and Health Service.  Before this she was a GP for 22 years in Camperdown in South West Victoria

Ruth was on the ACRRM Board from 2002 to 2012 as director for Women in Rural Practice, Victorian Director and as Vice President. She is currently Chair of the ACRRM Education Council. She has represented ACRRM on many committees including the Consultative Committee on the Diploma of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and the Nurse Practitioner Advisory Group to the Department of Health and Ageing and as an executive member of the Expert Advisory Committee for the National Evidence Based Antenatal Care Guidelines.

In December 2013 Ruth was granted a PhD from Flinders University for her thesis on a rural maternity managed clinical network. Her research interests include rural maternity services, rural health and rural medical education.



Jennifer has over twenty years commercial, business development and scientific affairs experience in the biopharmaceutical industry and has held a variety of roles with responsibility for Australia, New Zealand and European markets. She was the first Managing Director of Sanofi Pasteur in Australia which was a start-up company and grew significantly over the 6 years of her tenure to be an established major provider of vaccines to the public and private market in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Region.

She has previously served on the Board of Medicines Australia where she led industry discussions with government related to the new funding arrangements for vaccines on the PBAC. She was also active in a variety of European and International Industry Association working groups responsible for liaison with health authorities including European Institutions and the WHO.

She is a member of the Accelerate Commercialisation Expert Network, on the Steering Committee of the NHMRC funded Centre of Research Excellence: Policy relevant infectious disease simulation and mathematical modelling (PRISM) and is a member of the Expert Reference Group of the Australian Partnership for Preparedness Research on Infectious Disease Emergencies (APPRISE).

Jennifer has extensive international & local network of industry, policy, scientific and clinical experts across many therapeutic areas and healthcare sectors along with global experience in multiple new product launches and start-ups at all stages of development.